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Monday
Oct 20th

Back to basics

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By Julie Desmond

Across the Twin Cities, baseball, lacrosse and soccer coaches are drawing up plays and looking longingly out windows, excitedly anticipating a new season. Although in the working world the seasons are not so clearly defined, one's approach to work can be comparable to the way one might succeed on the field. Remember the parallels between sports and work: it's all about fundamentals. Attention to the basics of presentation, communication, commitment and drive will lead every player to success. SearchAcross the Twin Cities, baseball, lacrosse and soccer coaches are drawing up plays and looking longingly out windows, excitedly anticipating a new season. Although in the working world the seasons are not so clearly defined, one's approach to work can be comparable to the way one might succeed on the field. Remember the parallels between sports and work: it's all about fundamentals. Attention to the basics of presentation, communication, commitment and drive will lead every player to success.

One individual who sees this firsthand is businessman and coach Franklin Tawah.
Tawah's coaching begins on the soccer field, but it carries on well after the games are won. He tells his players to attend to the basics in everything they do. He advises them to be on time, be considerate, dress for success and expect the best from themselves and others, on the field and off.

When looking for work, consider Tawah's approach. Be on time. Not an hour early, nor ten minutes late. If you lost your way or you know you'll be delayed, make a phone call. If you arrive with plenty of time to spare, use it to your advantage. Look over the job description once more. Take a few deep breaths. But be respectful of your interviewer's schedule. If you must go in early, acknowledge that your appointment is at a given time, and offer to wait in the lobby until then.

Be considerate. Use good, appropriate eye contact. Connect with the interviewer when you are speaking; don't engage in a staring contest. Shake hands. In particular, be pleasant with receptionists and others you meet during the interview process. Front desk administrators are the eyes and ears of many organizations and their opinion of you counts for more than you might realize.

Dress for success. Success with peers means something altogether different than success in a work situation, so tuck in your shirt. Male or female, if you wear long hair, pull it back in a way that complements, rather than hides, your face. Avoid colognes and perfumes that might rile an interviewer's allergies, and keep make-up simple for interviews.

Finally, expect the best from yourself and others. Walk into every interview with confidence. Do not assume that you will leave with a job offer, but do assume that you are being fairly considered for the position. Learn as much as you can about the job, the company and the people you meet so if an offer does come through, you will be able to make an educated decision about whether the position is right for you.

Once you've signed on to a new position, give it all you've got. Your determination to succeed will carry you through the challenges of starting something new and will lead you to new opportunities as well. Remember that, with Tiger Woods a notable exception, sports stars generally are not born that way. Even Eli Manning missed a pass or two before connecting when it mattered in the Super Bowl. Success at work comes through practicing the basics day after day. Pay attention to the fundamentals and success will surely follow.

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Julie Desmond is an Executive Recruiter with Hunter Hamilton Professional Resources in Minneapolis. Write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
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