Passion Pays Off: From Resumes to Interviews | The Journey in Finding your Dream Job in Athletics!

Apr 16, 2023

Rebecca was looking for her first athletic director position, so she sent her resume all over the country. She scoured LinkedIn, Indeed, and state association websites every day, and by the end of the month, Rebecca had applied to over one hundred openings.  “Surely,” she thought, “I will find my dream job soon!” But many days, weeks, and months passed and Rebecca’s phone didn’t ring once.  She began to worry – was there something wrong with her resume?   Finally, after she sent in her 117th resume, she got a call for her first interview!  

Soon after, Susan got another two calls and she ended up with three interviews scheduled. Two of the interviews were for athletic director positions and the third was working as a sports sales person. “Finally,” she thought, “I’m one step closer to my dream job!”

So Rebecca went to her interviews and she thought she nailed them and made a impactful impression, but to Rebecca’s disappointment, she only heard back about one job, and it was the sales position, least fulfilling opportunity of the three. Rebecca thought to herself, “Should I take it?”, she wondered.  The thought of working every day at a job she was not passionate about made her feel fearful and hopeless. Rebecca was afraid she might not find anything else, so she accepted the job, but vowed to work hard in her current sales position. But she would continue to develop relationships and  looking for something that she was passionate about.. helping students..

Six months after accepting the sales job, Rebecca got a call from a school who she had been serving in her sales role. They loved her passion for creating meaningful and positive relationships with their coaching staff and her ability to work through issues when they arose. But ultimately it was her ability to tell her story about her passion to serve students and coaches.  It turned out they needed someone with Rebecca’s skill set! 

Finally, after some hard work and persistence, Rebecca interviewed with the school and was offered the job of her dreams – it was amazing and it was just the kind of work she was looking for in impacting the lives of students and coaches.


Passion Pays Off: From Resumes to Interviews Personal Reflections


Wow! What a great reminder that discouragement and overcoming failure is the number one enemy to our success! Discouragement and fear is a more powerful than any enemy, incompetence, and more than illness. All of those things can be overcome, but discouragement  and fear can overcome us if we allow it to! 

My first position was working in a sports retail store and I struggled because it was not what I wanted to do.  I wanted to coach and serve student-athletes.  Now, I am dating myself here but I sent out 227 letters to college, universities, and high schools. At that time I felt like I was spending a lot of money…  I wish I could find that letter…. I called and left messages to athletic directors, principals and coaches all over the country. I waited and waited and then waited some more.  I continued to make phone calls to all the schools I had sent letters to.  Then one day out of the Blue, pun intended… Coach Ash from Drake University now an offensive analysts for the University of Arkansas called me and said he received my letter.  Coach Ash had recruited me years before and still remembered me and told me about an opportunity at William Penn University.  He knew the Vice President and he said “I’ll make a call for you but the rest is up-to you.”

It was a great reminder in my young career how much hard work, dedication, and the ability to overcome adversity was so imperative to success.  It also was a great lesson in paying it forward.  Coach Ash was a successful college football coach with no real attachment to me other than recruiting me.  But he took time to give me the opportunity to break into this profession I love, serving student-athletes and coaches. Thank you Coach Ash! Your time and effort changed my life!! I am forever grateful…

Everyone has down times and things don’t always go our way. But of course, everything can’t always go our way! If we were successful 100% of the time, we’d never try harder to get better, quicker, wiser, and kinder – we’d just wallow in our same old boring routine. So look at the disappointment in your life as an opportunity to gain. Strive to do what needs to be done, then look for a way to do it better! There’s always a way around an obstacle.

Rebecca didn’t give up when she didn’t hear anything after she sent her first resume, nor did she give up after her hundredth resume. She always kept moving one foot in front of the other and disallowed discouragement from keeping her down. When Rebecca took the job that seemed to be a dead end, she still didn’t give up. She took the job that was offered and kept looking for something better. She kept using her skill set to add value to the lives of others. She knew something else was out there… and there was!

When we put in our best effort, we create opportunities, we find opportunities, and opportunities find us. When we allow disappointment and discouragement to take over, we don’t see the hidden gems right in front of our own faces!  What if Rebecca had stopped her pursuit of her dream job when she took the sales position? What if she had allowed her disappointment to dictate her actions?

Well, she wouldn’t be very happy at all! She would be suffering an inner stress day in and day out. We’re so busy feeling sorry for ourselves that we often miss the chance to grow in patience, peace and serenity as we work and wait for better chances to come along. 


Opportunities are inevitable. When we put in the effort, exercise patience, and remain focused, they will undoubtedly present themselves. ~ Scott Garvis


Self-Reflection Questions:
  • When I face disappointment, how do I react?
  • Do I have a strategy for moving forward if the path I’m on now seems like a dead end?
  • What can I do to prepare myself to grow and learn from discouragement?
  • How many times have I allowed discouragement to keep me from new opportunities?


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