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A Plan Of Action Makes Or Breaks A Job Application

Jim McLoughlin


Throughout my 25+ year career only about one in four of the 100+ plans of action I have reviewed for my client clubs through the years passed muster and earned their job applicant authors short-list hiring consideration.


Yet, all 37 candidate superintendents (i.e.- 100%) that I have personally counseled through the job application process and who submitted quality action plans were hired -- competing against fields that averaged +/- 35 job applicants. How does this universal record of success happen?


Answer: A job applicant's plan of action that is measurably superior to those of other candidates when competing for the same job can pre-empt an entire field of job applicants.


Why Do The Vast Majority Of Plans Of Action Fail?

  1. Most job applicants simply do not commit to making a complete due diligence effort. They fail to take sufficient initiative as profiled in my June 26th blog.
  1. Most job applicants submit their plans of action late; i.e.- generally as they walk into the interview room. Consequently, the plans are put aside on the interview table and fail to produce the balanced discussions with the search committees that candidates require to earn a job. (See the July 10th blog on this subject.)
  1. Most job applicants fail to present their action plan contents within the standard three-part sequence; i.e.- Part 1: Planning for the first year; Part 2: Planning for the short term (the next 2 to 3 years); and Part 3: Planning to present a credible long-term strategic plan for the program.

Furthermore, each segment of this three-part plan should be supported by definitive operational and capital pro forma business plans; i.e.- the segments of submitted plans that applicants generally fail to present.

  1. Plan booklets are generally too long (20-25 pages instead of 7-10 pages) and contain too many photographs (25+ photos instead of 6 to 8 photos).

The key to preparing a successful plan of action is to say a lot in the fewest words possible and to show a lot with the fewest photographs possible. Preparing concise presentations is an art form.


Summary Observations

  • Plans of action will either make or break job applications.
  • A weak interview will nullify the best-prepared plans of action (more on this subject next week). 

To guard against this, see the June 26th blog message entitled, "Stress Free Job Interviews."


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