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So you want to be an AD

Professionalism is a common-sense matter. If you are honest, if you follow through on commitments and if you treat others with respect, then you exhibit professionalism. If you fall short in any of those areas, you probably don’t.

While you must keep your eye on being true to those lofty personal values, you can take practical steps that help sell your personal brand.

This chapter includes relevant information in several areas, including:

  • Resume templates
  • Mock interview questions
  • Suggestions on attire
  • Guidance on professional organizations

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Is there a difference between how people perceive you and the way you want to be perceived? If so, what can you do to close that gap?
  • Is your resume up-to-date and does it reflect the skills and experience that you have to offer?
  • Do you have the typography/graphics skills to make your resume visually appealing and easy to read? If not, who can help?
  • Do you have the interview skills needed to pursue a high-level management position such as an athletics directorship?
  • Are you secure enough to participate in a mock job interview and then benefit from candid feedback?
  • Have you considered how to dress, both for in-person and online interviews?
  • Does your membership in professional organizations reflect your gravitas as an athletics administrator?
  • Are you paying attention to your ongoing education?

Resumes are important, so give them the attention they deserve. They should be thorough yet concise, error-free (and free of misrepresented responsibilities or achievements) and easy to read. This section includes several templates that current athletics directors have judged to be good. If you choose to use any of them, you likely would want to add personal touches. But do pay attention to the information that is included in these samples and how it is presented. Resume-writing is an ever-evolving art, and these templates show how a quality resume can help you obtain the job you want.

Those responsible for hiring usually emphasize the job interview in determining who gets the position. The resume can be a great introduction, but the interview reveals how well you listen, what particular ideas you have, whether you have a sense of humor and whether you can be serious when the situation calls for it.

This program will offer the opportunity for mock job interviews for those aspiring to advance professionally within Division II. Current Division II athletics directors serve as faculty for a mentoring program, and the executive search firm of Alden & Associates also will provide assistance. While there’s no substitute for a real-life interview, mock interviews have the benefit of unrestrained feedback. Take advantage of this opportunity, if possible.

While people are not hired because of the way they dress, some job candidates fail to land a job because of carelessness in this area. This section provides suggestions for your in-person interviews, but pay special attention to what you wear if you are doing an interview through Skype or other such video programs. And if you do have a Skype interview, pay attention to what’s on the wall behind you and be sure to turn off the ringers on any nearby phones, including cell phones.

Finally, you are known by the company you keep, and that includes the professional organizations with whom you affiliate. If you want to become an AD, that means you are seeking an authoritative position in higher education. You might want to learn more about CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education). NACDA and NACWAA memberships should be givens for someone hoping to become an AD, but you also should consider memberships of associations devoted to fundraising or marketing/promotions. NACMA (the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators) provides excellent digital platforms for brainstorming.

Also be aware of development opportunities. A collection of Division II associations offers an excellent Sports Management Institute every year. Berths in such programs are usually competitive, but you don’t get better if you don’t take risks.

Of course, your development shouldn’t stop once you land your first AD position. Expect to participate in conventions, clinics and ongoing education. It’s all part of being a professional.