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Open to work: Jack Pinho on the power of positivity

How one former student-athlete is navigating unemployment

Key takeaways

  • Apply the drive and dedication you used as an athlete to your job search strategy.
    Today’s job market is tenuous. When applying for job after job, day after day, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude. Your commitment to land a job will take you somewhere even when the outcome is unknown.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile headline text.
    Say a bit more about the positions you actively seek. It shows you are ready to dive in right away for your next employer. And you never know who or how someone reading it may be able to connect you to new opportunities.
  • Find a way to get in front of employers and people who have jobs.
    Use your network to set up informational meetings. It’s tough, but not impossible, to get 10 to 15 minutes scheduled with busy people who are on virtual calls all day long. Be mindful that the people on the other side of that call, Zoom screen or job application may be going through their own tough time.

Jack Pinho Now and Then. (Photo credits: Springfield College athletics)

Jack Pinho’s toughest race is no longer on the Springfield College track. With two degrees in hand and eyes fixed on landing a job in college athletics, his biggest challenge now is entering a fragile U.S. job market. 

As an athletics graduate assistant at Springfield, Pinho wore many different hats — assistant cross country coach, athletics administrator, student-athlete mentor and academic supporter, team travel coordinator and more.

“I was lucky that my work took me through to my own graduation in May,” he said.

Pinho has applied for 15-20 jobs, and the competition has been fierce. His mindset has been consistent with each opportunity.

“I‘ve kept in mind that candidates with more experience than I are applying too and often in great numbers because of all those who have been put out of jobs in recent months,” he said.

Through this process, he’s learned that patience and positivity are everything.

“I never count myself out of it,” Pinho said.

He said he is constant in believing that today might be the day he gets that call. Tomorrow might be the school that he’s applied to months ago saying hiring is back open and wanting to talk to him.

“The way I apply to jobs is the way I attack everything in life,” Pinho said. “If I can get the interview, I can show them how personable I can be in a people-oriented business. Even at my age, I can make an immediate impact and take their organizational goals to new levels.”

Likewise, Pinho has leaned on controlling what he can outside the job search space.

“During the pandemic, the biggest thing for me has been self-care, and I’ve really had to focus on that,” he said.

To make ends meet, he’s gone back to his high school job working in construction. He’s also maintained a part of his collegiate routine.

“I try to carve out one to two hours to get a training run in before hitting the laptop each evening to network and search for jobs,” he said. “It’s left me dry at times and still does. But I haven’t lost hope. I understand the economic crisis going on. I’ve tried to remain patient and not be frustrated in how long I’ve been in the job application process.

“When I put my head on the pillow at night, I want to know that I’ve put my best foot forward and know there was nothing more that I could have done on that job application, that opportunity.”

Jack Pinho completed a graduate assistantship in athletics administration and earned a master’s degree in athletics administration in May from Springfield. While competing on the men’s indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country teams, he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 2018 from Springfield.