Amd_magicbirdIt's been called the biggest college basketball game ever: March 26, 1979. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson played on court for the first time, for the national college basketball championship. Michigan State versus Indiana State.

I caught an NPR interview with Sports Illustrated columnist, Seth Davis, author of the new book When March Went Mad, and was intrigued to hear his take on the most valuable skill that Larry Bird and Magic Johnson possessed.

They were both great at scoring, they were both great at shooting. But that wasn't what set them apart. According to Davis, they distinguished themselves most through their passing skills. In quick, smart passes to team members, they showed that they could "think the game" while demonstrating agility and teamwork.

This skill was going against the grain at the time: Magic and the Bird played in the era of heightened popularity for the "slam dunk."

In today's tight job market, conventional wisdom is that you need to be able to demonstrate what differentiates you from others--and show the "slam dunks" that you've made over the course of your career.  It's essential to frame your accomplishments online, in your resume, and through personal contact throughout your job search process: You need to demonstrate your skills, experience and the unique value that you bring to an opportunity.

In the job search, your passing game is as important as how you differentiate yourself. With decreases in team size, operating budgets, and encouragement to "do more with less" in many companies, teamwork is more essential than ever. Demonstrating that you are a team player is an essential leadership skill: There's a lot to be said in simply showing that you can follow directions and see beyond your individual accomplishments.

You can distinguish yourself as a team player, and also become known for your passing skills in terms of how you handle job leads. In a scarce labor pool, it may feel hard to pass a lead that's not a fit for you onto someone else--but it can create good will and sometimes it's the right thing to do. After all, if a job lead doesn't fit your skill set or play to your strengths, it will be hard to make three pointers if you are hired.

A side benefit of sportsmanship in the job search: You will grow your network and create good will. People you've shared with may think of you as "top of mind" when an opportunity that aligns with your skills and interests becomes available.

Do you need help showcasing your individual and team accomplishments? I can help. Contact me, and let's get started on your game strategy.

To Your Success,

Chandlee