We’ve compared job searching to a few things in the past, like The Hunger Games, dating and gaming. They all have similar themes of persistence, hard work, and a bit of competition. So here’s another little comparison for you: rugby. The idea came about because of our exciting opp to get amazing careers advice from top professionals such as Jason Robinson (!). But it actually fits quite well. So read about rugby, and learn about having a productive job search.

But before we go ahead, we must introduce the experts because, although we really, really tried our best to work out what actually happens in a game of rugby, it didn’t come naturally. Tom Conway works for O2 touch and told us exactly how it works, before we put our career magic on it.

Preparation is key

Tom tells us that just like preparation for a job interview is crucial (research, practising questions, etc), the same goes for a rugby game. Preparation for an interview is just like training for a game. You go through set plays, practise scrums, lineouts and set piece moves. You need to get your boots, mouth guard and padded equipment before the game, just like you need your interview outfit needs thinking about and preparing!

In both instances, you can’t just go straight to the end results, without doing a whole load of stuff before you get there.


Being in a team

So yes, in a game you’re competing against an opponent, but rugby is a team sport and you’re relying on other people in your team to help you progress. Think about your job search – it doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. Making connections, networking, discussing with friends and calling for help from those in the industry is exactly what you should be doing. You can, as a team, help each other out. We recently told you how having ‘fans‘ during your job hunt is probably the best thing you can do to get ahead. Just like in rugby, support and fellow teammates are what you need for success.

Only by working as a team, can rugby players actually move the ball forward towards the goal line and eventually go on to win the game. Think about that as a metaphor for your job hunt – help from others can move you forward to your dream job.

It’s about tactics

Tactics are everything – in almost every game, in almost every situation we come across. If you know the game, or you know the company well, you can use tactics to get yourself noticed. Here’s an example from rugby: kicking the ball to touch results in a lineout as it’s off the field of play, but it also allows the kicking team to get the ball in a much more advantageous position on the field – so it can be done on purpose.

What tactics do you have with your job search or job interview? Is it calling up to check they’ve got your application and to introduce yourself over the phone? Is it to do a really creative cover letter for that design job? Is it to find a mutual person between the company and you to see what tips you can get to succeed? Think of the small things, they could lead to bigger things.

Competitive nature

While we’ve just told you teamwork is what you need, that competitive flair is just as important. Rugby is a team sport, but there’s also a series of one on one battles in the match. You want to beat your opponent. Just like you want to beat that other person going for the same job as you. You’ve got to do something better than them, make yourself stand out, get one up on them.

Think of the scrum, with two teams interlocking and battling it out to get the ball which is thrown in – yes you have your team, but you also have that one goal in mind: get the ball! (Get the job!).


Ethos of rugby

The general ethos of what you learn on the rugby pitch reflects the core values reflected in the workplace. We know that, because Tom told us. The ethos of working well in a team, enjoying what you do, respecting others you’re alongside, as well as appropriate discipline applies to both the game and the workplace.

And enjoyment should be a huge aspect. Like that goal down there.


Sorry to say it, but if you do something wrong – you know about it. You don’t get that interview, you don’t get the job offer. If you do something wrong in rugby, the sin-bin is the bench where all players who have committed a yellow card offences sit out of the game for ten minutes. The difference?

You don’t get the chance to get back up and carry on in the job searching world.


Now here’s your chances to take part in an exclusive opportunity with O2, to be one of 250 people to join the Rugby for Change programme. It’s an amazing personal development programme that will boost your self-confidence, and employability, and give you something to brag about! Schemes are running in London, Manchester, Bath and Loughborough.

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GTB guide to rugby lingo

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Photo Credit: John Gannon