Do What you Love and Get Paid for It!
Start a Career in Sports Today!
It’s not just a lousy economy that has people thinking about finding new jobs. For years, millions of fans have dreamt about the possibility of combining their passion for sports with their professional life and working in sports. If you are considering pursuing a career in sports, here are eight tips to take you from intern to CEO faster than you even thought!
1. Be a Pro and Leave the Fan Behind
If your idea of working in sports includes hanging out with players and high-profile figures, watching games from start to finish from the comfort of box seats, and generally being a fan, you have to leave that mindset behind. To be successful in the world of sports, it’s essential that you act like a professional and not cheer and act like a fan while you’re at work. The odds of impressing a potential employer are much greater when you can demonstrate proficiency in the skills outlined in the job description instead of gushing about the on-field performance of the organization and it’s players.
2. Look Past the Sexy Jobs
Many potential entrants in the world of sport have ideas of being a general manager, president or CEO, or other prestigious position within a few years of entering the field. Notwithstanding the fact that the number of jobs at the top of the organization are extremely limited and typically take decades to attain, remember that there are a myriad of opportunities you’ve likely never considered. Take a look at organizational front office directories to get an idea of the hundreds of positions that form a team’s business operations and identify a handful that you’re interested in.
3. Be Ready to Start at the Bottom
Internships and entry-level positions are highly competitive in this business because of the sheer number of sports fans who think working in sports is their dream job. At this stage of your career, getting your foot in the door is key, so take just about any job or internship opportunity that you can find. Once you’re in an organization, do your best to identify a mentor who can help you understand the company culture and the best way for you to move around, vertically or horizontally, into the position you really want.
4. Don’t Limit Yourself to the Big Four
It’s likely your love affair with sports began with a major college or Big Four (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) team. You can be sure these are the employers that the majority of job seekers will be targeting. After all, who doesn’t want to work for their favorite team? It’s to your advantage to think outside the box and look into opportunities in arena football, minor league hockey, minor league baseball, and other less popular sports. In these smaller operations, not only do you stand a better chance of being hired, but you will also develop a wider set of experience as a result of having greater responsibilities with a smaller staff. It may not be the most glamorous start to your career, but it can be a great steppingstone into the job you want.
5. Conduct Informational Interviews
You’d be surprised how accessible many of the people working in the jobs you want are. Sometimes all it takes is a nicely written e-mail or phone call to get an opportunity to pick the brain of someone who has travelled the journey you’re embarking on. If you’re trying to get the attention of a particularly hard to reach individual, try calling or e-mailing before eight a.m. or after six p.m., traditional business hours, when that person’s secretary (gatekeeper) is gone for the day. With a bit of luck they’ll answer the phone themselves so be ready to talk intelligently!
6. Make Sure Your Social Media Resume is Up to Par
One of the first place potential employers will go to check you out if is LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is current, complete, free of spelling and grammatical mistakes, and conveys the image you want to reinforce to your potential employer. When that’s done, take a close look at your Facebook/MySpace/Twitter profile. Employers will often head here next and you don’t want a picture of you doing something that could embarrass the organization or give a hiring authority a bad impression of you to surface. Discretion is key. When in doubt, delete.
7. Get Off the Beaten Path
Sometimes it seems like there just aren’t any opportunities available no matter where you look. This is the time to get creative and make a list of qualities to add value to a specific department within an organization. Use your networking skills to get in front of the decision maker and propose a position based on the needs of the department and your strengths. Showing this type of initiative won’t always lead to a job right away, but it will make a strong impression on someone and help build a relationship that may bear fruit in the future.
8. If You Can Sell, You Can Work
Sport is a business, first and foremost, and the area of the organization that is likely to have openings on a regular basis is the sales department. Even if you don’t think you want to sell or have preconceived notions about the position, it’s a good idea to consider it as a starting point. Not only can you produce quantifiable results from your sales allowing you to make a case for promotions and pay raises, but it’s one of the easiest ways to get your foot in the door and figure out how to transition into the job you really want.