There are many ways to pursue a goal. And if your goal is a career in sports, there are lots of ways to get started. But after watching hundreds of former students (and others) attempt to break into sports, I've combined their experiences into five broad categories that can help you organize your approach to a search for a new sports career.
In addition to identifying these five key areas of opportunity, there are concrete steps offered that you can take today to begin your sports career pursuit.
Sales: Where is the door open widest for new employees in sports (and many other businesses)? Sales! There are many reasons for this. First is that sales people generate revenue - and there is always room in any firm for more revenue generation. Second, sales positions have higher turnover than most other departments, which creates opportunities to hire new sales employees.
What to Do Today: You can build your sales skill set in many ways. Jobs in retail and sales in other industries are a great training ground.If you already have those experiences, update your resume to emphasize your sales successes. Be sure to use include specific data ("increased sales 20% year over year" or "performed in top ten percent in the district during the third quarter") to make it easy for hiring managers to easily recognize your skills and experience.
Graduate School: As the sports industry has matured in the last thirty years, there has been a corresponding increase in academic programs related to sports business. The competition for attracting students to online and traditional programs is intense and the number of programs to compare and contrast is extensive. Choosing the right program has the potential to allow you to increase your industry knowledge, build your professional network, and gain valuable work experience - as many graduate programs have built relationships with sports organizations that result in the strongest internship opportunities.
What to Do Today: The first step in considering your graduate school options is to visit the North American Society for Sport Management site. It includes a listing of undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs to help you get a handle on what is in the marketplace. Additionally, there are links to each program's website so you can begin the process of understanding which programs may be a good fit for you.
Know Somebody: Perhaps this one should have been first on the list. Because if your next door neighbor is the president of a sports business - and knows and likes you - you have a great chance of getting that first job in sports. But since most people do not have the good fortune, how does it apply to you? Well, luck is not the only way to know people. The other way is networking to get to know others in the industry.
What to Do Today: A key first step in networking is to create a LinkedIn profile so that you have an online presence that will allow you to interact with like-minded professionals. Another easy step to take today is to read this article on Networking 101, so that you can learn some tips to get you started on building your network.
Be sure to click over to Part 2 of this article for two more ways that you can start your quest for a career in sports.
By Rich Campbell
Sports Careers Expert