Posts Tagged ‘break into sports industry’

Besides sharing my own insights with you about how to break into sports, I thought it would be a great idea to interview as many industry experts as I could to increase our chances of a landing a sports job. I came up with a standard set of 12 questions to ask my interviewees in order to paint a clearer picture of what it takes to work in sports. In terms of selecting the sports business professionals, my plan is to gather a diverse array of people who work in different parts of the business. Some will be relatively new to sports, while others will have years of experience. Regardless of age, there is nothing like hearing real life stories from people who are working in an industry we dream to one day be a part of.

The questions I came up with for the interviews are the following:

1. What is your official job title?

This is a nice softball question that pinpoints what exactly the interviewee does for a living.

2. Where did you go to college as an undergraduate? What was your major(s)/minor(s)?

You never know if the interviewee attended the same college as you did. If so, this might be a great person to reach out to for advice, mentoring, or an informational interview. If they did not, perhaps you know someone who went to the same school as he or she did. For high school students, you might want to look into the college that the interviewee attended. Their school might have a strong sports alumni database.

I find the major/minor follow-up question to be an interesting one. It seems like people who work in sports may not necessarily have studied sports management as a college student. Perhaps they studied business or English.

3. Did you pursue an advanced degree(s) to further market yourself to the sports industry? If so, please elaborate.

Some people land a sports job right out of college and do not have to pursue an advanced degree. However, they might decide to further their education later on in their career if they want to move up the ladder. Others might decide to go for an advanced degree right out of college if they did not get the job they wanted or if they preferred to get the additional education out of the way and under their belt.

4. When did you know that you wanted to “break into sports? Was there one specific moment that you can recall when you knew you had to work in sports? Was it an industry you always saw yourself working in? Or did you just kind of fall into it?

Some sports professionals might have known since they were in high school or college that they wanted to work in sports. Others might have entered the industry by coincidence. No path is the same.

5. How many internships did you participate in before you landed your first job? Where did you intern?

Most interviewees would have participated in a variety of internships before landing their first sports job. That is just the nature of the industry. Finding out where they interned is beneficial to you since you could potentially apply there to gain more industry experience.

6. How did you land your first job in sports?

With this question, I am trying to see if the interviewee applied the traditional way or networked to get the job.

7. Can you comment on the importance of networking in the sports industry?

Like I have mentioned in my prior post about networking, building relationships is so important for your career, especially in sports. I wanted to hear the interviewee’s viewpoint on their experience with networking.

8. Can you comment on the importance of mentoring?

The same goes for mentoring as with networking. This is another cornerstone of the sports industry. Learn more about mentoring here.

9. Could you take me through a typical day at work? If no day is typical, what did you do yesterday, or what are you doing tomorrow?

This “day in the life” question brings the interviewee’s official job title to life. Knowing what a sports professional does on a daily basis might turn you on or off to their career. You will get an exclusive inside perspective about a variety of sports careers.

10. What is the most rewarding aspect about working in sports?

I am looking for something that gets the interviewee up every morning.

11. If you had to give advice to someone looking to break into the sports industry, what would it be?

This is probably the most important question for you to pay attention to. After all, these are people who have accomplished your goal of breaking into sports. They know what they are talking about and want to help.

12. What do you do for fun when you are not at the office?

This is a fun and interesting question. People who work in sports are just like you and me. They enjoy different hobbies or activities when not doing their job.

I hope these questions will sincerely aid you on your quest to break into sports. Please let me know if you have any ideas for new questions that I can add to future interviews. Comment on this post or email me at mjr89(at)georgetown.edu. Stay tuned for some great content from sports industry experts!

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Mentoring is one part of breaking into sports that does not receive enough attention. As an aspiring sports business professional who probably has a limited amount of sports contacts, you will have little luck trying to break into this industry alone (You should know that by now after reading my last post on networking). That is where mentors come in.

One of the most interesting and satisfying aspects of the sports industry is that in order to get into it, you have to do a lot of leg work. I say this as a business school student who sees Accounting and Finance majors being fed the recruiters on campus. All these students really have to do is show up to the information sessions and drop their resumes for internship and job openings. Unless your college or university has its own undergraduate sports management program, the sports jobs are not going to be handed to you. While it is unfortunate that professional sports teams, leagues, and agencies do not normally recruit on college campuses, it makes the process of landing a sports job more rewarding. Researching and learning about all the sports opportunities out there for college students as opposed to being exposed to on-campus recruiters for sports jobs is exciting and, at the same time, gives you a sense of independence.

That being said, the competition out there is so fierce that you still need some assistance in the internship and job search. What you need is someone who preferably works in sports and is willing to help you discover what area of the business is the best fit for you. This help can come in a variety of forms: reviewing your resume and/or cover letter, sharing their current and past work experiences, introducing you to their contacts within the industry, giving you advice, etc. The ideal mentor should be honest, trustworthy, and a motivator. In a sense, your mentor should be an integral part of “breaking” you into the industry. Stay tuned for a future post about how to find the perfect mentors for you.

As a matter of fact, I did. Networking is a term that makes many high school and college students cringe. The thought of talking to a total stranger and turning that conversation into a lasting relationship can be a scary one. Why? It might be because you are afraid that the other person will not like you. Maybe you feel uncomfortable presenting yourself. Perhaps you are not the world’s best conversationalist.

If you feel like any of my comments above describe your attitude towards networking, all hope is not lost. I, too, was in your position not so long ago. Before Georgetown, I admit that I was a pretty shy person when it came to talking to adults. However, when I got to college, I quickly discovered the importance of networking for a successful business career. I promised myself that I would be more outgoing and change my approach to meeting professionals for the better. So can you. It is never too late to leave the past behind you and start putting yourself out there. Let today be the first day of the rest of your life.

After all, the sports industry is all about networking. There is no shying away from the fact that the sports business is a people intensive one. Establishing contacts and building relationships are vital for anyone who wants to make it in sports, let alone any profession. Networking can lead to a variety of opportunities including new business leads, friendships, job leads, etc.

At some point or another in my life, I have come across one of the most popular quotes associated with the concept of networking. The saying goes, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” While this statement over-emphasizes the significance of networking, there is definitely some truth to it. Just think about attending your high school reunion years down the road. Undoubtedly, some of the kids you thought were not the brightest will be more successful than some of the other intelligent kids you knew in high school. The reason for their success might be what you call “luck,” but what they call “networking.” There’s a good chance that those people outhustled the smart ones to land the better jobs.

As you re-evaluate your attitudes towards networking, I will leave you with a more modern interpretation of the above quote that I have heard since my time at Georgetown. Instead, the saying should read, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you.” There is more on this quote to come in future posts.

This blog is for anyone who aspires to one day break into the sports industry. More specifically, I want to target high school and college students that are looking to get their foot in the door and launch a successful sports career.

I write this blog from a unique perspective as a student trying to find his niche within the sports industry. As a rising senior at Georgetown University, my goal is to land a job in sports come graduation one year from now. Over the past three years, I have gained experience in the industry by working for free. On campus, I have volunteered my time with the Georgetown University Athletics Ticketing Office and co-hosted a sports radio show (“The Locker Room“) for WGTB Georgetown Radio. I have also interned remotely at a sports and entertainment talent agency called Q2 Sports & Entertainment. Although I have these experiences under my belt, I will not consider myself “broken in” until I land my first job in sports.

That being said, I want to continue to educate myself and you about how to accomplish that goal. I plan to share my knowledge and advice about the industry with you as well as interview sports business professionals whose input will help you on your quest to break into sports.

You can expect 2 – 3 posts per week. I encourage an open forum of discussion, so please comment on any of my posts. If there are any topics you specifically want to learn about, feel free to email me at mjr89@georgetown.edu.