Posts Tagged ‘sports business’

The sports industry is a competitive business. There are no surprises here. What kid would not want to work for his favorite sports team he has been following his whole life? I know I would.

Too often, people hold themselves back from chasing their dreams because of fear. It sucks to fail at something, and this leads us to take less risks. We settle for second best and often live with regrets and wonder what could have been. While I can empathize with this mentality to some degree, I realize that you only get one chance at life, so you might as well make it count. I would rather live having tried and failed at something than not having tried at all.

I think what it all boils down to is the attitude you bring to breaking into the business. You need to develop a winning mindset that will not allow you to take “no” for an answer. This is no easy process, but it is one you need to dedicate yourself to perfecting. You are bound to make mistakes along the way, which is all part of the learning curve.

Based on my experience so far, I would recommend the following pieces of advice to help you develop that winning mentality that will propel you to the career of your dreams:

1. Surround yourself with positive people. Latch on to peers and mentors who are ambitious, honest, trustworthy, and confident.

2. Set goals for yourself, both personal and professional. Develop a plan to accomplish them and make sure you execute. Have your friends and family hold you accountable to them.

3. Accept that everything happens for a reason. If things do not go your way, do not complain or let failure deter you from pursuing the job of your dreams. Learn from your mistakes and get better.

4. Read books about successful people and/or the subject mental toughness. I just finished The Greatest, a biography of Muhammad Ali. Talk about a guy who overcame adversity and became one of the best champions sports has ever seen. In the past, I read Jim Murphy’s Inner Excellence, a book that helps you get in the zone and develop that winning mentality that sets you up for success.

5. Believe in yourself. The only thing holding you back from attempting to do the impossible is yourself. Perhaps Muhammad Ali said it best, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”


In Ask the Right Questions when Researching Sports Jobs, my tenth question was about whether any sports business professionals had published books on an aspect of the industry you want to learn more about. Besides talking to someone who works in a particular part of the sports business that you are interested in, the next best thing to do is to read about the experiences of an expert, whether it is an autobiography or simply their perspective on a particular sports business topic.

That being said, one of my favorite things to do to prepare for a job in sports is to read books for fun. It’s a nice side hobby of mine where I can get away from the hustle and bustle of college life and pick up some practical knowledge. The types of book I like to read are primarily sports related, but I also enjoy self-help books.

In my sophomore year at Georgetown, I began reading these two different types books in order to learn from the best in the business and put myself at an advantage. I have not looked back since.

Please check out my newest Recommended Books blog page where I have compiled all of the books I have read in the past couple of years that I believe have prepared me and will hopefully prepare you for the sports industry.

Let me hear your suggestions on books you would recommend for people looking to break into sports!

These days, social media is becoming quite the phenomenon in sports. With the advent of websites like Facebook and Twitter, professional teams and other sports businesses must embrace this revolution that is taking the world by storm. Failure to do so will leave them behind the competition.

For the most part, everyone in sports is still trying to figure out how to leverage social media to improve their business. This is great news for kids like you and me who have grown up with the Internet.  As a result, we are much more social media savvy than older generations and can probably teach them a thing or two. While your dream job may not be doing social media in sports, it is the perfect way to break into the industry. Hiring managers always talk about adding value to an organization. What better way to do so then show them that you are an expert in social media and can help them solve their problems. I really would not be surprised if sports companies start adding CSMOs, i.e. Chief Social Media Officers, in the near future.

The truth is that you are probably spending a lot of your free time on social media websites anyways. It is time to take things up a notch by not just talking to friends, looking at photos, following athletes, etc. Start becoming more interactive with the sports community. Do things like participating in conversations about your favorite teams, sharing sports articles that you enjoyed reading, or starting your own discussions about an area of the sports business that you want to learn more about. Play around with different social media sites to see which one you like best. Don’t spread yourself too much. It’s better to become really good at a few social media sites than to become average at many social media sites.

Even if you do not want to get a job in social media, it’s never a bad thing to be influential in the online community. For one thing, an active online sports presence will help you expand your network. Employers want to see people who have connections. It’s up to you if you want to become that person.

In the future, I want to evaluate the pros and cons of the 3 main social media sites I use to promote this blog: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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.

You have decided that you want to break into sports, which is great. Before you go out and tell all of your friends and family, you have to first ask yourself the question, “What do I know about working in the sports industry?”

Your answer is likely to reflect some far-fetched lifestyle in which you are a glorified fan who makes lots of money and attends all the must-see sports games. This perception is likely due to pop culture influences such as the movie Jerry Maguire and even the hit HBO show Entourage. While I love both of these, the reality is that this fantasy life is the exception rather than the norm. You must accept the fact that sports is a business that often requires long hours, pays low salaries, and extends beyond being a diehard fan.Yet, most sports jobs do have some perks, which vary depending on the nature of the job. There are even high-paying positions, although they are limited.

If you are discouraged by what I am telling you, then the sports industry is probably not for you. However, if you are like me, you put the glitz and glamour aside and see breaking into sports as a challenging, yet fulfilling venture. Once you have developed this attitude, it is time to research and discover what it is exactly that you might like to pursue as a career within the industry.