Posts Tagged ‘sports career’

Jeffrey Dobin

I hoped you enjoyed reading Expert Interview with Jeffrey Dobin: Pursue Your Passion, the first of a two-part mini agent interview series. Jeff’s story is filled with many tidbits that will help you as you look to break down the barrier of entry into the sports industry. From Jeffrey Dobin, Managing Partner at Athlete Advocates, we learned the following:

1. Pursuing advanced educational degrees not only sets you apart from the competition but also gives you more time to gain valuable sports internship experience that may not have been afforded to you during your undergraduate career.

2. Participating in a diversity of internships will give you more exposure to areas of the sports business you are considering for full-time positions.

3. Establishing a solid network of contacts can act as a springboard to launching your own business right out of school.

4. Following up is the key to successful networking. Once you establish a relationship with someone, you have to nurture it.

5. Latching on to a handful of mentors will help you connect all the dots as you look to make your mark in the sports industry. Their insights and advice are invaluable to living out your passion.

6. Treat your internships like interviews. Bring your “A” game every day, and be prepared to out-hustle your peers.

7. Never get comfortable when interning. In other words, avoid distraction at all costs and work as hard and efficiently as possible.

Advertisements

The idea for this post came to me as three of my closest Georgetown friends and I decided to travel from Washington, DC to New York for Game 5 of the American League Division Series this past Thursday. The decision to go was very spontaneous, as we purchased game and bus tickets after the Yankees won Game 4 only two days earlier. Although we all had schoolwork and other commitments to attend to, we made the trip happen. It will be an experience that the four of us will never forget.

Over the span of a couple of days, we engaged in a process that I like to refer as “rolling the dice.” Its basic meaning is taking a risk with the hope and confidence that everything will work out fine regardless of the outcome. Like a craps player at a casino, you are gambling on your chances of succeeding at something. I can thank one of my favorite TV shows, Entourage, for introducing me to such a valuable life philosophy at a time when I really need it. The main character and star actor in the show, Vincent Chase, often “rolls the dice” when facing difficult decisions about which movie roles he should pursue. Even though things work out for Vince and his entourage most of the time, the system is not foolproof. The boys suffer setbacks but move forward with a positive attitude that makes “rolling the dice” all the worthwhile.

If you want to work in the sports industry, you are going to have “roll the dice” to get your foot in the door. This might sound scary to those of you who have been handed everything as a kid and have shied away from risk. I am no stranger to this myself, but I have turned over a new leaf over the past couple of years. It is time for you to break out of this mold and start taking some chances with your career. This will require getting out of your comfort zone. How else do you think you are going to separate yourself from the thousands of other candidates out there who are looking to beat you out for a job?

I cannot stress enough the importance of trusting your intuition as you look to “roll the dice” and launch a successful sports career. You are going to have a lot of voices whispering in your ear and trying to dictate your career path. This includes the voices of parents, friends, other family members, mentors, etc. Pay attention to their words of wisdom, but try to steer clear from any negativity that might make you second-guess your desire to “roll the dice.” At the end of the day, you have to go with your gut and heart when deciding how you move forward with your sports career.

Here are some suggestions for how you can start “rolling the dice”:

1. Contact 3 people you admire in the industry for career advice. Use one of the following mediums: handwritten note, email, LinkedIn, or Twitter. The higher up their position, the better.

2. Take an internship with a sports company in a department you do not necessarily see yourself working in. You may be pleasantly surprised by the opportunities presented to you.

3. Take an internship with a non-sports company in a department where you can develop a skill-set that is directly transferable to the sports industry. This may not seem ideal, but this is what “rolling the dice” is all about!

Todd Crannell

For all my readers out there, I want to let you know that my posts have decreased in the past few weeks as a result of my preparation for the LSAT and simultaneous start of my senior year at Georgetown. After October 1st, I will return to my normal dose of 2-3 posts per week. I hope you have found the insights from my professional interviews helpful as you begin to launch your sports career. As always, feel free to reach out to me for any advice on breaking into the business. Expect more sports agent interviews to come out in the near future. From Expert Interview with Todd Crannell: Life in the Fast Lane, NFL agent Todd Crannell taught us the following:

1.Pursuing advanced educational degrees such as an MBA not only make you more marketable to sports companies but can also be of assistence when starting your own business.

2. Not everyone breaks into sports directly after college. Some do not realize their calling until later in their career. It’s never too late to follow your passion.

3. If you are seeking an internship or job in a particular area of sports, play the numbers game by applying to as many companies who can potentially fulfill your career aspirations.

4. For cover letters, communicate tangible skills to an employer to show them what you can bring to the table that will add value to their organization. Be specific.

5. Treat every day of an internship like a job interview. Dress for success.

6. Focus more on the quality of the connections you make as opposed to the quantity. Try to make a lasting impression on a few people who might remember your name when they hear of a job opening within the industry.

7. Participate in as many sports internships as you can. Diversify your experiences and leverage them into job offers. Sometimes you might not even need to pursue an advanced degree. Everyone’s path into sports is unique.

Nicola Murphy

I hope you enjoyed Expert Interview with Nicola Murphy: Hard Work Pays Off. At this point, I have given you a good feel for the sports marketing side of the business, whether it is sponsorships, philanthropy, events, or in Nicola’s case, athletes and properties. Marketing is a large part of the sports business and a great way to break into the industry. However, looking forward, I hope to diversify my interviews in terms of different aspects of the industry and levels of experience. Be on the lookout for upcoming interviews with sports agents. From Nicola Murphy, Director of Marketing, Athlete & Property Marketing at Octagon, we learned the following:

1. Working in sports is not just limited to internship and job opportunities within your home country. Develop a global perspective and be willing to take risks.

2. The skill set you develop does will not necessarily confine you to one particular industry. Make your skills transferable, and you can find a back door into the sports industry.

3. Although Nicola recommended three internship experiences, you can still break into the industry having worked in other capacities that may not be directly related to sports. It depends on how badly you want it.

4. Invest the same amount of time in networking as you would a friendship. Commit yourself to developing genuine connections with people, and sustain those relationships.

5. Treat internships as a trial job opportunity and deliver impressive work product every day.

6. Always take advantage of saying hello and learning a little about the executives you meet along the way.

7. It is okay to try out different things. You will end up carving out what you do not like and focusing on what appeals to you along the way.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about using social media to land a sports job, LinkedIn is one of the three websites I utilize to promote my blog. The number of professionals joining LinkedIn continues to grow every day, especially with the company’s recent successful initial public offering (IPO). With sites like this one, it is becoming increasingly easier to reach out to people we want to connect with. I could not imagine what it was like when our parents applied for jobs. We are so lucky to have such a practical service at our fingertips.

Today I will discuss the more important pros of using LinkedIn to help take your passion for a sports career to the next level.

Pros

1. Allows you to display a professional profile, including the highlights of your resume and other personal information. You can control what is visible to people both inside and outside your network.

2. Makes it easy for past employers or friends to endorse your personal brand through its “Recommendation” feature.

3. Identifies 2nd and 3rd connections in your network. In other words, someone you might want to connect with might be a friend of a friend OR a friend of a friend of a friend. In a tightly knit industry like sports, the power of this is enormous.

4. Gives you the freedom to join groups according to your passions, both personal and professional. There are a lot of great sports groups out there. Joining them allows you to comment on discussions as well as start your own. The best part of being a member of a group is that it permits you to send messages to any other group member. Forget emailing sports executives. Reach out to them on LinkedIn!

5. Lets you perform very specific searches for both jobs and people. This is especially helpful if you want to search by sports company and narrow its employees down to those who might be alumni of your college or university. These people were once in your shoes and might be that person who will get your foot in the door. In addition, using the search feature effectively is a great way to “do homework” on people in the industry you are going to meet for the first time.

6. Keeps you up-to-date with what members of your network are doing. Be the first one to congratulate someone on a promotion or new job. Comment on a discussion of theirs to get their attention. You never know what might come of it.

As you have seen time and time again in my sports industry expert interviews, participation in one or more sports related internships is a pre-requisite for landing a job in sports. That being said, the time to get involved with sports opportunities is now, during your college years. Employers want to see that you already have practical experience that is directly applicable to the job you apply for. Here are 4 ways to get some sports experience:

1. Volunteer for your school’s athletic department.

– This is exactly what I did during my sophomore year at Georgetown. On game days for Men’s Basketball, I assisted the Ticketing Office by handing out wristbands to students hours before the game. It gave me a better appreciation for all the work that goes on behind-the-scenes in sports.
– Other areas within the athletic department that you can gain experience in include, but are not limited, to the following:

Athletic Development
Business & Finance
Corporate Sponsorship
Marketing & Promotions
Sports Information

– Go after the areas of the department that interest you the most, but in the end, you want to take what you can get.

2. Join any sports-related clubs on campus. If possible, obtain a leadership position.

– I am a co-host of a sports radio show on campus as well as an active member of a sports business club.
– If you are a good athlete, play a club sport.
– If there is no sports business club at your school, start one! That will look very impressive to a prospective employer.

3. Seek out an off-campus internship.

– I participated in an out-of-office internship that allowed me to stay involved throughout the whole year.
– Depending on your school’s location, there might be sports companies or teams who have offices nearby. If they have a formal internship program, apply. If they do not, offer free work.

*You will stand a much better chance of interning during the fall, winter, or spring than the summer due to the sheer number of applicants.
*Interning while in school is a function of your academic schedule. Perhaps you can take one less course for a semester or intern part-time if possible.

– Use your school’s Career Center and Alumni Network to your advantage when applying for these internships.

4. Start a sports blog.

– Write about a sports topic you are passionate about. It does not necessarily have to be about the business side of sports. Be creative.
– Promote with social media.
– Become an expert on the topic you choose to write about. Make yourself known in the online community by commenting on other blogs.

Rachel Mech

I had a great time conducting Expert Interview with Rachel Mech: Taking Chances with No Regrets. Telling Rachel’s story to you was a great way for me to show you what kind of people are out there who want to help. As her mentee, it means even more to me to share her insights about breaking into sports. From Rachel Mech, Co-Founder of ProVentures Sports Marketing, we learned the following:

1. Your reputation and ethics are the most precious assets in business and life. Refrain from performing actions that would put either of these two in jeopardy.

2. Separate yourself from the pack by going the extra mile. Be memorable as an intern if you want to get hired.

3. Network with your colleagues, and you will be surprised what kinds of opportunities might come your way. Stay in touch, and be prepared when they call on you for help.

4. Never forget where you came from. Be grateful for the opportunities certain places or people have afforded you. Give back to the community that has shaped who you are today, whether it is through mentoring, coaching, volunteering, etc.

5. As important as sending or responding to emails can be, it is better to connect with people on the phone or in person. You will be more productive and make it more difficult for others to say “No” to you.

6. Be tenacious if you want to break into sports. Don’t let anyone steer you away from your goals. It may take a few “No’s” to get a “Yes”.

7. When faced with a difficult decision, go with your gut. Take risks, and never look back with any regret.

*** Since this interview took place, Rachel Mech has departed ProVentures to pursue her law degree and is currently working in Baltimore.