There was a good article in the Wall Street Journal on the new National Football League CFO Anthony Notto and how his diverse financial background landed him a high level job at the NFL.
Here are 8 good ideas to keep in mind when trying to land a job in the ever-so-competitive Sports Industry Business, whether it’s Entry Level positions or Senior Executive positions.
1) Volunteer for free.
This shows your true passion for the sport. When it’s cold, raining and miserable outside, showing up for practice shows your true dedication. Joy Upshaw-Margerum, sister of 2004 Olympian Long Jumper Grace Upshaw, was a volunteer coach at Cal Berkeley after coming froma paid coaching position at University of Hawaii before landing an Assistant Track and Field coaching position.
2) Attend Conferences and Seminars
If you wanted to meet John Smith, Dan Pfaff or Clyde Hart, you could have attended last month’s free USATF National Podium Education Project in Las Vegas. Of course, gambling expenses were not covered.
3) Take good notes, Ask a lot of questions, Keep an open mind.
Every BODY is different so you can’t simply copy Michael Johnson’s program word for word and expect to run 19.32. You have to tweak, experiment, and learn from failures. What works for some athletes will not work for others.
Keep an open mind when it comes time to theories, after all, they are just theories. You can follow the Charlie Francis short-to-long program, or Clyde Hart’s long-to-short. They both work.
Don’t be afraid to be controversial, but not too adversarial.
4) Network – It’s who you know.
There’s LinkedIn and Facebook in the digital world to get “connected”.
Even when visiting a new city for a track meet, try to meet with one of the coaches or assistants for a tour of their facility. As you tour the campus, you can ask your questions.
I contacted UCLA’s head Strength and Conditioning coach “Doc” Kreis several years ago for a tour of their weight room and was immediately welcomed.
When you email them, get right to the point. They are very busy and have very little free time. Don’t start off by asking “I was wondering if you have time to answer some emails…”, wait for their response, then ask the question on the next email.
Just say “I am interested in a tour… ” or “I would like to interview you on the topic of …”
5) Learn a new language or computer competency
If you are planning on going to Beijing, a working knowledge of Chinese or Mandarin will be extremely helpful as an assistant. French is also helpful as it’s one of the official languages of the IOC. If English is not your first language, I recommend to master it.
If you have solid computer skills, even if it’s Corel Draw to make fancy graphs, that will surely impress a coach with the old acetate overhead slides! (This is a true story – names withheld to protect the innocent!)
6) Be Different. Tell them something unique about yourself.
When a medical school accepts applications, they always check what your interest are outside the curriculum. They don’t want applicants with a 4.0 GPA and no other activities and interests.
Maybe your undergrad was Arts? That shows your are creative. Was it Science? Then you can memorize facts. How about Engineering? That shows you are a good problem solver. Even Accounting? Then you have an affinity for details.
Did you work at Starbucks? That shows you have exception customer service skills.
Every serious hobby has a message to prospecting companies. Maybe you collect vintage Olympic posters? Or you attempted to watch all the NHL road games in a 3 month period?
7) Be a Team Player.
Be sure to read this post on How to Build a Winning Team. One guy got a $120K per year job quoting this outline when asked “How are you going to build your team?”.
8) Be an Authority.
Write some articles and submit them to Article Marketing sites, or even better, as a guest Blog. Contact me if you wish to guest post here.
At the end of the day, it’s patience that will land you that dream job.