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Get A Job In The Sports Industry Without Being “in” The Industry

Ron Shapiro sheds his light on how he because one of the most influential figures in sports… and it wasn’t because he initially wanted to work in sports.

Thanks right.  You don’t have to set out with a ton of work experience “in” the sports industry.  You can be an expert at a certain skill in another industry, and then break in after you make your moves.

In theory, this could actually give you more of an advantage getting a job in the industry.  You don’t have to worry about being labeled as “that guy moving up” from an entry level job.  You don’t have to deal with the drama from a pro team or organization either.  You simply dominate your market from another industry, and apply as the expert at your skill.

Ron did this, and look where it took him.  What do you think?  Do you have to start in the sports industry to get a good job or should you get some experience elsewhere and come in with brass knuckles and taking names as they fall?  Share your thoughts in the comments section and feel free to add this video to your site by going to and embedding the code from the video.

For those interested, this video was taken during the Princeton Sports Symposium.

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16 Responses to Get A Job In The Sports Industry Without Being “in” The Industry

  1. Barry Mezey March 25, 2009 at 8:46 pm #

    Very True!

    Barry Mezey

    President, Superstar Management Group.

  2. Mark March 25, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    It depends where you are starting. As a student in college right now, I cannot move to another field. I am majoring in communications and when applying for internships they want you to have experience in the field. As an older person maybe this theory works. But if you are starting young I think you need to start “in” the business.

  3. ABK41 March 26, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    I think this is a fair article. It demonstrates Ron getting “tapped” based on his experience and skills and then to contribute those attributes in the Major League Baseball area. In the area of law and money – I can see why Major League Executives view experience as “more than a plus” and that experience counts for a lot … That said, this article relies heavily on the premise, “it's all about who you know” … that one is harder for the majority of folks with sports interests I would guess … Many folks are super stars at what they do (I am an outstanding marketeer with 20+ technology marketing experience) and would love for someone in the Patriots organization to be reading this article and say – wow – lets give her a shot … PR/ADVERTISING/VIDEO/WEB experience … we can use here … but crossing the chasm from getting “known” from those that don't know you is a pretty big leap of faith … It is a rare, but powerful combination when you are great at what you do and know somebody. Ron's story doesnt suprise me at all … but it is a rare one …

  4. internet sports VP March 26, 2009 at 8:08 am #

    It really depends on your initiative. My original career choice was international business so I started out working in Internet marketing while I was still in college. My goal was to be able to work from home and travel freely so the internet seemed like a good choice. One of the categories that I marketed was sporting goods. It was those skills that I played up to help me land my first job working for the Internet division of a major sports company while I was still in college. That was 15 years ago. Since then, I have met a lot of folks and everyone has a different story. Some were professional athletes who retired from playing and got into marketing or business development. Others got in straight out of college solely based on their knowledge of the game. And yes, a large percentage got in just the way I did and described in the article; with an expertise in a field that filled a necessary job requirement. Many people think of the sports industry as an unrealistic dream job. It's not. It is a complex organization with diversified needs in all fields and I meet people all the time who are just breaking in at all levels of their career. Just be sure to position yourself as the ideal candidate for the job and keep your eyes open for opportunities. Make sure your resume is geared towards the posting and play up any experience that is related to the sport and the job requirements. Make yourself stand out in the cover letter. Set up a search query in monster or another job board that emails you when jobs pop up. That's how I made a change once from one sports job to another. Just because you work in sports one day doesn't mean your career will remain in it. That's your choice. Another idea is to be sure to attend as many events (conferences, seminars, etc) as you can so you can network. I've got a few friends who kept in touch with contacts and got the inside track to an opportunity when it came up. Keep in mind that you can also transition. Perfect opportunities don't always present themselves so work towards your goals by finding projects related to sports that you can use to either play up for future opportunities or network. For example, I've just landed a new job working for an international sports company. I don't know anything about international sports such as soccer, but I played up my experience with sports companies, the Internet, and international business education to land it. So now I finally got a job working from home thought the internet in the international sports industry. No more office, no more desk. Just a laptop and mobile phone. The point is to use your time wisely because you never know what skills you're going to need to get that dream job. Become an expert in your field but I decided to diversify my skills to open my opportunities instead of specializing too much. That suited my style, but not necessary. Either way will work as long as you remain determined. Good luck.

  5. Ranel March 26, 2009 at 8:32 am #

    Great video. Very useful. However, I think for most people looking to enter the industry, this is not the best example, as it was a bit of a serendipitous turn with the uncle and the kid and all that. I got into the industry through a more traditional route and one that would serve a lot of young people well. I majored in Sports Management in school and used that to obtain various internships, and most importantly, network with the people who would help me gain fulltime employment. You do not have to major in SM. The main thing is to intern and network as much as possible. It is an industry built mainly on relationships and who you know. When interning, be creative in what you get out of it. Even if your responsibilities arent great, take the time while you're in the organization to secure informational interviews with the decision makers and keep them as contacts. My first job out of college I got through someone I met my freshman year, someone in the industry. That is my advice.

  6. Patrick March 26, 2009 at 9:05 am #

    Excellent video – while on the topic – you must check out SEME: – happening this weekend in Washington, DC!

  7. Lewis March 26, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    I see where you are coming from, but you can stick with your current field of interest as a student and get a job in the industry. Then after a few years, (once you dominate that industry) you can start applying for jobs in the sports industry that need your level of expertise.

  8. Lewis March 26, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    I think you true in a lot of ways… but you have to know somebody in order to get a job in the first place. You don't just get an interview for a job without knowing someone. Just having a great resume won't get you anywhere in this economy, and even then, you had to know somebody to get the experience to have that great resume.

    You have to hustle in everything you do if you want to get a job in this industry… you can't just sit back and hope that someone hires you. However, if you are excellent in another industry, and you continue to network with those in sports, then your chances of getting a job are much greater. Thanks for your comment.

  9. Jennifer March 26, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    There are so many opportunities to be part of the sports or sports-related industry, both for people just starting out and those who have been working in other industries and want to apply the skills learned over the course of their career to finally profit from their passion for sports, health, nutrition, etc. A franchise opportunity can offer the right person the chance to enter the industry but with the support of a proven brand. There are lots of fitness franchises, and also sports nutrition retailers like Max Muscle Sports Nutrition ( that give people instant access to the industry and athletes (not to mention a nice living).

  10. Jamie Favreau March 26, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    Currently, I am working with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as an intern and I figure these skills transfer to the Non Profit world in sports or to a team. I love the NHL and the Red Wings and it isn't a secret. I know of how to fix a problem site for the team but I haven't actually gone to the team to do so. I have the person's contact name on LI.

    I do believe once you find your direction and networking and getting your name out that eventually things will go the right way. I am passionate about hockey and social media. I realize that things will eventually work out. You just need to work for the job of your dreams because they don't come easy.

  11. 9Undo_It5 April 16, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    I am the only expert in the world on running technique. We all learned subconsciously as a baby to walk and run with the only technique possible. Later on in life I discovered what that technique is and how to improve on it. Basically you can't take even one step forward without FALLING ahead of your foot. You only run because your ground time is off vertical balance and gravity pulls you forward. Run four steps forward and backward. Notice you drop your feet behind to start a forward run and out front to run backward. The jump is straight up to make gravity pull you straight ahead instead of forward and down. Much, much, more. What can you do for me with your sports connections?

  12. H April 16, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    A much more valuable video than hearing Lefton saying nothing we don't know.

  13. Barry Mezey April 29, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    Just so everyone knows I never got my degree as I got a diploma and certifications so all the large firms wouldn't hire me due to this technicality and I figured if I think creatively I could beat them out for major deals, clients and contracts and I am doing that everyday. I am winning and have IMG, Best, WMA, CAA, WMG, and every other major company scratching their heads so they now are learning from me now and trying to keep up with my competitive advantage. But there is one problem? I always think one step ahead of my competition and am personable and so you'll find more athlete's are leaving their large management firms everyday for small boutique ones who are creative and provide personal attention around the clock! That's what I do which is why my clients always say “Jerry Maguire should want to be me!” Also I started out with “0” capital in my company! the latest HBO special where Sharapova takes Matthew Stafford to buy his suit for the NFL draft is a classic example of what I am doing! It's doing stuff outside the traditional sports arena and doing stuff in entertainment with stars like Sharapova since her tennis career is over due to injury! Sharapova's agent at IMG “Max Eisenbud” won't admit it but he visited my companies site to learn from me on this. I am doing deals with a rising tennis junior “Alexus Jones” for the last 5 months like this outside of sports with: Movies, Nickelodeon, and Modeling as well as cross-promotions like lunch boxes, dolls, sports cards and memorabilia all creatively! This is branding so if you're reading this? This is how I'm beating the large management firms. Also I work from home too and I built my firm on the Rosenhaus concept in sports marketing!

  14. Dr David Black July 8, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    Working in the sports industry would be challenging.
    Dr.David Black

  15. Felix Trinidad Boxer December 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

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