If you want to discover the black hole of job-searching, the place where resumes and cover letters vanish, and the place I call a “dead-end street” for aspiring sports executives, look no further than the HR department.
I’ve heard too many sad stories where students or career-changers blindly send hundreds of resumes and cover letters addressed, “To Whom It May Concern” within the HR department, only to find out later that no one’s concerned.
The reason the HR department is the worst place to go when you’re looking for a job in sports is because HR doesn’t make decisions on who gets hired and who doesn’t. It’s a complete waste of your time — and theirs — to mail out expensive paper that ultimately ends up in File 13 (i.e. the trash can).
Don’t get me wrong, HR is vital to many organizations. They help fill-in-the-blanks of a resume, such as a background check and a few other important details. But smart HR departments only get involved when you’re a candidate in the running, not before.
Where You SHOULD Look for a Job in Sports
The most important person you can contact for a job in sports is the person who heads up the department you want to work in.
For example, if you’re pursuing a sports PR job for the Dallas Cowboys, then Rich Dalrymple, Director of Public Relations is the man that should be in your cross hairs. He calls the shots in his department, including who gets hired.
If you’re targeting a sponsorship sales position with the San Francisco Giants, then Jason Pearl, Vice President of Corporate Sponsorships is who you’ll ultimately need to convince that you’re the right person for the job.
Or, if a ticket sales position for the Boston Red Sox is your goal, then contact Ron Bumgarner, Senior Vice President/Ticketing. You get the idea.
Most Sports Properties Operate Like This
Nearly every department head within every sports organization has the power to hire and fire. However, there are built-in Gatekeepers designed to keep you out.
The Gatekeeper’s job, among others, is to “protect” the Directors, Vice Presidents and Senior Vice Presidents from the hoards of people (just like you) trying to break in. It’s a tough job. And most happen to be very good at it.
However, there’s a powerful and effective way to contact Directors, VPs and SRVPs directly via the Gatekeeper.
In a future blog post I will outline a proven plan that will show you how to build rapport and establish trust with Gatekeepers so they will grant you the opportunity to get your message in front your targeted prospect. Plus I’ll show you how and when is the best time to ask for an interview.
Until then, keep preparing — and expecting — to win.