This is a guest post by Dave Fogelson
In all likelihood, people aspiring to “work in sports” are over-looking the sporting goods industry, particularly the retail end of the business, as the starting point for a career path. Retail is where people seeking entry-level jobs can find the most opportunities to apply their sports interest and knowledge and acquire invaluable, real world experience.
Landing a job in sports with an Adidas, Nike, Under Armour or Reebok can be as challenging (and frustrating) as finding a position with an amateur or professional sports organization; however, the need for retail sales floor help is ongoing.
The $52 billion sporting goods industry is home to some of the most recognizable and iconic consumer brands and biggest names in retailing. National chains like Dick’s and Sports Authority, regional stores such as Modell’s and Hibbett, specialty retailers in the team sports, golf, running and outdoor segments and many other brick and mortar and on-line outlets need people who either have or can acquire product knowledge and possess a commitment to customer service.
The Least Glamorous Job in Sports is Still Relevant
The retail environment isn’t glamorous and can be down-right difficult. Working retail requires scheduling flexibility and a willingness to pitch-in whenever and wherever situations demand. The compensation is modest.
The challenges you’re likely to encounter every day at retail are best surmounted by taking a broader view and looking at the time and energy you’re spending on the sales floor as a means to a greater end.
Every organization in every industry needs people who can sell. Sporting goods retail associates play an influential role in the space known as “the last three feet of the sale.” In the majority of instances, the investments brands make in product development and marketing are all for naught absent the sales associate creating connections for the product and brand with consumers. Building these connections is the stuff with which attention-getting resumes are built.
Over time, what can this lead to? Possibly moving into a corporate position with the retailer as a buyer, merchandiser or in marketing. If retailing isn’t for you in the long run, brands across the spectrum of sports, fitness and recreational product development and marketing are in need of experienced people who know how their stuff actually gets sold to consumers.
And if your ultimate goal remains to one day work for the Yankees, all of this tangible experience is relevant for any job in sports.
Dave Fogelson is the former head of public relations for adidas USA and Reebok. He also held PR positions with Miller Brewing, Pan-american Sports Network, Sharp Electronics and Octagon. For the past 2-1/2 years, he’s held a retail sales position in athletic footwear and golf for a major sporting goods retail chain.
Looking to land a job in sports? Make sure to download our free Sports Job Guide! If you have any comments, leave them below and please feel free to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.