The other day someone told me, “You can’t teach people how to break into sports.” And went on to say, “The idea of following a step-by-step plan to land a job in sports is ridiculous.” Well, a better definition of “ridiculous” is this: Spend thousands of dollars on a college degree, let’s say Sport Management, and not have a game plan for landing that elusive first job in sports.
If that’s you, you’re not alone. And it’s not your fault. Colleges are in the business to take your money and teach you about the business of sport — not necessarily how to get hired.
Breaking Into Sports: Game Plan
The SportsBusiness Journal says there are approximately 28,000 students currently enrolled in a Sport Management-type program in the United States. Not to mention all the other students and career-changers that want to work in sports. As a result, the demand for sports jobs is high and the opportunities are limited. Simply put, the competition is fierce!
To achieve any kind of hard-to-reach goal — like breaking into sports — you better have a plan. Especially in this job market! There’s an old axiom that goes like this: “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Think about this: If you’re able plan to get into college (i.e. pick a school, take test-prep courses, select a major, etc.), then why can’t you plan to get out of school and into a job of your dreams? Well, you can. And you should. With that said, here’s another axiom to live by: “Plan your work. And work your plan.”
To win in the NFL, coaches must focus on three phases of the game: Offense, Defense and Special Teams. In order to win a job in the sports business industry, you need to focus on three phases as well. But instead of Xs and Os, the three phases you should focus on are Preparation, Execution and Follow-through. These areas of concentration outline the best game plan for achieving a successful career launch in sports.
My book, How to Land Your First Job in Sports: 7 Simple Steps, is divided it into those three phases. Preparation shows you how get ready to take the 7 Simple Steps. Execution is actually taking those 7 Simple Steps. And Follow-through covers the period after the 7 Simple Steps have been completed and you land your first job in sports.
The success of your Execution and Follow-through will be directly tied to your Preparation. The more time and focus you put into preparing, the more confidence and success you will have executing the 7 Simple Steps and following through to the end where you accept a full-time job offer in sports.
I’m not suggesting that my 7-step plan is the only way to break into #Sportsbiz. Just like there are many ways to win a Super Bowl, there are many ways to win a job in sports. What I am suggesting is this: you need a plan. And if you don’t have any sports experience, or industry contacts — and are literally starting from scratch — How to Land outlines the perfect plan for you!
There’s one more factor you cannot ignore, and that’s luck. Yes, luck does play a role in launching a sports career. But there’s good news. Fortunately, there’s a way to raise the odds of having Lady Luck on your side. And it’s available to everyone.
Jimmy Johnson, the two-time Super Bowl winning coach for the Dallas Cowboys had the answer when he said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” So plan on being lucky. You’re going to work hard enough to earn it.
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