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3 Ways Industry Experience Can Launch Your Sports Career

Before we jump into the three ways industry experience can help launch your sports career, it’s a good idea to first understand why employers want you to have industry experience.

Employers don’t want to spend the time, the money, or the energy to train you for certain aspects of the job. Some things just need to be learned in a real-world environment, not on the employer’s dime.

Employers also recognize that if you’ve been able to gain experience through an internship, or a part-time job, or even volunteering, this shows solid evidence that you’re willing to take action, a critical trait that employers love.

Your experience shows proof to employers that you’re a go-getter and that you’re truly passionate about your sports career. Employers also understand human nature: If you’re action-oriented before you have the job, the odds of you becoming an action-taking employee are very good.

The reverse is also true. If you can’t demonstrate on your resume that you’re action-oriented, then employers will perceive you as unmotivated, or just not that serious about your sports career.

Below are three ways sports industry experience can help launch your sports career:

1. Networking

Sports industry experience, even in a voluntary environment, gives you an excellent opportunity to network—directly—with employers. This type of networking is far more effective than online social networking, or even live networking events where everyone is trading business cards.

Working directly with sports executives and/or sports sponsors will put you in prime position to make a name for yourself and establish a good, hardworking reputation with a variety of prospective employers.

2. Test Drive Different Jobs

Gaining industry experience gives you the opportunity to try out different types of jobs in a variety of business segments. This is where you can learn a lot about yourself.

You might realize after working as an intern for your favorite Major League Baseball team, that going to games and working 15-hour days isn’t exactly as wonderful as you thought it was.

On the other hand, an internship with your favorite sneaker manufacturer might help you discover that selling something you love—during regular work hours, no less—is the type of career you could become passionate about.

Self-discovery is key because this will help you narrow your career focus and enable you to determine exactly where you want to go.

3. Build Your Portfolio

Gaining sports industry experience also allows you the opportunity to build a professional portfolio. Your portfolio may be the most important marketing tool you’ll create during this phase of your career launch.

Most students or career-changers (i.e. your competitors), won’t have a portfolio. That’s good news. You, on the other hand, will have one because in a a future blog post I’m going to show you a simple way to make one, regardless of the job you’re after.

I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to have a portfolio. Don’t let the word “portfolio” throw you off. It’s just a simple collection of photos and testimonials that highlight your experiences and your talent. However, when done right, it can be the most powerful and influential weapon you can bring to the interview.

Photo: by Chris McKinney

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4 Responses to 3 Ways Industry Experience Can Launch Your Sports Career

  1. JamieFavreau April 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Good advice. I work part time at the arena as an usher and though it isn’t glamourous or professional it is a networking type of job. I interact with the season ticket holders, I know what works and what doesn’t and I am the human side behind the CRM data they are obtaining. Plus, internally as a culture I know what is wrong and how to better fix it. So I would hope if the right person listened to what I have to say I could move up in the organization.

  2. ChrisMcKinney April 17, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Jamie – thanks for the nice comment.

    I think you would be wise to start blogging about “what works and what doesn’t.” Especially if you know how to “fix” things.

    The blog would give you a platform. It would also give you time to think through your ideas and lay them out in a way that would benefit those who read it (i.e. the right person).

    Start by figuring out who the right person — or people — are.

    Then create a blog that speaks to them.

    Send me a link when you get it going!


  3. JamieFavreau April 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    @ChrisMcKinney Thanks. I am creating an executive summary and taking it to the top. I have a meeting with the Senior Vice President of Marketing and am going to be presenting it to him.

  4. ChrisMcKinney April 17, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    @JamieFavreau Love it. Let me know how it goes.

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