If Matt looks familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve seen him here on SportsNetworker.com as one of our awesome contributing authors.
With more than 19 years in the sports industry and in corporate America, Matt Crevin combines his practical, real world experiences…with his insider sports knowledge and industry connections to help aspiring sports business professionals land their dream job in sports.
As a career search coach and Public Relations veteran, Matt Crevin merged his love of sports and his business acumen and made it a career that began with his “rookie” public relations internship for the San Francisco 49ers in 1991.
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Matt Crevin Discusses How To Get A Job In Sports
During this interview I talk with Matt about:
- How he broke into the sports industry as an unpaid intern with the San Francisco 49ers
- How he built his network in the pre-Linkedin days and how his approach has evolved over the years
- The unfortunate incident that helped set him on the path to his current role as a sports career coach
- What inspired him to write a book focused on helping college students land a job in sports
- Matt also offers up a great tip that everyone looking to work in sports must know!
Trevor Turnbull: Hey everyone its Trevor Turnbull here with SportsNetworker.com and I’m joined via Skype right now by Matt Crevin. How’s it going Matt?
Matt Crevin: It’s going great Trevor. Nice to be with you today.
Good stuff. Matt is the founder of Voice of the Box. Some of you might actually recognize his face, you might have seen some of his videos. He does some great interviews, some really insightful behind-the-scenes interviews with successful sports business professionals, talking to them about their roles and how they’ve paved their path in the industry and helping others do the same thing. Matt I want to talk to you about a few things here today. Number one I want our audience to get to know who you are better but also you have a book coming out. We’ll definitely talk about that here in a second too.
Let’s first of all start out with how did you get into the sports industry. What’s your story?
Yeah thanks Trevor, I appreciate it.
Mine is a very interesting story but also similar to a lot of others. I started out literally out of college in 1991 as an unpaid public relations intern within the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. Good luck, good timing, interesting people, personality skills that I brought to the table and that was really how I broke it. I was, again, an unpaid intern with the 49ers. I couldn’t have been any more excited because the Niners were, at that point, two years removed from a Super Bowl championship, it was still a who’s who of an NFL roster on that squad. To be put in that scenario and to be able to work with the players as a community relations specialist and working with media relations on gameday and everything in between was absolutely fascinating. I was literally, that’s just cliche, living the dream right out of college. That was my break in and it was something that I’ll never forget. My first year with the Niners was Joe Montana’s last year with the Niners. I just came back from a speaking tour and I was just telling the audience that I would have never thought as a seventh grader in 1981 sitting on my parents’ couch in a small town outside of San Francisco while watching Montana Magic evolve that a quick nine years later I would be in the same locker room as him.
So you never know what’s going to happen but that’s how I broke in, with the NFL in a public relations capacity, and just started shaking hands and meeting people not only in the NFL but in other areas of sports. Everyone was converging in at the Niners at that time; media, sports apparel, sports nutrition and science; I started making these connections and at that point gathering business cards and building my pre-LinkedIn gathering of connections. That’s how it all started for me.
So it really has been, as you say, a dream job to be working in the sports industry and a passion of yours. How has that evolved over time now? I know, like you mentioned, this is pre-LinkedIn those days right?
Yeah it gives me a little gut check to say that but it’s true. Al Gore had not invented the Internet yet so I was going out and making those handshakes and gathering cards. Then I worked there full-time for a year, which was fantastic. I was actually getting paid for what I wanted to do.
Then how it evolved, to answer your question Trevor, was literally in 1993 the Niners came to me and said good news/bad news. The good news is you’ve done a great job with us, you’re gaining good traction, you’re working well with everyone – unfortunately the boss’s daughter and there’s going to be a couple head count that are going to be removed, unfortunately you’re one of them. However, we want to keep you as part of our gameday staff and I said fantastic.
Great, it was kind of a catch 22. It was the boss’s daughter; it’s the old scenario. There I was, I was old school mailing out resumes, cover letters coast-to-coast. I had recommendations from the team president to my boss and everyone in-between. Nothing popped. I was at the point where I didn’t have the resource to extend my career search at that point just based on my age. I just didn’t have the wallet, if you will.
It was interesting because I learned how to go through a successful career search. Keep that in mind because that’s kind of what I’m doing now. When I went through that first career search process I went through a lot of how to position yourself as an individual and as a brand, if you will. It really taught me a lot of lessons at a very young age.
So again the Niners offered me to stay on part-time, which was great. My hand or my feet were still involved in the NFL and I’m proud to say I’ve been with the 49ers now for 19 years. Now I’ve also had another career because I’ve had to launch my own career and I got into corporate relations, I got into sales, business developments and I’ve been really lucky to represent and to work with such companies as Microsoft and FedEx over the past 19 years. Which has been wonderful for me, not for the sake of hey I’ve worked at these companies, but what it’s taught me. Who I’ve met, what I’ve learned from them along the way.
About three years ago my two careers kind of intersected. I know this is a really long answer but it gives kind of a backdrop of how I got started and how I continue to follow my passion. About three years ago I asked permission from the 49ers that I want to bring my HandiCam and I want to bring it to the sidelines and I want to start interviewing people that have jobs like me. Kind of behind-the-scenes in the NFL. They said go ahead, stay out of the way. I said OK, I’ll do that. I started interviewing radio and TV announcers, radio and TV producers, the chain gang, the ball boys, the equipment crew, the grounds crew. Everyone that kind of had behind-the-curtain roles in the NFL. I started asking them how did you get your job, what does it take to be good at your job? Then a series of lightbulbs went off and to short story this for you I said I need to replicate this model out of all of the connections that I’ve made, not just football. The four major sports of course, but them amateur sports, university-level sports, and then all of the private enterprise that’s out there. Sports marketing, sports apparel, sports nutrition and science, on and on and on. Everywhere I was traveling with my corporate job I was getting interviews, bringing content, made a free Web site, Voice of the Box, that’s how it started.
Then the last lightbulb went off; I was getting more and more feedback and people say, “I love that interview that you did with that woman from Gatorade. I want to do something like that, how can you help me.” I said wow, someone is asking me for help. I thought about it and I resigned my role from FedEx right there and then on the spot, built me coaching model out and said this is the perfect marriage. I know there’s no such thing but this is the perfect marriage. Now I’ve got the qualifications. I’ve got 18 years of real-world relevant, fresh and unique ideas and content and I can match that with me 19 years of sports industry connections, experience and knowledge and I can become a career coach and help the next generation to put a plan in place on how to break in. That was a long answer, but that’s how Voice of the Box started.
No it’s great, it’s very complete. As you mentioned you have the real world experience of actually having gone through and done all of these roles with the San Francisco 49ers but then you’ve also kind of taken a page out of our book in the same way that we produce our content in going out and interviewing people that have done a number of different roles and learning from them. Instead of trying to assume what it’s like to be a ticket sales manager for a sports team you go out and you talk to somebody about it. It really helps establish that credibility and expertise in a certain area.
So with Voice of the Box then, and this is slowly evolving towards the point where I wanted to talk to you about the book because you have all of this experience and you’ve done all of these interviews. Tell us about this book and what the inspiration was behind it. You kind of already eluded to that but how did the whole thing kind of evolve? Did you write it over the last five years or is this something that you’ve put together in the last few months?
Yeah great question Trevor. It was a little germ of an idea and it got shelved but really the more I kept going out, and I don’t know if I mentioned but, I do a lot of guest lectures at university campuses across the US. It’s a tremendous amount of fun and I deliver a lot of content to these students.
It just made sense – from all of the people that I’ve met in the sports industry and matching that with, again, the corporate knowledge that I have on how to successfully launch a career search, because it is a very detailed process, but it really can be managed in a very simplified four-step way. I said I want to document this and so that was the idea and as much as I was traveling at that point, I was bringing my laptop and I was hammering away on these flights, wrote the outline. I literally stared this about 18 months ago, so it wasn’t five years ago to your thought although it probably seems like it in my brain, but it’s been a whirlwind 18 months but I wanted to do it and I wanted to do it the right way and not just haphazardly put a book out just for the sake of putting a book out.
This book is just my way, I know it sounds all high and mighty, it’s a way of giving back, but it’s a way of sharing the knowledge that I wish that I had when I was in these kid’s, meaning the college students of today, spot. Now they’ve got someone like me. I’m not the only resource for people, I’m a very good resource for people but I’m not the only one. So I really help and I work with career services and I work with faculty directly. This book was a culmination of bringing everything together and putting it out there for the next generation of sports industry hopefuls. My thought was, going into this, if someone can take one idea out of my book, that to me is success. Hopefully more than one good idea, but if they can take at least one that was the idea behind the book. Get in the Game is now out and we’re getting ready and we’re really closed to having it launch. It’s pretty exciting.
Nice. And, as we were discussing before we hopped on this call, it’s one of our mandates to try and provide the best content possible to help out our audience. After seeing all of the videos that you’ve done, and many of them that we’ve actually posted on our site, I have no doubt it’s going to be great content. I’m looking forward to reading this book.
For everybody that’s watching this video stay tuned because we’ll definitely let you know about how you can get a copy of this book. We might even run some contests, we might even have a portion of time where this book is available for free. Stay tuned on that, take a look on the page somewhere here, you might see something that eludes to that fact.
Matt let me leave it with this here. There’s obviously a lot of tips in your book and numerous things that we could talk about for hours here but if you were to pull out one nugget, one piece of advice that you would give people that might be that spark that starts them down the path what would you say that one tip would be?
Wow. Trevor can you give me anymore of a loaded question.
Maybe don’t give me the best one. Let’s save the best ones for the book, let people read the book. How about let’s talk about one tip that you would give.
Yeah, I’m just teasing you. It’s a legitimate question.
You’re right there are so many tips and it’s a matter of what works within someones personal DNA, if you will. Not to make it scientific. To that tone the sports industry, with all due respect to those that do work in science labs, this is not splitting atoms here. The sports industry is a people business. I’ve been in it for 19 years, that is a skill, being authentic. You hear that phrase but being yourself. I see so many people trying to hard during and informational interview process or a traditional interview process to be so scripted and so rehearsed and so robotic that they’re losing sight of the question this person is really asking. Be yourself, relax, take a big deep breath. Don’t think so hard about the absolute perfect answer to the question. Answer the question from your gut, even if you don’t think it’s going to hit they’ll see that you’re real. That’s what people want – people want to be around people that are authentic and real.
The other thing I can kind of leave with, if you will, and there’s obviously a lot more in the book as you mentioned is communication. I go into detail about easy and simplified ways to communicate with people. We live in such a technical space right now that everyone is kind of hiding behind their keyboard but you know what you have to be solid when you’re face-to-face. I go into detail about the four simple steps of a kind of guidelines and rules to go by because the art of communication is a lost art. That will be the last thing that I share with you know as a little bit of a nugget. What are some four easy steps to keep in mind as you go out and meet people, in informational meetings or traditional interviews, to kind of have in mind. The four Cs of communication is another little thing that I get into.
Nice. That’s something to look forward too everybody if you go check out this book. Part of the challenge in landing that job is getting your foot in the door but then once you do what do you actually going to say, how do you present yourself.
That’s the key.
There you go. I’m really looking forward to this Matt, we’ll obviously be keeping in touch here and talk about how we can help you with the launch and get this book into the hands of our audience as well.
In the meantime let people know how they can connect with you online. LinkedIn, Twitter, that type of thing.
Yeah, I’ll list it all out.
First of all the Web site is the best spot because all of my connections are there in terms of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The Web site, one more time, it’s all one word but I’ll say it slowly: Voice of the Box.
Just so you know, maybe out of curiosity, some people are saying what is Voice of the Box, what’s that all about? It’s kind of a little play on words. The last 13 of the 19 years that I’ve been associated with the 49ers I do the public address announcing. I’m just kind of a faceless, nameless guy but I’m up in the press box. I’m the voice, hence voice of the box. Kind of a little cheeky name.
If you go to voiceofthebox.co, that’s not a misspelling and I’m not mispronouncing it, voiceofthebox.co. You’ll get to my Web site, you can follow me on Twitter, my Facebook page is there, LinkedIn is there, everything is there. I think that’s the best place to go to get all of my information and connect with me. I’ve got a tab on the page about the book, I’ve got a tab on the page about my radio program, everything is there, voiceofthebox.co.
Perfect. We’ll link all of that up so that everyone watching this video can find Matt and follow him easily. Matt thanks very much for doing this and as I said we’ll be in touch here and we’ll look for ways that we can help you get this into the hands of our audience and best of luck as this book launches. I’m sure it will be great.
Yeah I appreciate it Trevor. It’s been great talking with you. Appreciate the help.
Alright, thanks a lot.
To connect with Matt online visit:
What are your challenges in landing your dream job in the sports industry? Let us know in the comments below or send us a tweet to @sportsnetworker
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