We were so excited to have Chuck come speak to us. As a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates Organization, he provided us with insight about the business world of sports. He told us many great stories about working in the sports industry, as well as providing us with information about different internship opportunities with the Pirates! We look forward to working more with him in the future!
#1: Get Involved Early!
When looking for the perfect candidate to join our sales staff, we look for individuals who have the drive to improve their craft and continuously develop new skills. By getting involved with student organizations, part-time jobs, and volunteer opportunities, you show your prospective employer that you are invested in yourself, have the drive to succeed and are always looking for new ways to learn.
Advice: As soon as you step on campus, visit your college/university’s Athletic Department to see where you can work part-time!
#2: Get an Internship!
Take what you learn in the classroom and apply it in a real-world setting! When interviewing recent college graduates, employers look at both the quantity andquality of your internships. Did you receive hands-on training and experience, or were you simply fetching coffee and donuts? Look for an internship that will provide valuable experience that will translate to your post-graduation plans!
In addition to internship hours, “industry hours” or “job shadowing” is strongly encouraged. By spending time in the heart of a sports business organization, you will gain valuable experience that you can draw upon as you interview for full-time positions after graduation. Further, you’ll be able to develop lasting relationships with members of that organization that you can use to help land that coveted job in the sports business!
Advice: Apply for internships early in your college career! As you progress through school, narrow your focus to include only internships that provide hands-on training in the areas you’d like to pursue after you graduate!
#3: Find a Mentor!
Students are often told “it’s not what you know, but who you know” that will land you a job in sports. My advice: it’s critical to have both!
Successful sports business professionals develop meaningful relationships that they can use to seek ongoing advice and feedback. By establishing a network of mentors, you will always have advisors throughout your career to use as resources and references. Mentors will continuously challenge you and be there to guide you through any situation. A mentor can be a professor, coach, supervisor, or an industry professional. Successful people surround themselves with successful people.
Advice: Get a mentor today!
#4 Attend Sports Business Career Fairs!
You have taken the classes, gained the valuable experience and networked your way through school. Now it is time to showcase what you have learned and present yourself to the industry. Many professional sports teams host their own career fairs to identify future employees. This is your opportunity get in front of hiring managers to sell them on why they should choose you to join their staff!
Prior to attending a career fair, it is important that you work with your mentor(s) to prepare your resume. Your resume should highlight the skills you’ve developed through your experiences as an undergraduate. The most relevant experience should be the first thing the hiring managers see when you approach them. Along with your resume, you need to make sure that you have your elevator pitch ready for when you’re asked to provide “your story.” Your elevator pitch should be a brief explanation of the relevant material on your resume, tailored toward the job you’re looking to secure.
Advice: One career fair is not enough! I recommend attending at least three career fairs during your senior year in order to meet as many hiring managers as possible. Once the career fair has ended, be sure to follow up with each hiring manager with an email and hand-written note asking for a follow-up interview!
#5 Establish a Positive & Professional Social Presence!
We are in the age of technology and no matter what career you choose, employers are checking your online presence! Take a look at your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Do they tell the story you want a potential employer to see? If not, it’s time to make some changes!
Utilizing social media – specifically LinkedIn – will help you separate yourself in the interview process. While professional sports organizations are scattered throughout the country, social media has now made it easier than ever to connect directly with hiring managers across the country. Use these tools to your advantage. Be proactive and reach out directly to schedule informational interviews during your junior and senior years!
Advice: Social media can be a powerful tool to help you connect and land interviews with hiring managers across the country. Be sure your social media accounts tell the story you want!
Combining all five of these tips will surely put you in the best position to help you start that successful sports business career you always wanted!