So you want to begin a career in sports? Well, don’t think you can just take a webinar or a two-week course and have the absolute answer to your dreams and wishes. There are no short cuts to succeeding in the sports business and getting your dream gig. Sure, if your uncle has a friend who owns a team, that could help you skip the line, but that’s not a guarantee that you will be running a team in the future. The sports business is no different than any other business. Unless daddy is buying a team, you have to work hard and earn it to turn a long-term successful career into a reality.
You need to go into the process with a full understanding of the pitfalls, drawbacks and uncertainties that come with your dream job in sports. You should absolutely think through your decision to enter the field and what will most likely transpire if you embark on that path. The business of sports can be a tough, thankless career, so think twice before you jump in. That being said, it can also be very rewarding; so, if you are hell-bent on that direction, then hold on tight – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
So, from someone who jumped in with both feet, here is some advice and my beliefs on the best steps to take if you believe a career in sports is the right fit for you (and I’ll give it to you for free).
1) Get an internship at a team, venue or sports agency. Do this in your junior year and again in your senior year (preferably at different types of organizations). To get an internship, do not just send a resume and expect a call back – it will not happen that way. Go to career fairs; find commonality between you and the person hiring; engage with them on multiple levels and be relentless. Get that internship and get your foot in the door. If you are fortunate enough to have connections and can network yourself into a position, do so, but do not take that good fortune for granted.
2) Once you are in an organization, work your ass off and show your supervisors that you mean business. Some say that it’s luck and a numbers game, but I believe once you are in an organization, it is your opportunity to make it what you will. If you own the responsibilities you are given, hustle and make an impression that you are dedicated, then you will make it hard for the organization not to hire you. Even if you do not get a gig, the impression you leave will be lasting, and opportunities will unfold at a later time.
3) Don’t worry about what you’re getting paid and what perks you are receiving. A job in sports is very different from being a fan of the game. You cannot think of yourself first. You have to think of what you are being charged with, first and foremost. If you think getting a job with a team means you will be having lunch with the players, you are seriously delusional and missing the point.
Entry-level sports jobs do not pay well, are not glamorous, and will cause you to work weekends. You are sacrificing a ton for this type of career, so do not take the opportunity lightly. Do not get caught up in the concept that you are working for a team or in sports. Put your head down, work hard, and be the best employee you can be. Oh, by the way, this same advice probably makes sense for many industries. Good luck and go get em’.