How To Get Into Sports!
“Dear Pete: I want to work in sports, but I have no experience in the industry and haven’t had any luck through job boards. Do you have any advice?”
I can definitely relate! This is exactly what I went through when I was a student in college wondering how to get into sports. While it’s possible to land a job in sports through a job board, the larger majority of sports jobs are filled behind-the-scenes through personal contacts and networking. In a prior article, I explained why this happens.
The process of breaking into the sports industry is similar to breaking into any competitive industry. In brief, you need to find a way to connect with key decision-makers currently working in the field. That’s how I landed a full-time front-office job with an NBA team when I was only 21 years old.
The sports industry is a tight-knit one where everyone is connected. When you approach people in the field professionally and strategically, you can learn “insider information” about job openings that are not being advertised, and you can stand out from the thousands of other people who want to get into sports as well.
Check out my new book or my online course to learn the comprehensive, step-by-step process that I used to get my dream job with an NBA franchise right out of college. In the meantime, here are 2 powerful tips to help you get into sports:
- Focus. Knowing that you want to work in sports is better than having no direction at all (like many job-seekers), but it’s not good enough. You need to get very clear on what type of job in sports you are looking for. For example, do you want to work in sports marketing, do you want to be a sports agent, do you want to be a scout, do you want to work in sports journalism, do you want to be a coach, do you want to be an athletic trainer, do you want to be a sports photographer, do you want to work in event/game operations, or do you want some other job in sports? Decide which job function interests you the most because this will make it easier for you to identify who you need to connect with, and it will allow you to customize all your marketing materials (i.e. resumes, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, etc.) accordingly. Having said that, the easiest way to break into sports (or any field/industry for that matter) is through a sales position where you are responsible for generating revenue. This is how I got started in the NBA, and it’s often the easiest way in the door because of the large number of salespeople needed in the industry. For example, you can click here to view the current staff directory for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the company that operates the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, Washington Capitals, and the Verizon Center. You’ll see that the majority of the team’s front-office positions are in sales (either some form of ticket sales or sponsorship sales).
- Talk to industry insiders. After you identify the type of sports job you want, then you need to find people currently working in that position and ask for their advice on how you can pursue a similar career path. To do this, you should leverage your existing network (which is MUCH bigger than you probably realize), and you should also look for ways to “join” the industry. You can do this by participating in conferences/events/associations where you can meet people working in sports (ideally, in the job function you are targeting), and you can also participate in online networking through relevant LinkedIn groups and other online communities.
Note: These 2 strategies will help you get your dream job, whether you want to get into sports or any other field/industry.
P.S. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Please “like” and “share” this article and video as well.