Seven Tips to Prepare for the January Sports Job Push

tips for sports jobs search

The New Year brings many people on the hunt for sports jobs, stick out from the competition by following our advice

Right after ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ has concluded, we head directly into my favorite season of the year – job search season.

Many job seekers take the months of November and December off, enjoying their eggnog induced malaise and basking in the spirit of holiday shopping. For others, the New Year provides motivation to start fresh and vanquish the demons of their current dead end job.

All of this leads up to one undeniable fact – there is an abundance of sports job seekers that are entering the market come January and February.

Seven Tips to Prepare for the January Sports Job Push #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

Some of you are probably reading this with fear, worried about the expansive competition in the job marketplace and doubting your ability to stand out – nonsense!

Employers have gone through the same waiting period that you have, so their job openings are backed up and ready to spill over (…onto WorkInSports.com).

Think about it, employers don’t want to hire someone right in the midst of the holiday season, because it is much harder to integrate someone into the natural workflow of the business. People are on vacation, schedules are altered and parties are planned – they don’t call it ‘the most normal time of the year’.

The increase in competition is spread out over more job openings, meaning your chances are just as good as ever, so get out there and win one!

To help you get ready for the January sports job push here are seven tips to get you primed and ready.

(It’s optional, but we suggest playing some Rocky music or something to inspire you in the background as you read this)

1: Update Your Social Media Profiles

The first thing any hiring manager does after they’ve determined you have the skills they are looking for, is to check your online accounts to learn more about who you are.

Preparing for a new job search? Step 1 update your social media profiles Click To Tweet

Make sure your:

  • LinkedIn account is up-to-date and professional
  • The tone of your Twitter timeline is respectfully communicated
  • Facebook page isn’t inundated with pictures of you doing ice shots off of Santa’s reindeer

    sports jobs in social media on the rise

    It may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many people don’t update their social media profiles before their job search begins

You’ll be disqualified for jobs without even knowing it if you don’t take this simple step.

2:   Contact All Of Your References

For some reason I’ve always forgotten this crucial step in my personal interview prep. I’d focus so much on what I was going to say during an interview that I was never prepared for the ‘can you provide us with references?’ question.

The last thing you want to do is be scrambling for phone numbers and email addresses of people you haven’t talked to in a few years.

Reach out to anyone you want to have as a reference, let them know you are going to be looking for a new sports career in the coming year, wanted to make sure they were still comfortable being a reference and if they have a preferred method of contact.

This one simple step with relinquish hours of anxiety when the references question pops up.

Preparing for a new job search? Step 2 contact your references in advance Click To Tweet

3:  Explore Your Weaknesses

Beginning today, start reading job descriptions for the type of sports jobs you want to apply for and learn what skills are required, where your strengths are and better yet, where your weaknesses are.

Let’s say you wanted to work in sports broadcasting and the majority of the jobs that pique your interest require knowledge of Final Cut Pro editing system, but you only know Avid. Now’s the time to take an online course and start learning Final Cut Pro!

You may not have time to completely master a new skill before January, but you can start and that shows initiative.

Now you can put that skill on your resume, and in the interview process have the opportunity to say something like: “I noticed many jobs require knowledge of Final Cut Pro and while I know Avid very well, I took it upon myself to start learning Final Cut Pro last month.”

That’s the kind of person I want to hire, someone who is proactive.

Preparing for a new job search? Step 3 study your weaknesses and make a plan to overcome them Click To Tweet

4: Prime Your Network

DO NOT put out a blast on social media: “I’m looking for work, got any leads for an experienced (insert you) who loves working with people?”

I can’t tell you how many times I see this and it makes me cringe every time.

sports jobs search tips to get ahead

Follow our tips to stand out from the pack if you’re serious about landing your dream sports job

You have just:

  1. Made people feel bad for you, rather than inspired to help you
  2. Created this impersonal barrier between you and your network
  3. Seemed desperate
  4. Put a permanent record out there that you are job searching

Instead, try thinking about who in your network could be useful in your job search and reach out to them personally.

No form letters, no blasts, an actual human conversation.  Ask for advice, not just leads. Explain a bit of your recent story, so they know where you are in your career.

By using a personal touch you make it clear to them – I could use your help, you’re important to me and I value your time and opinion. That works better than any social media blast.

Preparing for a new job search? Step 4 Prime Your Network! Click To Tweet

5: Choose How You Will Search For Sports Jobs

There are two basic techniques for job searching of any kind – shotgun or strategic.

The shotgun technique means that you apply for anything and everything loosely within your area of expertise. If you plan on using this technique, build a spreadsheet that has the all the pertinent information of your applications or your search can get out of control very easily. If you aren’t organized, when you get a callback you can’t even remember the important skills of that particular job.

Your spreadsheet should include – business, job title, date applied, how applied, primary skills needed, basic business information (what they do), your last communication with them and main point of contact.

Have this spreadsheet open on your laptop every day so you can reference it easily if someone calls you out of the blue.

Preparing for a new job search? Step 5 determine your approach Click To Tweet

The strategic technique means you focus in deep on a few jobs that really seem to fit you.

sports jobs search tips

Entering the job market can be a daunting task, so get organized

Now the emphasis is on research:

  • Make sure you know each of these jobs and their requirements inside and out.
  • Find out if you know anyone, even loosely, at the company and start networking with them
  • Call trusted friends to see if they know anyone at the company
  • Understand the history of the company, how they make money and the latest news on them
  • Dig deep into anything you think can make you appear uniquely qualified and special enough to be hired for their opening

I prefer the strategic technique, but I know many that have used the shotgun technique with success.

6: Know Who You Are Online

When hiring managers and recruiters research you online they generally look at the page one results of Google searches. So take a look, how do you appear online?

When I search my name on the first page I find a steroid dealer who was busted in Texas. Yikes!

I have known this for years and have actually made a joke out of it with previous recruiters, blunting the force of their search by saying, “if you check me out online, just know I am not the steroid dealer from Texas.”

This usually leads itself to a funny interchange and a nice opportunity to show my personality.

If you have something bad that comes up on the first page of results, here’s another suggestion – start guest writing on popular sites. When you post a guest article, your name and picture gets out there and if the site is reputable you can often get to the first page of results for your name pretty quickly.

If nothing else you can include a link on your resume to your guest articles and any recruiter or hiring manager can see who you are, and who you are not.

Preparing for a new job search? Step 7 Get Ready for the Negative Click To Tweet

7: Prepare for the Negative

Most job interviews revolve around how you handle the negatives aspects of your career or experiences. If you make it to the interview phase, the employer has already determined you have the skills to do the job or else they wouldn’t waste their time bringing you in.

Preparing for a new job search? Step 1 update your social media profiles Click To Tweet

Now, like a boxer who finds your weakness and exploits it, hiring managers want to hammer into the soft spots of your body of work.

Are you prepared to answer questions like:

finding sports jobs

If you’re prepared and pay attention to the details, a sports job could be in your future

  • Why you were laid-off/fired from your last job?
  • Why you haven’t gained more experience at this point of your career?
  • Why should I hire you vs. someone else?
  • Why your last boss said you were difficult to work with?
  • Why you have a police record?

Prepare for these questions because they will come, especially if you have something glaring on your history, like a large gap in employment or a short stay at a certain company.

And focus on your body language as you answer, hiring managers are trained to notice if you are squeamish or seem to lack confidence answering a certain style of questioning.

Final Thought:

There is good reason to be excited about the New Year and the fresh opportunities that abound for sports jobs.

The majority of your competition isn’t taking the extra steps outlined in these tips, when you do you’ll be  one step ahead of the pack.

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the sports media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently, Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, do it.

And if you want to know where our privacy policy is before you submit your comments below, it's right here.

Comments

  1. stephen todd says:

    Would like to coach and talent spot for soccer coached since 2003 safeguarded and c.r.b checked would like to earn and work towards degree (with age 55) would like to do it soon!”

  2. Kevin Wilson says:

    Thank you Brian for this article. I plan to really focus on #4 Prime Your Network, I will write down a few keys individuals to call over the phone and hope their advice can lead to a new job in sports for 2016. I’m hoping to make a mid-level career change back into sports, so my network will be key to doing that. Also, do you know in more entry-level or mid-level jobs in sports open up in Jan. & Feb.? Thanks again!!

    • Good luck Kevin – we have thousands of jobs on our site, and I’ll tell you from watching the data stream it does seem more jobs begin popping up in Jan/Feb. – Keep searchings, I’m sure we have what you are looking for! -Brian

  3. Stacey Dedering says:

    Hi Brian,

    I’ve been enjoying reading your posts. I am a big sports fan – mostly of the big 3 major sports (MLB, NBA and the NFL.) I have a passion for sports. I’m constantly pondering the tag line on this website, “Make your passion your career. Work in Sports.” I’ve felt this over the years, signed up on the website to find a sports job, haven’t found one and have fallen back into the rut of my current career in Human Resources. I think this is the year for me. I am truly ready to make a complete career change – into the sports industry. I have a BS in Business Management and am considering going for my MBA in Sports Management. I’m a woman, almost 50. Am I crazy to try to enter the sports industry now? Is an MBA necessary? I live in the Bay Area (San Jose.) Thoughts? Any and all advice is appreciated. Thanks.

  4. Hi Brian,

    Do you have any advice for someone interested in working live sports video production?
    I’m most curious about what the best way is to try and get started in that field.

    Thank you for all of the great articles!

    Brian

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