Why You Should Forget About Your Dream Sports Job (for now)

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You probably aren’t going to love this career advice – but even if it may seem painful, it will definitely be helpful:


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Video Transcript for “Why You Should Forget About Your Dream Sports Job (For Now)”

Brian Clapp, WorkinSports.com Director of Content: Let’s imagine for a second that you have just graduated and are looking to break into sports… or you are in a dead end job and you want to transition to a sports career.

I want you to take that dream job you have in mind, the one where you are the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox, and I want you to put it away…far, far away.

Dissapointed? We’re already advising you to give up on your dreams – what a sham!

dream job start small

Even if you want to be a sports anchor someday, you’ll probably start out as a production assistant…and that is OK! (Photo Courtesy: ESPN MediaZone)

Slow down. You aren’t giving up on the dream, matter of fact you need to hold on to it tight, because in the initial stages of your career you are going to be nowhere close to it. Most people who find great success in sports business started out ridiculously small, oftentimes volunteering or interning for little or no pay.

In studying baseball general managers career paths, it’s amazing how many started in the business world, but as they transitioned to sports had to start over again in some unpaid scouting/video analyst role.

No matter what you want to do eventually you have a path to climb to get there. Don’t let the dream cloud your vision for the beginning.

If you want to be a sports anchor, you may need to start as a cameraman or production assistant first. If you be the general manager of a sports radio station, you may begin in sales, if you want to work as a sports marketing executive you may start out as a low level social media coordinator.

The point is, don’t let your dream job make you too picky or fill you up with too many false expectations – get started and then craft your way to the top.

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. Hi Brian – Great article, I’m an older guy (49) and so fit the bill of now, as an empty-nester, trying to get into a sports career I’ve put off. So it was good advice, I’m figuring out the building blocks that can get me up the ladder at an older age. Not quite starting from scratch (I’m a part-time sportswriter in addition to my business career) but still have never had a go at it full-time. Thanks – Tom

  2. Rob Layton says:

    In my case i am trying to get that first job as a sportscaster and then build my way up.

  3. Chuck Ross says:

    Well, that’s all very sweet. This is one of the few industries where I’ve heard the word ‘intern’ consistently used.

    If you want to be an electrician, a carpenter, truck driver, metal tech.’, etc, the more familiar word is, apprentice, and you get paid well to negotiate that apprenticeship.

    Let’s add to that the annoying and bothersome trend in broadcasting, and social media, which is the sideline, so-called authority known as the Barbie-sportscaster.

    How the heck did that happen, and I’m supposed to take them seriously?!

    They’re so ubiquitous that I think they’re being cloned. Knowledge of the sport involved is not a pre-requisite.

    Personally, I played organized ‘ball from the age of 7, right-up through high school. Then, I started surfing, which is what I’ve been doing ever since; so, I know a little about the sports venue.

    And I’m at least semi-literate, but I’ve been ignored often enough that I rarely even try to secure any sports positions including production, which I’m pretty good at because I really believe a person should actually have to do some – physical work; Barbie need not apply.

    Blogs and websites really don’t qualify, either.

    Try dropping into an overhead right, late take-off, at low tide, reef or beach-break, on a ‘blog.

    Try steeping into the ‘box to face a wicked side-arm pitcher who has you ready to bail out of said box before he even releases his salacious curve’.

    Or, how about angling across the middle’ on a third-and-five, when you know darn well the outside’ and/or center linebacker is about to tattoo you right across your chest as soon as you touch the ball; maybe even a bit before.

    Did your website prep’ you for any of that?

    Media, today’s ‘the land of the wuss’bag.’

    Thanks for listening.

    • Chuck – I’ll be honest with you, I listened, I read, I even accepted your comment onto our board because I don’t discriminate – but this is a comment full of cliche excuses. So you have to know what it feels like to ‘angle across the middle on third and 5’ to work in sports…no you don’t. You just don’t. Focusing on “barbie” sportscasters – trust me as someone who has worked in the sports media for almost two decades there are just as many good looking dudes without anything in their head on the air as there are women…but women are such an easy target, right? There are many incredible female reporters, talented, educated, experience and capable even if they haven’t “dropped into an overhead right”. Interns exist in almost every industry, so I wouldn’t get too hung up on that. Although I do appreciate you calling my video “sweet”. – All the best Chuck, I hope things work out for you, but I’d abandon the excuses they aren’t helping you. – Brian

  4. Hi Brian,
    I am an freehadn artist / Graphic Designer just relocated to the Las Vegas area trying to find something in my field or the sports field. Don’t know if you have any considerations for me. Anything would be helpful.

  5. Lashun Watkins says:

    Brian,

    I read your article and I agree, you are probably going to have to start at the bottom. I attend the NFL combine a couple of years ago and talked to some head scouts that are getting paid pretty well right now and they all said the same thing, you will probably have to start in the video room or scouting (which is what I would like to do anyway) I do not see a lot of intern positions for scouting in football or basketball and if there are, most want you to have some college coaching or playing experience. What advice would you give me, someone who is working on their Masters in Sports Management right now and have taken a course in basketball and football scouting but just can’t break into the field, even for internships? My background is an analyst for the military and government.

    • Lashun thanks for reading and writing in – my take is search for any jobs or any opportunities with a team in operations of any sort. Just get in. Check out the NBADL or college football programs (big and small) you just need to start getting some team o[s stuff on your resume and build up. Best of luck – Brian

  6. Kelly Wilson says:

    Hi Brian, how would you suggest an aspiring sports broadcaster to gain experience as a production assistant with little to no experience with video editing and working with cameras?

    • I don’t mean this to sound sarcastic – but I’d start out by getting experience video editing, camera work and learning other principles of television production. You can learn these skills in avenues outside of going back to school – there are online programs, you tube videos, books at the library etc.You can’t be a sports broadcasters without these skills, especially since reporters and anchors in small markets often act as one person army’s who shoot, edit, write, produce and star on camera. – Brian

  7. Hey Brian I have a question, I am seeking to do something with public relations/promotion for a sports organization, but I don’t have that much experience. I will be graduating college in one year. I absolutely know that it is best to start off in the beginning and work my way on up. Do you believe there are good entry level position jobs in the sports organization ?

    • Foday – I do believe there are good entry level jobs in PR and promotions with sports organization – check out our site we have many opportunities…but between now and then, get some experience! – Brian

  8. Hi Brian, where would you recommend for me to start building my way up to sports statistician? I’m a college student

    • Intern with local sports teams, take statistics, economics and analytics classes, shadow or intern with the sports information director at your school, and consider taking one of the analytics courses offered by Sports Management Worldwide – they have online classes in analytics and are industry connected. -Brian

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