How to Handle Coronavirus on Your Resume and Cover Letter - Work In Sports podcast

By Brian Clapp | November 23, 2020

Hey everybody - I’m Brian Clapp VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkInSports.com and this is the Work In Sports podcast.

Show note -- as you likely suspected, there will not be a show on Wednesday. My game plan for this week is to work a full day today, half-day tomorrow, bake pies all day Wednesday, eat pies all day Thursday, and then sleep all day Friday. 

For those of you wondering -- yes, I am the chef in our house - that is actually one of my other passions. I’m like an onion with multiple layers, in addition to sports fanaticism and podcast hosting, I am also an organic gardener who really really likes to cook. 

So yes, lots of pies, lots of food, lots of cooking in the next few days… no new episode on Wednesday.

 


 

Alright - let’s get to the stat line!

Three data points to help you understand what’s happening in the sports industry, and three cool active jobs on our job board at WorkInSports.com.

#1 -- 17,011 active jobs currently on WorkInSports.com - the leading job board for the sports industry. That’s down about 2% from last week, but that is a minor dip considering it’s the holiday season. Did I mention I’m making pies?

#2 -- 1,526 new jobs added this week -- quick scan, seeing a lot of lifestyle brands that are hiring right now, Adidas, Nike, new balance, Skechers -- makes sense right? Big time of year for product companies. I think my favorite pie is Pecan Pie. 

#3 -- An average of 218 jobs added to our site every damn day of the last week. I’ll also be making a classic pumpkin pie and a chai spiced apple pie with bourbon whipped cream. See if I can get the kids a little tipsy. I’m kidding!  

Do you have a favorite pie?

Before I get into my three favorite jobs of the week -- I just mentioned all the reasons a membership to WorkInSPorts.com makes sense -- 17000 jobs, over 200 added each day etc etc… let me add one more. Our Black Friday deal! You can get a three-week membership for just $5 -- that’s our best discount of the year. 83% off the regular cost.

Head to https://www.workinsports.com/promo/blackfriday.asp

Ok, three amazing, cool, incredible new sports internships for this week -- aha, you thought I was going to say jobs. No, this week, I’m going to focus on some internships because this is the time of year you should be prepping for your spring internships. 

Internship #1 -  Amateur Scouting intern with the Tampa Bay Rays -- I get asked all the time, how do I become a scout, well, often a lot of scouts are retired players or former lower-level coaches. In lieu of that -- how about an internship in Amateur Scouting with one of the best in Major League Baseball the Rays? Yeah, I thought that might excite you.

Internship #2 - TV Broadcast Intern for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters -- which if you didn’t already know is a collegiate summer league baseball team. Again, I get asked a lot about how to get play-by-play broadcasting experience -- well, in this internship you’ll be the play-by-play voice for 36 home games on the Northwoods league TV network. That is the experience you need if you dream of working in play by play.

And internship #3 -- I always talk about your high-/evel strategy for internships should be - complete at least two during your college career, hopefully, more, and make one at a big company with high name recognition, and one at a smaller company where you’ll be forced to do more. Well, here’s one on the big-name side  - Turner Sports is hiring an intern who will  intern will play a vital role in assisting the HBO show “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” 

  • Research and develop stories 
  • Avid work; logging and screening 
  • Assist with local shoots (content, equipment, etc) 
  • Complete tasks on a deadline for time-sensitive material 
  • Conduct independent research to pitch potential stories 
  • Contact reporters, media outlets, and sports teams for information 

If you have a hankering for sports journalism -- this is the internship for you.

And that is the stat line…

Ok, jumping into today’s question from Adam in Chicago…

“Hey Brian, I’m a college senior, who like so many others had an internship lined up for last Spring, and another one lined up for this fall… that both got canceled due to coronavirus. I’m starting to have a panic attack that I don’t have the experience necessary to get hired once I graduate this spring. I’m wondering if you have any advice for what I can do, and also, do you think I should put on my resume that I had an internship with company X which was canceled due to coronavirus? Would that help explain my lack of experience?”

Adam, I’ve received this question from all over the internet in the past few weeks, and it’s a really good question I’ve been putting some thought into.

First off, not that you need my empathy, but you’ve got it. This is a horrible situation you and many others are in. 

My oldest daughter is going to miss her entire 8th-grade year, which is supposed to be the king of the school year. And then she’s going to start high school, having not been around ANYONE for a year. I hurt for her...and then I think of college kids - you are missing out on one of life’s great pleasures -- to be young, unadorned, free to live, and party, and set the stage for your career and life. And party. Did I mention party?

This really sucks for you. I am sorry. 

So let’s get down the advice journey first and then travel into how you should handle this on your materials. 

First off, everyone out there in hiring is like me, they feel empathy for your situation and understand. No one is going to see a gap on your resume and think “huh, wonder what happened there?”

They know. And they understand.

That said, that doesn’t mean you are on vacation. Put yourself in the shoes of an employer, they know they understand, but they are still getting resumes from some college students who have found a way. 

They are doing virtual internships, they are taking additional courses, they are learning revenue optimizations skills, and mastered Final Cut Pro. 

They see you and your resume and say “Hey, I get it times are tough” and then they see your competitor and think -- “yeah, but they figured out a way...I want them.”

Sympathy only goes so far. UIt doesn’t get your hired, it gets you a nicer rejection letter.

You have to get creative. 

And this crazy chaotic, upside-down world needs to become part of your story -- what did you accomplish despite all the challenges? What did you force yourself to learn and adapt to? What extra knowledge did you gain? 

So I’m going to get a little creative here -- what about instead of seeking sympathy for experiences lost, and listing what you missed out on, on your resume or cover letter, turn this story into something.

As a hiring manager, I don’t want to read someone’s cover letter that is chock full of excuses, no matter how valid they are -- maybe the story you tell is that you were faced with challenges and canceled internships -- and this is what you did instead. 

Tell me a story of how you overcame, how you progressed and drove yourself further, how you accomplished in a new way since internships weren’t an option. The get into details on your resume. 

Make a block of time, and title it Quarantine Challenges and Accomplishments - March 2020-Present

And bullet point out for me,

* Indianapolis Colts Revenue Optimization Internship Cancelled Spring 2020

* Took a virtual course in Salesforce 

* conducted 32 informational interviews

* Created video content using Final Cut Pro 

* took an email marketing course, learning how to communicate in a convincing and condensed manner

This way, your story becomes more than just -- my experience got canceled -- whoopsie. It becomes an arc -- my internship got canceled but I took that challenge head-on and learned more that directly applies to this job that I am interested in.

What I don’t want is for you to be the 1,000th person who used their cover letter and resume to make excuses. Everyone coming out of this is going to make their portfolio about what they didn’t get -- they didn’t get their internship they didn’t get this and they didn’t get that -- you need to be different. Don’t completely ignore it, but try not to make it the focus, and when you do mention it, give it context coupled with what you accomplished despite the quarantine.

Also, I have seen so many, so many, virtual internship offerings. There is no excuse for you or anyone else to be devoid of internship experiences. Yes for Spring 2020 -- everyone was surprised by that and figuring out how to adjust. By summer, by fall, virtual internships were everywhere. 

Aas a hiring manager, my empathy only goes so far, I still have expectations, and you need to be driving to overcome the challenges not using them as an excuse. 

Get a virtual internship, conduct informational interviews, network, and build relationships -- do not sit around expecting the world to feel bad for you. 

Everyone, except those people who deny the coronavirus exists, feels for you. We get it. But don’t rely on that - that is not enough to get a job.

Alright -- Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Eat a lot. Be with immediate family. Be safe. We’ll see you in December.


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