Of the nearly 6,000 jobs we have active on WorkinSports.com about 25% fall under the umbrella of sports marketing.
We get hundreds of questions per month (and I’m proud to say we respond to each and every one personally) and when the questions are about career advice, the majority are regarding sports marketing jobs.
It’s a popular career path not just because there are plentiful opportunities, but because being a sports marketer is fresh, creative and cutting edge. Sports marketers are always on the front of the creative wave, and for many that is a thrill ride worth pursuing.
But how? What skills do you need to get hired? How do you succeed and grow?
These are the questions we receive often and rather than just answer them in a vacuum, I decided to reach out to multiple sports marketing experts and ask them – what are the most important skills to get hired for sports marketing jobs?
The majority of responses honed in on these four skills that are essential for getting hired in sports marketing.
1: Task Management
Multitasking is such an overused term. The honest interpretation of multitasking is doing many things at once and in truth, who is ever really successful at that?
The word has become a catch-all for achieving multiple things, when really the term should be task management. Sports marketing jobs require strong task management, because you’ll be responsible for a wide range of duties:
…just to name a few.
As a sports marketer you will always be juggling multiple on-going tasks, which means organization becomes a lynch pin to success. You’ll need to be able to balance your tasks, prioritize your to-do list and remain high-level and out of the weeds when applicable.
How to Demonstrate This Skill: On an interview it’s a difficult thing to sell someone on the fact you are organized and can prioritize
well. The only real way to do it is to have a real-life scenario you’ve worked through ready to present. Think of a time you had multiple projects to handle at once – How did you prioritize? How did you contribute? What did you delegate? Why did the project succeed or fail?
Prepare this scenario in your head so that when you have the opportunity to sell yourself in the interview you’ll be ready.
2: Think Big Picture
The misconception of many sports marketing job seekers is that a career in sports marketing means you’ll be working in social media and tweeting fun stuff all day long. Wrong.
Social media is one aspect of sports marketing jobs, but in truth to be successful and grow in your career you’ll need a deep understanding of the business of sports, and all of the supporting departments, not just Twitter and Pinterest.
Stay focused on the big goal – for example, if you’re working for a team it really boils down to selling tickets and sponsorships (there are other people in charge of the winning). Every decision you make should be bounced off the mission question, “does this choice help our organization sell more (of whatever we sell)?”
It’s important to think about that whether you are writing a Facebook post, designing a brochure or buying radio spots.
How to Demonstrate This Skill: Understand exactly what the goal of the company you are interviewing with is (i.e. how do they make money?) and prepare various methods of how you could drive attention to that goal.
I notice many people nowadays more focused on being witty and creative, but in the end are missing the company objective.
If you can bring a variety ideas to the table, in various channels (social, email, radio, direct etc) that show creativity while also staying in line with company goals, you’ll stand out in a sea of pun-tastic applicants, more impressed with their own wit that improving the business.
3: Have a Plan/Vision
Your life will be easier and your marketing will be more successful if you have a plan. Having a plan makes time management easier, keeps everyone associated with a project on task and minimizes mistakes.
Being able to develop a well thought out, clearly-defined marketing plan is a skill that not many are able to execute. A well-developed plan is a living blueprint, a design for execution that can unify a team towards a common outcome, or better yet, multiple teams.
Not only is it important to be able to put plans together, you also need to communicate both the plan and the reasoning behind it clearly to your bosses... because they aren't just going to hand over a marketing budget and a blank checkbook.
How to Demonstrate This Skill: I’ve always appreciated people who took charge in an interview, and by take charge I don’t mean talk a lot, I mean they are assertive.
For example, I conducted an interview once and after asking a relatively simple question, the interviewee paused and asked, “do you mind if I use your wipe board to demonstrate?” This person then stood up, showed great confidence and composure, and demonstrated a concept artfully.
My suggestion, ask permission first, but don’t be afraid to stand up and outline a high level concept, like how you would approach building a marketing plan, on a wipe board. It’ll show you’re confident, intelligent and in control – and that’s the type of person that people want to hire.
4: Writing Skills
The lost art.
“Writing is important for anyone in the workforce,” says Texas Stars Director of Marketing Lauren Hindman. “In sports marketing jobs specifically, I use my writing skills for everything from social media posts, e-newsletters and website stories to flyers and brochures. I also can serve as an extra set of editing eyes for our public relations department.”
I can’t stress this enough, the ability to write and articulate thoughts succinctly is the crux of sports marketing jobs. Without writing skills you aren’t a marketer or a communicator, you are just a talker and talkers work on used car lots, not professional sports organizations.
How to Demonstrate This Skill: Have writing samples ready to produce. Short-form, long-form, articles, brochures, promo copy, you name it. If you don't have writing samples you better get some. (We have a guest author program if you want to practice)
Enthusiasm, flexibility and playing nice are all great attributes, but as I've said 1,000 times hiring managers hire based on skills and then move down the line to cultural fit. Focus on what you can do to make a company better and you'll always give yourself a chance to get hired.
Prepare for these scenarios to play out in your next sports marketing interview and you'll stand a really good chance!
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