A Company First Approach to your Sports Job Search - Work in Sports podcast

Is a company first approach to your job search a better strategy for you? We investigate!

Hey it’s Brian, welcome to a Monday edition of the Work in Sports podcast, brought to you this week by the online master’s degree in sport management at the University of Florida

The University of Florida program has three in-demand specializations - I love this because you can choose a program that fits you and you know what you are going to get, no surprises, no generic education - at University of Florida you’re going to specialize in Athlete Development, High-Performance Coaching, or Sport Law

An optional Graduate Certificate in Sport Event Management focusing on the challenges and opportunities involved in organizing Olympic-level competitions as well as regional events.

That sounds cool I would definitely get the graduate certificate. See that’s how I approach these programs if you read what they offer and find yourself thinking “that sounds cool” you are on the right track.

Also, don't go thinking that an online program lacks the personal touch, the UF program, GO Gators, offers personalized one on one career coaching services - so you get the benefits of online coursework and the personal touch of a career coach.

For more info on this awesome program and to download a free brochure visit ufsport.org

Now let’s start the countdown...

Hi, everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for WorkinSports.com and this is the WorkinSports Podcast…

Before we get into this week’s question, a quick update on a few things. I am getting very very close to offering up our online course directed to all of you aspiring sports people. I’ve shared a ton of career-focused advice in this podcast platform and our blog, our private Facebook page, and more over the years, but this is incredibly unique.work in sports podcast with brian clapp

I’ve put all my best stuff together in one online course - there are written articles, downloadable worksheets and checklists, exclusive video segments, audio files, and quizzes and assignments to keep you on track. This course is insane and I’ve put my all into it.

The cool thing too -- once you purchase you have lifetime access.

Think about that for a second, you take the course you learn so much you get yourself primed and ready for the industry. Let’s say you get your first internship and you review all of my content on nailing your internship...then a year later you are updating your resume and you go back to the course to refresh, 10 years from now you are back in the market for a job and you want to review interviewing techniques and you review that.   

This course isn’t going to be static, I will constantly update it, and you will have lifetime access to all the information. You’ll be part of a special community dedicated to mastering the art of working in the sports industry.

And if you are listening and you are a professor, we have group rates so you could sign up your entire class each semester, like a cooler more important textbook, and they’ll have access for life. Heck, your entire department could use different segments of the course in their curriculum.

As one professor told me after I spoke in one of their classes -- this information is life-changing for my students. And in the coming weeks...it’ll be available to all of you. There are 4 modules,

*gaining the right experience

*building and maintaining your network

*Mastering your resume, cover letter, and personal brand

*Interviewing for jobs and internships

Here’s the deal - you’ll be able to buy individual modules for just $39 -- or you can buy all four for $99.

And like I said if you are a professor - group rates for your students, it gets even cheaper so let’s talk. And if you are going to be at NASSM the North American Society for Sports Management conference later this month in New Orleans… so will I, so let’s chat face to face!

Alright, you can tell I’m pretty fired up about this but let’s transition into today’s question…

Hi Brian, this is Madeline from Tennessee -  I love all of your advice, you speak in a way that really communicates with me… so many of my professors are boring and a zone out, but I listen really intently when you speak so thanks for that!

[thank you Madeline!]

Question for you - I’m refining what I want to do in my sports career, but rather than getting super specific, I feel like I’m staying kind of broad, like “I want to work in sports marketing” is that OK, or is that going to make it hard to find a specific role that I am qualified for?”

Madeline - this is a really cool question that I’d like to dig into, so thanks for asking and thanks for the kind words.

I’ve been toying around with an idea lately and I want to workshop it here a bit. So often I suggest your job search is skills and role-based -- go where your skills match and you are most likely to be considered for a role. Or go where the role sounds most interesting to you and then gain the skills necessary to be considered.

But let’s look at another option. Now I say option because I’m not telling you this is better or worse than your job search being skills or role based...it’s just another option in your job search. You need to attack finding a job in multiple ways.

So consider this - A company first process.

As I look back at my career, and outside of my current role which is awesome and I love, my best career experience was at a company I admire and I loved the culture and experience -- CNN/Sports Illustrated. I could have stayed there my entire career, as many of my friends have. I had upward mobility, challenging and diverse environment, great benefits, cool culture and free tickets to Braves and Hawks games.

I got lucky landing my first job there - trust me I wasn’t targeting them, I was targeting anything.

But think about this for a second - if I had targeted a company that I really admired and wanted to work for, I have a much higher chance of it working out in the long term.

When we target companies we like, they tend to align with our values, our point of view and our ideas for ourselves -- all of these attributes contribute to our day to day happiness and fulfillment.

Another perspective here -- I’m on our job board daily, we have 12,000 plus sports jobs..and companies often call the same jobs different things. So if you are searching for a job as a marketing coordinator, but your favorite company calls the same role a Brand ambassador -- you’ll never find it!

But if you identified the companies you admire, and looked through openings from their point of view, you would.

So let’s narrow this down a bit into a process -- you know me I love the process!

1: What size company do you want? Big, small, huge? You determine that

2: Location -- where are you looking to be? Now in sports, you have to be open to relocation but remember this process helps you identify and keep an eye on your ideal opportunities.

3: Company persona -- startup? Growth market? Well-established? All of these go directly to culture and environment so think about it.

4: Mission: What do they stand for, and what do you stand for? What do you feel when you think about their product? Excitement? Confusion?

5: Upward opportunity? Is there room for growth? Long term viability

6: Culture: Does it fit who you are or who you want to be?

Once you’ve created a list of these companies say 10-20 - create a job alert on work in sports.com for these companies. You can be notified whenever they post a new job opening and then take the time to read and understand the role.

Also, you know I’m a fan of this, read the job descriptions of various jobs at your ideal company, look for patterns. Are they all always mentioning certain terms or phrases like “product focused” or “sales driven” or  “creative problem solvers” -- when you see the patterns you can start to see the way the company envisions itself...how does this characterization make you feel?

So, Madeline, I hope the point is clear here -- if you aren’t sure on a specific role you want to pursue, maybe the best option for you is a company first approach, I’m starting to believe this is a method that can lead to real long term success.

Thanks for listening, coming up on Wednesday - Kenneth Shropshire CEO of the Global sport institute at Arizona State University and one of the foremost minds in the world of sport over the last 40 years. This guy is a visionary for the sports industry and was a thrill to interview -- tune in Wednesday for that one.

Talk to you all soon -- now get back to work.

By Brian Clapp | May 20, 2019
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