Highlighting Your Transferrable Skills - Work In Sports Podcast

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Alright, let’s start the countdown...

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkinSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast….

Before we get into the stat line, last week we published part 1 of our 4 part series titled Moving Forward, and I just want to say thank you for all the really positive responses we’ve received. 

Equality is an important subject - sports should be the ultimate meritocracy, both on the field and in the offices. The best should rise, no matter what they look like. No matter what their gender. But that isn’t always the case. We need to fix that, and so often that starts with conversations where our eyes are opened. 

I’d like to consider myself a pretty empathetic person, I put myself in the shoes of others often. BUT, to hear someone else’s experience in their own words is so powerful.  When Gerald Taylor explained in episode one just how much it meant for him, a young black man, to have Jason Wright named team president of the Washington Football Team because it helped him see that it is possible-- you could feel it. When Jalen Mitchell, 19-year old Howard student,  explained that not everyone has to be on the front lines for the fight for social justice, but everyone does have a role - the maturity, vision, and passion of this 19-year-old man gave me chills. 

It makes a difference to hear the conversation, hear it in their voices. Go back and listen. 



I’ll admit, I put a lot of effort into this series, and wanted to see it be successful. But I had an epiphany last week, thanks to some friends, you know who you are, and I don’t really care how many downloads we have. The people who do listen I know will be impacted, and even just one set of ears that are opened and maybe the conversation shifts their perspective a bit, and opens themselves up to their role in progress - that is the marker of success.    

Part 2 comes up this week with Destiny Jones and Alex Rodriguez. 

Now its time for the stat line…


The Stat Line - Understanding the Week in Sports Careers


We’re going to jam through the numbers pretty quick here because I have a very important message to get across…

On WorkInSports.com - the number one job board for the sports industry, there are currently 16,493 active jobs, which is up about 1% from last week, so basically flat.

We added 1,889 fresh new active jobs this week an average of 270 a day -- which is awesome, lots of reasons to come back to the site daily and see what’s up.

Ok - now I have a quick explainer to get into -- for the last few months, I’ve been telling ya’ll about media/creative. I’ve been speaking in college classrooms around the country, and on this here podcast and I get asked all the time, where are the jobs in the sports industry, where is the job growth. 

My answer -- media/creative, tech/data, and retail/lifestyle. Those are the categories we’ve seen growth.

BUT… just this past week you may all have been seeing headlines saying ESPN is on the verge of laying off hundreds of employees. You hear that and say “Maybe Brian doesn’t know what he’s talking about?!” 

Well, both things can be true. Wait, let me be more clear, I don’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about and ESPN is doing layoffs. 

I mean, ESPN can be laying people off, and Media/Creative can still be thriving. 

Here’s how. 

Two points on ESPN. They are owned by Disney. ESPN actually performed quite well in their fiscal third quarter, BUT DISNEY, the parent company, BOMBED. Nobody is going to Disneyland/world, they are pushing back their movies, revenue is down. This affects the entire business and can result in cost-cutting across all organizations. 

This is not an indictment on ESPN, or media creative, it’s the larger impact of massive conglomerates.  

Point 2 - large organizations tend to have a machine-like mentality. People don’t really multitask, instead, they have very specific roles. This can create a bloated staff, but it works very effectively and efficiently when things are humming. 

When things stall, and your parent company is losing money, and the accountants start to look for places to trim, they see high salaried announcers, and redundant staffing...and they say “think we can combine here? Think we can get your best people to multitask a bit and do multiple roles, instead of being so overstaffed.”

That’s what leads to cuts in staffing at a huge org like ESPN.

Now, at the same time, other orgs don’t have this same pressure, they aren’t feeling the pressure of  Disney theme parks attendance numbers. Instead, what they are seeing is there is a huge appetite for digital, social, and broadcast creative content.

So, while ESPN may be cutting back -- teams, leagues, organizations, and other sports adjacent companies are pushing content and pushing media growth. The opportunities are there. 

So both things can be true, ESPN can be laying off, and media/creative can be growing.  

Which brings us to my three favorite jobs of the week!

Job #1

Sports Digital On-air Social Talent, Soccer - CBS Sports

Experience as a content creator and on-air talent with a keen understanding of digital platforms. They must have a proven ability to identify impactful stories and tell them with a unique, engaging voice. On top of contributing in front of the camera, they will chip in behind the scenes. Whether booking interview guests, figuring out shoot logistics, or providing voiceover work, they must be able to handle multiple tasks efficiently.

Live Production Coordinator - Temple University 

Lots of content jobs in college athletics in addition to pro sports

 The Live Video Production Coordinator will be integral to the operation of Temple Athletics' production facilities, as well as the production of all ESPN+ broadcasts. Further duties include but are not limited to: directing, technical directing, and operation of replay and graphics machines during live productions;

Digital Producer - Team Liquid

 ESPORTS! Do you have a passion for the art of storytelling, esports and gaming? Do you love working independently as well as with a team in a professional, fast-paced studio environment? Are you innovative and versatile when conceptualizing, creating and executing content? You’re the type of candidate that would be perfect for the Digital Producer role at Team Liquid.

Alright everyone -- that is the stat line


Let’s get to a question, shall we?

This question comes in from Jayna in California… Jayna asks…

“Hey Brian, I am a 25-year-old college graduate who wants to get into the sports industry. Let me back up a second, I graduated college with a degree in accounting and for the last 4 years, I’ve been quite successful as an accountant. I just don’t like it. That’s a problem for me. I’m not the type to just keep doing what I’m doing, I want to thrive. I’ve always had a passion for sports, and I just think i could be a happier person in that industry. So what do I do here? Thanks for your guidance, you are the man, I love your podcast and there is no one I’d rather get advice from than you.”

If you are wondering right now, did I select this topic because of the last sentence Jayna shared -- you aren’t wrong. 

But it is also a hugely important topic. We get a lot of people writing in about career-changing, which makes sense...it is not all that easy to decide who you want to be for the rest of yoru life when you are 17-18 years old.

Plus, when you are making this decision you are often trying to please mom and dad. Saying you are going to major in sports management, may not elicit the greatest responses from your folks, because they may not realize how serious and profitable this industry is. They may be just thinning you are planning to goof off on their dime.

So, you choose to be an accounting major - because it sounds serious. Your parents are happy but you aren’t, maybe you like numbers, have some interest in finance,  but this existence isn’t you. 

So you do this for a couple of years, sit in a cubicle master excel spreadsheets, run profit and loss statements all day, calculate taxes...and after a few years you are on your own, surviving, no longer dependant on the parents and you think to yourself -- what the hell am I doing?

Is this really me? 

Without the burden of parental judgment, you think now is the time to change...and you reach out to me. 

This scenario isn’t far-fetched -- it plays out daily. 

So let’s get into the idea of career transformation. If you have gone down a path you don’t love, now is the time to recalibrate. 

It’s all about transferable skills. You need to focus on mapping your current experience and learned skills to the sports industry. 

Now, Jayna, I’m not going to speak specifically about accounting, I’m going to talk in a broader sense, so it applied to everyone, but you will be able to calibrate yourself based on this information.

Your goal is simple -- demonstrate that your career experience, the things you have accomplished, directly connect to your value in the sports industry. 

What I would do is begin by writing down all of your acquired skills from school, and from your job. 

Broad skills like:

  • finance 
  • budgeting 
  • Accounting
  • Human resources 
  • Analysis
  • Planning and organization
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Digital content creation

Then also get into very specific skills:

  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Photoshop
  • Hubspot
  • Python
  • Final Cut Pro

Write all these skills down in a spreadsheet -- don’t edit at this point, put it all out there. Write it all down, you may condense later or combine skills, but this is all brainstorming on you right now and what you bring to the table.

This is essentially your value statement -- the things you can do to improve a business. And here is the BIG REMINDER, sports is a big business.

Maybe through this exercise, you realize, I really do love accounting, I’d just like to do it for a sports-focused business. Or maybe you realize, you know my favorite part of my job is in analysis, maybe I should look for business analyst jobs.

You’re trying to create your value story to an organization and learn what skills you currently have the translate to the sports industry. That’s how you get hired.

Ok, so now you have collaborated all of your skills and dumped them in a spreadsheet. I suggest you now put a score next to each one, of how much you like doing that thing. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you enjoy it, and I’m all for enjoying your work-life… you don’t want to jump careers only to b doing something you still don’t like. 

Once you’ve isolated those skills you really love - start doing some searches on our job board for those specific skills. This may not help you find THE job for you, but it will help clarify where you may fit. 

Search for a term like dynamics, or python, or photoshop, or budgeting -- search for your loves, and things you can definitely do well.

Again we are gathering information -- you now have a persona on yourself and what you are good at, what you love, and are starting to map to where those jobs that fit you and your passions exist.

You are creating target roles and target companies -- because you’ve started to see where you fit. You are also determining which of your skills are MOST transferable to the sports industry.

Now you need to showcase yourself and your skills. Transferable skills are your ticket to proving that you’re the right candidate for the role.

1: Update your LinkedIn profile to highlight these skills you have identified as most transferable, and most enjoyable. The skills section is important -- highlight your most transferable skills here, on LinkedIn that field is keyword searchable for recruiters and hiring managers. 

2: Update your cover letter to tell me a story of what you have done, where you have been, and why it is important to make the jump to sports. Tell me about you, your passion, and why sports matters. Tell me about being an accountant, but not having that passion or fire for your industry. That this is where you need to be and are meant to be.

3: Rework your resume to highlight the skills that are most applicable to each job you are applying for. Make sure the transferable skills are highlighted within your past experience and align with the jobs you are applying for. 

Applicant tracking systems will be looking for exact skills, if you highlight them and they fit the role, it doesn’t matter if that experience was with John Deere or the Indianapolis Colts -- you have the skills for the role. 

4: Apply for jobs that match your skillset. Not just anything. Jobs that match your transferable skills. If you have a background in accounting and start applying for content jobs in the sports media, you will not b noticed and you’ll get frustrated. The transition to a new industry takes steps. If your ultimate goal is to work in content creation, something you have no real experience in, first focus on jobs in sports that fit your skillset, once you get in, you can start to network and learn and volunteer in other departments. But first, you have to get in… so stay in your lane for a bit!

The final point I want to make -- you need to frame your mind in a confident manner. If you go into this idea of transferring industries and career-changing thinking, they’ll never want me, you’re already defeated. 

Here’s what you need to remember, most organizations love to hire people from the outside. 

Alright, that should do it for today - boy we covered a lot. Thanks for listening everyone,  make sure to tune in to part 2 of moving forward on Wednesday, rate and review the podcast wherever you listen, that helps us a ton, and continue to be awesome.

Wear a mask, plan to vote. Thanks every one. 

By Brian Clapp | October 12, 2020
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