Mastering Your Entry Level Resume - Work In Sports Podcast

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

If you haven’t listened to last week's interview with Ameena Soliman, Player Personnel Coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles yet, I suggest you do that… right after you listen to this episode. 

As a long time fan of the show and Florida State Football Recruiting Assistant Jake Kernen remarked to me in our private Facebook group “the interview with Ameena Soliman is some of your best work yet. “

Now, I’d like to take all the credit, because I’m only humble from time to time, but in all honestly, Ameena made it great because of her answers and approach to the conversation, so go give it a listen.

Coming up later this week---  is my interview with Neeta Sreekanth, COO of INFLCR, a sports tech company building the brand and monetizing the impact of athletes. With the NCAA approving Names, Images, and Likeness rules going into effect in 2021, student-athletes will be able to profit off of their brand. 



Neeta and her team at INFLCR are leading the way in marketing, branding and monetizing this potential… and what is really cool is that they are working collectively with the schools and the athletes to follow best practices and make it a win-win for everyone. 

I like this a lot, I respect it, because rather than saying “let’s grab all the athletes and go crazy!” they are doing this in a responsible manner that still helps the students get exposure but in a responsible manner.

It’s a great interview - Neeta started out by telling me she likes to spit fire on podcasts… and she did. 

Tune in for that on Wednesday, and in the coming weeks, I have Kevin brown Director of Community Relations for the Detroit Red Wings and The Detroit Red Wings Foundation. Another incredible conversation… and Shahbaz Khan, Director of Digital Content for the TWolves and Lynx.

We keep crushing these interviews!

If you guys and gas listening have specific types of guests you want me ot have on, or recommend a specific person, hit me up. Connect on LinkedIn and let me know!

Also, if you have a specific sports career-focused question - share it with me and I’ll do a deep dive on the podcast!

Today’s question comes in from Hannah in Nevada, 

“Hi Brian, I’m looking to land my first real grown-up job out of college, I know not the greatest time, and I’m struggling with my resume. I have some experience, I have some good grades, I have clubs and stuff -- but I’m having trouble making it show the best version of me! Can you help?”

Hannah -- I will gladly do so!

Oh my gosh I just channeled the giant crab Tamatoa in Moana, my kids love that movie... and if you haven’t seen it the always funny Jermaine Clement plays the giant crab and ...why am I going down this tangent?

Ok, back on track. 

First things first -- some overarching concepts then we’ll dig in.

Coordinator, assistant, associate -- searches like that,

When they say 3-5 years’ experience, they don’t really mean it. They really mean 0-3, but for some reason, employers always say their dreams rather than their expectation. Don’t let that discourage you.

The expectation is that the entry-level candidates won’t have a ton of experience, but they do want to see some relevant experience, some cultural fit, and personality, some real skills that line up and make sense for the role and some leadership positions. 

Let’s dig into those concepts for a bit:

  • Relevant experience
  • Cultural fit and personality 
  • Real skills
  • Leadership 

If you emphasize those things you are in a good spot. But let’s get into the tactics a bit. 

1: I am way against and way over the idea of an objective statement, or mission statement to lead off your resume. 

Here’s why -- no one knows how to do them. They alays focus on what they want -- i want to earn a position at a leading company that will allow me to use my penchant for marketing and my zest for content. 

That’s great, I know what you want… what can you do for my organization? What can you do for me?!

I’m not hiring you to help you reach your goals, that’s nice if it happens, but my main reason for hiring you is because you can help us reach our goals. I know that sounds harsh, but that reality people. 

Businesses aren’t hiring you because they think you are nice and they want to help you out - you need to bring value to the org. 

Now, even if you are really good at writing these objective statements and you can phrase it in a way you share your benefits to their organization and tell them how you can improve their operation -- I still say skip it. It’s a waste of space. And so many of us are conditioned to hate these statements that we blow past them.

I don’t even read them anymore. That’s just being honest -- and I’ll tell you what, I’m not the only one. Most everyone I know says the same thing but they have a different public and private persona… with me, you just gt me.

2: Entry Level resumes are inherently choppy on the timeline, we get that, its ok. There are large gaps in experience and internships and other tings… and that makes sense since you are a student. 

Don’t worry about the perfect chronological order. 

I think you lead off with yoru most impressiv pice of experience. If you interned for the Indianapolis Colts the summer after your junior year, but during the college schol year you worked at the mall -- DO NOT lead your resume with the MALL JOB. 

Put your best most impactful experience at the top. YOu want to mae that bold first impression. 

I scan a resume looking for where you have gained experience, first! I’m not lining up the calendar and trying to build a timeline of your life. I want to know where you got your meaningful experience!

If you bury your best experience, the recruiter or hiring manager may have moved on before they really digested all of your capabilities. At some point you’ll be in an exact order from date to date… but right now, top load that baby!

3: Experience means a lot. 

Internships, co-ops, volunteer opportunities, part-time, full-time, organizations, clubs 

4: Focus on your bullet points - translate what you did as part of your experience into meaningful nuggets. 

Use metrics where possible. Even just one or two - it shows you as data-driven and adds powerful credibility to your achievements.

Even if it something like -- President of the Organzation of Undergraduate Communication Students consisting of 67 members, a 30% year over year increase. 

If your fundraising efforts led to an increase in revenue -- say so with measurable data points. 

If you tutored undergrad comm students and that led to a positive increase of 10% in their GPA - these are all data driven bullet points strive for these!

5: Not every resume is the same -- make sure it matches the job description - move bullet points arround, add in new ones, take parts outthat aren’t as relevant -- make it match the job you are applying for,.

6: only apply to jobs that fit you and your skill set - use account executive story

7: Entry level resumes can have a skills section too -- just remember to be specific. Don’t say graphic design tools -- say photoshop or after effects. Don’t say product management software, say Jira or Trello.

Go as far as you can with the skills too -- if you have Adobe Audition or Final Ciut Pro in your skills, list and certificates you earned, or any high levl techniques you are able to execute. It helps complete your story.

8: Stop worrying about format so much. ATS systems.

 Listen in to the Work In Sports podcast for more insight and details on how to make your entry level resume stand out from the competition


By Brian Clapp | August 03, 2020
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