The Career Advice You Need to Hear - 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…

Hope you all had a really great and safe Thanksgiving - I did. Just our family was here, we kept it safe, no entertaining which meant more pie for me. I was in full-fledged beast mode last week. I destroyed the meal. 

A guy I knew in high school, kind of a meathead, would always say he was going to eat so much that he puked, and then eat some more. That doesn’t sound healthy to me, but it was a philosophy I kind of embraced this week, sans the puking part. I’m not down with that. 

Christmas lights were hung this weekend, despite it being 60 degrees in Pennsylvania… which is really weird this time of year. But I’m on track, lots of black Friday and cyber Monday shopping, good times. 

Alright enough blather from me, lets get to the stat line…

Three data points to help you understand the health of the sports industry.



#1 16,840 active jobs posted on the #1 job board for the sports industry -- -- you think that’s puffery? That I’m just boosting the name of the company I work for -- Ha! The truth is in the numbers -- 

Our closest competitors: one has 2,048 active jobs and the other has 922 jobs. We have 16,840. Where do you think you should spend your time?

#2 1,082 jobs added last week. Now, that is a down week for us -- which stands to reason... It was thanksgiving. Who among us says, now is the right time to publish our job opening?

#3 even with that, we still have an average of 155 fresh new sports jobs added each day. 

Ok -- three really cool jobs that stood out ot me this week

Job #1 -- Director of Athletic Multimedia at Marist College in New York -

I have to say, there is no better time to be a sports content creator. There are so many opportunities. In this role, you’ll develop and produce video content, digital media, and marketing elements for the athletic department. You’ll go to college games and create awesome content to share through digital channels. Awesome. 

Need more proof on sports content jobs -- director of content for the premier lacrosse league, social media director for the drone racing league, director of creative strategy for NBC Sports, video content creator for pac12 network, director of social media for university of pittsburgh -- all these jobs posted in the last 12 hours. 

Job #2 - Partnership Analytics Fellowship at NYCFC --

 I had to look at this one because a fellowship sounds fancy and partnership analytics sounds interesting.

The Partnerships Analytics Fellowship is a one-year position within the Business Intelligence group at NYCFC. The fellowship will focus on equipping the candidate with all the tools necessary to continue a career within multiple verticals of the sports industry such as Strategy & Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Sponsorship Sales and Service. Ding-Ding!

The fellow will research and discover new prospects for the Partnership Sales Team to pursue by identifying and creating individual company profiles, performing category analysis, and tracking industry trends.

I keep telling ya’ll business analytics is the wave you should be riding in sports. I’m not smart enough for it but you might be.

Job #3: Sales jobs are on the rise again -- they are up 10% week over week and I think the news of a vaccine on the horizon is telling teams, time to add staff for the coming spring when thighs could start to open back up again. Remember, jobs are predictive, they tell you what is happening in the eyes of the marketplace 3-6 months from now, if organizations are posting jobs for sales staff that means they think things will be improving in 3-6 months for tickets, partnerships, and sponsorships.

I’ll list a couple of jobs to prove my point: Director of Sales for FC Tucson, Florida Panthers Account Manager, Saints and Pelicans Inside Sales team hiring, Greenville Drive Account Executive, Minnesota united account executive for season tickets --

The jobs are out there people - it’s coming back, so lets get to work. That is the stat line and you should be feeling good when you hear it!

And that is the stat line!

Let’s get into today’s question -- it comes to us from Bradley in Virginia-- 

“Hi Brian, I am a big fan of your podcast I have learned so much from a tactical and strategic standpoint. I very much appreciate your attitude towards providing actionable advice, but I’ll be honest I love it when you speak in a very human way - when you talk about life perspective, attitude, experiences and give us a real-life view into your mentality. My question to you is a bit of a challenge, one I hope you will accept. I’m about to engage in my first serious job search as I am graduating in the spring -- where do I need to get mentally to be successful in what lies ahead?”

Bradley - this may be one of my favorite questions to date and I am glad to take on this challenge. 

Sometimes I fear going astray from real tangible advice, for fear it sounds more like a self-help book than a podcast meant to help you. But in truth, I love discussing the broader realities of the world and how to survive within this mental minefield. 

This discussion may not be quite as step by step as actionable as others, but it will be honest, very very honest. 

Want to get yourself ready for the job search process -- you need to understand this first -- the job search process is brutal. 

You will approach graduation with the thought you are different, and all those people who struggle aren’t you, all those stories you hear, like this one, don’t apply to you. 

“You will get hired because you are you - and you have value to add”. 

I tell everyone all the time, if you have the right skills to match the needs of your industry, you will be in a good position. That is true, but it isn’t the whole story. Even having the exact right skills doesn’t change the brutal nature of job searching, especially for your first one when you have little to no brand. 

You aren’t known within your industry, you aren’t a proven commodity, you don’t have many referrals or accomplishments -- you are a lump of clay, some pre-formed, some just a big old hunk of mass waiting to be sculpted.

The first thing you need to realize is that this process will destroy your confidence and deteriorate your self-esteem.  You will expose yourself to critique, you will be ignored, you will be cast aside. There will be bad news, rejection letters, form email responses saying a company is going in another direction with their hire. 

The confidence you started with, about a month in, will falter and the reality will hit you hard. You’ll start to wonder about paying rent, buying food, do you have to move home, will everyone be disappointed in you? Are you a failure?

There are literally hundreds of episodes of this podcast you can listen to for practical and tactical advice on how to prepare for the job search -- social media profiles, informational interviews, resume strategies, how to write a cover letter, persona branding, networking, interviewing techniques -- we’ve got them all. 

BUT - the most important advice I can possibly give you, is to have unstoppable faith and belief in yourself. 

All of the thighs I listed just a second ago and have taught you how to do throughout your experience with this show - leads up to this moment. It comes down to your ability to maintain your faith and belief in yourself. 

If you have done all the things we have taught, you have every reason to stay feeling confident, through all of the shitty things that will happen on your job search. I am a strong believer that confidence comes through preparation. 

Use the test example -- you have a final coming up, you paid attention all semester ad studied hard. You have every reason to feel confident going into the test because you prepared. If you did none of those things, you will likely have anxiety dreams the night before about showing up to music class without any clothes on. Yes, that is an oddly specific anxiety dream, one that I have still to this day whenever I am unprepared for something to come. 

The point -- if you do all the steps, you gain the right experience, network, conduct informational interviews, do great internships, have a stellar resume and cover letter, and are ready for any type of interview question -- the job search process will still be brutal -- BUT you have reason to remain confident and have faith in yourself because you prepared. 

The key to surviving this process -- having a belief in yourself that is real, that is powerful, that is able to withstand all the crappy things that are on the horizon and persevere. To have faith you have done things the right way and you aren’t just hoping for magic, you are ready to jump on stage and perform.

Personal story. I was living off-campus my senior year of college and started applying to jobs in February, graduating in June. I wanted to work in sports television and didn’t get bites for months, not even any nibbles, and I was willing to go anywhere for a job, I didn’t have places circles on a map, I would have gone anywhere. It was all an adventure to me. 

I expanded my search, and started applying to jobs in wider industries -- news, magazines, I think I even applied to a job at the Dairy Association if memory serves me. 

I graduated, with nothing. No firm leads, I was working at Edde Bauer at the mall, applying to jobs in my field while also wondering, oh shit am I going to have to go into manager training at my mall job? Am I going to go from earning beer money to making this a career out of necessity?

I hit a moment where it made no sense to stay at school and made the hard decision to move home. 

Panic was high. I lost confidence, all of it. I was in a bad place. I moved home to Massachusetts, my parents had downsized after my brother and I went to college, so now I was returning to a strange home and strange town, transferring to the local Eddie Bauer store -- things were not working out as I had planned. 

It was two weeks after I moved home that CNN/Sports Illustrated called me for a phone interview and the rest is history. 

My point in all this is that I did everything I could to be prepared for the moment, and it was still brutal -- but in the end, I got the job and career I wanted because I had done all the preparatory steps. I had the right skills and eventually, my activities and choices resulted in a positive experience. 

BUT the process was brutal. I still have nightmares about losing my job and being unable to support my family, yes I am a neurotic type. 

My big picture advice, as if I haven’t made it clear enough, is to realize right now that your search will be hard. The rejection will feel personal. The denials will seem misguided. You must tell yourself right now, that you have made the right choices, taken the right steps and actions, and you have every reason to stay confident. 

Don’t take anything personally, learn from each experience, each interview, each rejection, twerk your approach broaden your search, but don’t stop believing in yourself. Self-doubt will ruin you.

This will be a test of your character and internal strength -- tell yourself right now, that you are going to win this battle. 

Alright everyone, great question Bradley thanks for submitting it -- thanks for listening and sharing our content. If you have a question you’d like me to answer on an upcoming podcast episode you can message me on LinkedIn -- connect with me today!

Thanks for listening…

By Brian Clapp | November 30, 2020
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