To Apply, or Not to Apply? That is the Job Seekers Question

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

Thanks for joining me this lovely Monday, that’s not even sarcasm, the sun is out daylight saving is around the corner, I’m feeling lovely. 

Quick confession before we get into the stat line and today’s question… for those of you watching on our YouTube channel, and it would be great if you all subscribed to our youtube channel at Work In Sports, it makes my bosses proud of me, but if you are watching on our youtube channel, you may notice a very different look to my set. 

So the confession. 

I had this weird dream a couple of weeks back that was inundated with a look, a vibe, a feel. And I tried to translate that into a new set design. After I completed it last night, I realized it may have been a nightmare, I’m not sure it’s working. 



But the idea was this -- when I used to live in the city, Atlanta first and then Seattle, I loved the look of light poles covered with overlapping concert flyers, record releases, announcements. You get this chaotic mass of colors and shapes and disarray that was kind of beautiful. 

So, I decided to re-paint my walls with black chalkboard paint, buy an assortment of picture frames and about 1,000 stickers. Most are sports-related, but some are superheroes, nature, and other stuff I’m into.

And on the frames behind me, you’ll see the result -- it looks pretty graphic and cool -- but I’m not sure about the black walls. 

Overall, I was feeling like you see the same zoom backdrop about 100 times a day and I just wanted to make something that was really different. So if you don’t mind -- check it out on our youtube channel, and let me know if you think it is cool, ridiculous, or something in between. 

I’m not a graphic or interior designer -- but I do listen to my dreams and it kind of inspired me. 

I will add -- my 13-year-old daughter is an amazing artist and is going to do some artwork on the chalkboard, then we’re going to layer the frames over it -- so you get an almost graffiti look behind. So we’ll see if this is insane, or insanely cool.


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A second quick note before the stat line -- big thanks to Ron Robert Jr and Jeff Fellenzer for inviting me to be a part of their Sports Industry Showcase event, 39 speakers over many industry-focused panels, of which I played a small, but vocal, you know me I don’t hold back, part. Really great session -- lots of incredible students, many of which I have already started to speak with and engage -- I’m looking at you Mayan, Johnpaul, Jennifer, Leyla, Sarah, Caroline, Luke, Jonathan, Lynne, and Kennedy -- you guys and gals are rockstars.

Ok, let’s get to the stat line….

1: 22324

2: 3168 

3: 453

Three cool jobs posted this week:

Summer Camp Soccer or Baseball or Golf  Director -- Camp Westmont

Camp Westmont, a co-ed traditional sleep-away camp in the Pocono Mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania, is currently looking for qualified, experienced, energetic individuals to teach and run our Soccer program. Competitive salary, room, board, three meals a day, and laundry service are included. This would no doubt be the best summer of your life! 

With how crappy the last year has been, can’t we just look forward to summer camp and laundry service? On a serious note, if you want to work with kids, community relations, non-profits -- this is also a great experience. 

Job #2: Athletic Trainer for the North Texas Bulls Baseball Organization

Lots of people in this audience are not sports management majors, they may be kinesiology or exercise science -- and in pursuit of jobs as trainers, etc. I talk a lot about starting out in small college athletic programs to build, but the minors or smaller leagues are also a great way to start building game day reps. Everyone needs health. 

Job #3:  Production Assistant -- NBC Sports Bay Area

I started in this role. It has a warm place in my heart, but more importantly many many students I speak to across the country in various colleges and universities want to work in sports television, or be a reporter, anchor, etc. THIS is a great job to get that started. Big name, best practices, learn how it’s done, then get out there.

That is the stat line…

Alright, let’s get into today’s question … Amanda, New York

“Hey Brian, thank you so much for your guidance and the advice shared on this podcast, seriously it matters a lot. You are making a difference whether you realize it or not.  I have two questions and I’m hoping you can answer both. 

First -- you talk a lot about analysts’ jobs on the rise in sports. I’m not an analyst but I do like data and numbers, can this be an attribute and skill even if I don’t want to be a typical business or player side analyst?

And, second -- you also talk about being qualified and interested in the jobs we should apply for - like, don’t just apply for a job because it’s with a team we like, but we have none of the skills to do the job. Makes sense...but how many of the skills do we really need? Do we need to have all of the skills they list in the job description? I find myself over-analyzing now, and I hope you can give some clarity”

Amanda - great questions and since you asked nicely I will answer both as best I can. 

Let’s start with your second question about when to apply. 

job gets posted, they list off ten skills they want for someone in this role, and then the burden is on I apply? Do I have what they need? Will I be considered?

FACT: there is a huge gender discrepancy in how this question gets answered by all ya’ll. 

Here’s the data: 

Women tend to believe they need to have ALL of the skills listed or they don’t apply. 

Men tend to think, if I have two of the skills they want, that’s good enough because they’ll love me, I can win them over in the process. 

Truth -- is in the middle. If you have all the skills, awesome, that is one you should absolutely drive hard for and pull out all the stops -- your resume will get noticed. 

If you have two of the skills, you should go back to the drawing board -- I’m looking at you dudes. 

BUT, you don’t need all of the skills. That is their wish list, that is their dream scenario. 

My rule of thumb -- which is not exact, it’s not law, it’s a rule of thumb which means, we’ll actually I have no idea what that means -- what the heck is a rule of thumb anyhow?

Stand by Google -- Oxford English Dictionary -- Rule of Thumb:

Oxford English Dictionary definition: "A method or procedure derived entirely from practice or experience, without any basis in scientific knowledge; a roughly practical method."

Right - perfect -- roughly practical, based on experience, not scientific. 

Why the thumb? Ah-ha, "rule of thumb" is additionally defined as a method by which brewers once tested the temperature of a batch of beer: They dipped a thumb in the brew.

This is awesome -- my day is complete. Or should I say, my tangent is complete?

OK, back on track -- the list of skills provided on a job description is not a mandate -- so my estimation from sticking my thumb in a vat of beer, is that if you have 6 out of the 10 required skills, you are in the ballpark enough to apply. 

Less than that, work on yourself. 

More than that -- hurry up and apply. 

Bottom line, Amanda, don’t fall prey to an idea of perfection. This is the one and only time a 60% is a good enough grade.

As food your second question on analytics -- great question.

When we talk analytics, so often people think that means you are pouring over huge data sets in some complex computer language that only people at MIT are being taught. 

Not true!

Analytical skills are the knowledge and abilities that help you to evaluate information and solve problems. If you’ve ever had to gather or read through data and synthesize it in order to make decisions or recommendations, you’ve used analytical skills and should leverage that fact on your resume!

If you can look at a marketing campaign, and analyze the results to influence further decisions -- you are utilizing analytical skills!

Analytics are important in just about every job out there in sports and otherwise. You don’t have to be an analyst to learn and leverage the skill.

Let’s say you want to be a sports social media manager -- you’re on an internship and your boss says, come up with two visual campaigns for our upcoming ticket sale around the 4th of July,  run them both, see which one works best and figure out why.

That’s called A/B testing -- guess what, you are an analyst! And you’ll do this daily if you become a social media manager!

If you are in google analytics, you aren’t just looking for vanity moments, to brag about how well one of your posts did -- you are looking to learn what worked, and influence your next decisions -- that’s analytics!

Google Ad Words -- you test out campaigns, some work some don’t -- you get rid of the ones that don’t -- that’s analytics!

How do you leverage these moments?

Cover Letter -- tell me a story about how you used data to influence a future decision. This is huge BTW, data-driven decision-making is all the rage.

Resume: Skills section, bullet points -- give data and metric related to your use of data and metrics! Improved a campaign that resulted in 23% lift!

Job Interview: Have stories ready to tell about times you used data to make decisions, and impacted sales, expenses, revenue, conversion rates, customer satisfaction. Even if it’s not related to sports -- you could have a story that was like, I noticed at our restaurant we were throwing away a lot of a certain side dish, so I worked with my boss and the chef to reduce waste and increase sales. 

These all work! Leverage data-driven decision-making in your process and you will be better off!

Allison Bickford on Wednesday!

By Brian Clapp | March 08, 2021
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