So, you have decided that you want to work in sports. Great news! You finally have discovered what it is you want to do with your life. Think that was hard? Just wait until you try to break in to the sports world.
Carolina Hurricanes' Mike Sundheim published a piece on the teams’ site this morning with some helpful tips and advice for those that are trying to break into the sports world; I read through it and have some pointers of my own.
You need passion and drive to make it into sports in which ever aspect you look at for a career; however, do not limit yourself.
There are many career paths to go into when you are talking sports and I found this point from Sundheim to be insightful for anyone at any point of there career:
Scarcity: On average, NHL teams have about three full-time positions in PR. That’s 90 total jobs. By comparison, there are 690 available roster positions for players to work in our league.
And you thought becoming an NHL player was going to be the tough route?
That is just Public Relations though; there are many other positions with NHL teams, the league itself, the AHL, and other leagues and sports. Just because you want to work in hockey doesn’t mean you will start off there.
If you are still in college make sure you internship; and not just the one internship that is required for graduation. Internships are much more than building your resume and your experience. They are learning and growth tools that show you a personal inside look at what goes on behind the scenes in the world of sports.
Allow yourself to take the path that comes to you. I changed my major more than once – I changed schools more than once too.
Started off in Marketing, Switched to Special Education (concentration with Emotional Impairment) and then ended with my Sports Management program. I got lucky and found where I can combine my passions when I was able to start volunteering for the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) while still attending University. I will save my ASHA story for another day.
Make sure you are networking. At all time. Social Media is great for networking – it can also be your downfall depending on how you present yourself.
Some times opportunities will fall into your lap. Would you believe that my starting to writing for Kukla’s Korner last month came about from hockey talk on Twitter? It did.
I have always wanted to be a writer and the advice I was given by my Sports Management professor was this: “Give yourself a web presence. If you can show your expertise in the area you want within the first few pages of a Google search the better off you will be.”
Now before you run off to Google your name (check your images too while you are there) keep in mind this is the real world; not Jerry Maguire. Do not expect to be making the big bucks right out of college.
It takes work and twists and turns in the road; you will get rejected. I had an NHL team send me 5 rejection notices in one day once. Brush yourself off and learn from the experience.
Ruling out internships and even jobs with other sports will really only hinder your push. Sometimes you can make a connection you would not have by taking the path with more curves. Aside from writing I also work for a custom team sportswear company that specializes in Track and Field and running events. The owner’s cousin is a retired NHL player.
Get your Education. Experience. Networking. Now is the time to set yourself apart from the rest of us. Show the sports world what you bring to it, not ask what it will do for you.
You can read all of Sundheim’s tips and advice in how to break into sports.
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