Acquiring a job in today’s business environment can be extremely challenging. While getting a job has always been challenging, more and more young people are going to college and receiving degrees. This saturated market of recent graduates has created the need to redefine how people go about securing opportunities. But in no industry is this trend more prevalent than in the sports industry.
According to Jason Belzer of Forbes, the availability of opportunities in sports has been steadily rising, from entry-level all the way up to the executive C-suite level. However, the number of applicants has been increasing as well. Belzer states that “While the number of professional sports teams has stayed largely constant over time, the addition of jobs created by the growth of technology – from system engineering to analytics and social media – has opened up thousands of additional positions that did not exist a decade ago” (Belzer, 2015) The rise in the number of sports opportunities coupled with the rapidly growing interest in the field has made it one of the most competitive areas in which to hunt for jobs. It is due to this intense competitiveness that receiving a job in sports has become just as much of an art as it has a challenge.
The jobs are in sales, especially as a sales development representative, which is entry-level sales. There is an unfair stigma regarding sales that paints all salespeople to be telemarketers or door-to-door disturbances. This isn’t the case in sports sales. In fact, sports teams are tasked with a variety of marketing and business development services that many could find challenging. Sports organizations are always looking for the next sales star, someone who can bring in tremendous amounts of revenue. It is for this reason that there is plenty of turnover in sports sales. According to Brian Clapp of WorkInSports.com, 53% of sports jobs are in sales. In other words, sales is basically the window to a career in sport (Clapp, 2016).
There is an important balance that exists in the sports industry, however, between what one has done and who they’ve worked for. Sports companies that hire college graduates want to see valuable resume experiences within the sports industry. This way the organization can get a sense of what kind of working knowledge the applicant has regarding working in the sports industry. But on a similar note, they also place significant stock on work experiences, not necessarily in sports, that provide essential tools and ability to be successful in the industry. For example, an internship that teaches a person the sales process steps, strategies for lead generation, and how to use technological tools for lead generation, such as Salesforce or Archtics, would provide countless benefits that could be applied to sports sales. Even if being a sales development representative isn’t with a sports organization, it is a valuable resume builder that helps employers understand a candidate’s qualifications.
But what these two sides of the balancing scale have in common is the need for an aspiring sports industry employee to get experience in understanding the sales process steps and tools for lead generation. The quintessential task in positioning oneself to be a competitive sales development representative is overall experiences. But not just receiving experiences, but excelling within them. Sports agent Leigh Steinberg notes that one key to getting a job in sports is not only receiving internships but to actually stand out and be noticed while working with the organization (Steinberg, 2016). This is especially important in sales, where one’s implementation of the strategies for lead generation is literally documented in numbers.
However, not all experiences are equal. One thing in particular that employers look at is how prepared an individual is for a position in sports. Not all learning experiences in the industry are going to provide an amazing experience. This is where the type of experience tends to trump just working in the industry. A position that prepares them for the exact day to day responsibilities of a sales development representative, which trains them on sales process steps, strategies for lead generation, and the use of lead generation technologies, is a far more valuable experience than just a basic sports position.
In a society where education is deeply valued and people continue to break the bank to receive their degree, education is not enough when looking for sports jobs. When it comes to sizing up the competition, what an applicant has already done or achieved triumphs.
Positioning oneself for a career in sports is all about the experience. It is about what one can do to make themselves a better and more knowledgeable candidate. Contrary to what some may believe, just getting a sports organization on a resume is not enough to catch the eye of employers. Finding that balance between learning experiences in sport and learning experiences based on applicable skills is the most important concern for aspiring sports professionals.
Belzer, J. (2015, December 17). Want A Job In The Sports Industry? Good News, Because It’s An Employee’s Market.
Clapp, B. (2016, March 23). 53% of Jobs in the Sports Industry Require This Skill.
Steinberg, L. (2016, May 16). 5 Keys to Getting Job In Sports.