Getting a job in today’s business environment is extremely challenging. While getting a job has always been challenging, the influx of college degrees has added to this. This saturated market of recent graduates creates the need to redefine how people go about securing opportunities. There is no industry where this trend is more prevalent than in the sports industry.
COMPETITION 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 is 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.”
The rise in the number of sports opportunities and the growing interest in the field make it a competitive area for job hunters. Due to this competitiveness, getting a job in sports is as much of an art as it has a challenge.
The jobs are in sales, especially as a sales development representative (SDR). There is an unfair stigma regarding sales that paints all salespeople as 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 sales development services that many could find challenging.
IT COMES DOWN TO REVENUE
Sports organizations are always looking for the next sales star, someone who can bring in tremendous amounts of revenue. There is plenty of turnover in sports sales because of this. 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 sports (Clapp, 2016).
There is an important balance that exists in the industry 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 understand the knowledge the applicant has regarding working in the sports industry. They also place significant stock on work experiences 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 CRM tools for lead generation and nurturing, such as Salesforce or Hubspot, would provide countless benefits that could be applied to sports sales. An SDR position is a valuable resume builder that can help meet employer’s list of job qualifications.
These two sides of the scale share a commonality. The need for an aspiring sports industry employee that understands the sales process steps and tools for lead generation. The quintessential task in positioning oneself to be a competitive sales development representative is overall experience. But not just receiving experiences, but excelling within them.
Sports agent Leigh Steinberg notes that one key to getting a job in sports is to stand out 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. Employers view a candidate’s preparedness for a job in sports by matching their experience to the list of job qualifications. 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.
SELLING YOURSELF IN SPORTS
A position that prepares someone for the day to day responsibilities of a SDR is a far more valuable experience than just a basic sports position.
In a society where people 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 popular belief, getting a sports organization on a resume is not enough to catch the eye of employers.
Finding that balance between learning experiences based on applicable skills or in the sports industry is important for aspiring sports professionals.