What You’ll Learn When Working in Sports

Author: Emmanuel Pepis, Career Advice

So, you want to work in sports?

I have been fortunate to work in sports since I was in high school. I was put in touch with a well-known sports personality in the New Orleans area and 13 years later, I feel like I could hum the Johnny Cash song, “I’ve Been Everywhere.” Not quite from a travel standpoint, but I have taken a lot of different jobs within the sports field over that time — where I’ve learned a lot of different things.

Get connected
This is the most obvious, yet most vital first step. Without connections, it’s going to be very hard to land a job. That’s true in many fields, but the sports field is among the top of the list in that department. When prospective employers look at references, they’re not just going to look at what you’ve done. They’re going to look at your connections.

When you’re starting out, say yes to everything possible
No experience is bad experience. When you work in sports, you’re going to most likely wind up doing things you never thought. For me, I never thought I would work in production for a radio station, but I did. It diversified my skill set and I’m glad to say I have those basic skills on the technological side.

Whatever path you choose, it’s going to be a long road to get there. At the beginning, it won’t be a particularly lucrative road. This is the toughest part especially for those either in or fresh out of college. If you keep an open mind, you’re going to learn a lot more than you ever dreamed. Also, you’re going to wind up applying those talents you do have in forums you may not have thought about.

Be relentless
Again, this is a statement magnified by the field discussed. There are many thousands of students who have similar goals. It’s one of the most competitive fields you can imagine, but your connections and a diverse skill set are a great start.

However, you have to be aggressive. Keep putting your resume out. Keep persisting about job opportunities even if they’re not open at the time. Take every chance you can to show any potential employer your ‘never quit’ attitude. That eventually gets noticed and can go a long way to you moving up in your desired career path.

Set your goals, but allow some flexibility
You may enter the sports field thinking you’re going to be one thing. That’s great to aspire to. For instance when I was a teenager, I wanted to be an anchor on ESPN. I shifted that goal to wanting to become a broadcaster since I started picking up a lot of experience in that department.

The point of all this is to say that your goals have a good chance of changing. Maybe it won’t be drastically, but you’ll discover a job that changes your perception. Let it happen if that’s the case. Aspire to what you want, but allow yourself the freedom and flexibility as you travel down this road.

I’ve been lucky enough to stay involved in sports in some capacity for over a decade. If you choose this path, it’s going to be a grind. There are going to be tough days as there are in any profession. However, if you stay connected, be persistent, and gain versatility then you’ll give yourself the best chance of succeeding.

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