When it comes to sports careers, landing that first job often is a difficult challenge.
The fact is, many people are interested in working in sports careers. While not all of the jobs pay extraordinarily well, the positions often are dream jobs for people who prefer to work in a fun atmosphere, around teams, or with athletes.
Throw in a recession, and finding that initial position can prove frustrating. But it is important to keep your spirits high, maintain confidence in yourself, and build your network.
If the job search is becoming frustrating, here are some ideas to get things going in a positive direction.
Review the Basics
When teams are in a slump, they often work on the fundamentals. The same can apply to a stalled job search.
Take a longer look at your resume and cover letter. Work on your interviewing skills. Read through this site and the About.com Job Searching site.Have friends and family review your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills. Seek out professionals in your field who will review these items and provide helpful criticism.
If you advance to the interview stage but fail to land a job, ask the prospective employer where you came up short. Encourage them to honestly talk to you about the areas where you came up short. Do not let this information upset you—it is one opinion—but it could help you discover areas in your experience or approach where you need more work.
Network, On-Line and In Person
Also, attend meetings and conventions focused on your sports career. This is one advantage of sports careers; many of the associated leagues, sports, and career positions regularly conduct such meetings. Even though money is tight, find a way to join these trade associations.
Also use the people you know, teachers, coaches, professors, and advisors to build contacts. Use your campus career center. Let your friends and family know that you are looking for work and the type of work you are looking for. You never know when someone will hear something and pass it on to you.
Yes, this advice is easier to give than follow. But realize that you’re not the first college graduate to not immediately find work. This is especially true in times of recession.
Many people interested in sports careers have a sports background. Think about how much you improved in a sport from the start of a season to the end. You can improve in a job search if you keep working at it. This outlook helped me in a long job search out of college.
While I realize because of family and personal reasons this is not applicable to every recent graduate looking for work, try to consider as many options as possible. If you are willing to move to a new market to land your job, you will open that many more possibilities.
In terms of sports careers, if you consider positions outside of your favorite sport or league, you open that many more doors.
Compared to some of my friends, I know relatively little about NASCAR but I once interviewed with them. In my research preparation, I discovered what a great opportunity the position offered. While I didn’t land the job, I was willing to open my options. The process also helped me improve my interviewing skills.
Also keep in mind that very few people land their dream job right out of college. Be willing to consider a position that will put you on the path to that dream job.
Consider All Talents, Experiences
If you have spent considerable time and effort searching for your dream job with, say, a professional baseball team and the season has started with you still looking, it may be time to consider some of your other skills.
Perhaps you sold ads for the college newspaper? That experience could help you land a position in sales with a team, baseball or some other sport, until an executive position opens.
Perhaps you picked up experience running an intramural league that could translate to a position with a community recreation center for the summer until baseball’s hot stove league—and hopefully hiring season—gets started again.
Ideally, you will find a position that will include some skills required for your desired career path. If possible, as you establish yourself, ask for these types of responsibilities.
Perhaps, you will find a job that helps pay the bills and add part-time or volunteer work in your field that you will find rewarding. Perhaps you can organize a new youth sports team. While you might not get paid, you will pick up experience and likely find the work rewarding.