Researching Sports Careers
After sifting through the websites on my blogroll and other internet searches you have conducted, write down the types of sports jobs you found most intriguing. Maybe you want to be an agent. Perhaps a broadcaster. Whatever it may be, try to prioritize your findings by creating a list.
Now that you have a list, start a more detailed research effort on the top item and work your way down. Here are some questions that will help you out when learning more about each specific sports job:
1. What type of educational degree is most useful?
You do not necessarily have to have a business or sports management degree to work in sports, but it certainly helps. It really depends on what job you are looking at. Some upper level jobs even require advanced degrees like MBAs or JDs.
2. What are the job’s duties?
You might think you like a sports job because it sounds cool, but you have to get a good sense of the types of daily activities you can expect. Knowing the duties will tell you what areas of the job you should become an expert in.
3. What other professional skills are required?
Regardless of what job you are researching, you must learn to work in a team environment, communicate effectively (both verbally and non-verbally), and organize. You should also know Microsoft Office, especially Excel and Powerpoint. Some jobs might even require knowledge of more specialized software programs. Find out what they are and learn them.
4. Who are the top 5 organizations that offer the job?
Know who the major players are for that specific job. It might be a league, team, or agency. Pick your favorites and analyze.
5. Are there internships available that will expose me to the job so I can find out if I like it?
Hopefully, internships will be available at these top 5 companies or elsewhere. If so, apply, apply, apply. Try to get your foot in the door any way you can. Do not expect to be paid.
6. Do I know anyone who currently has that job?
You might or you might not. If you do, reach out to him or her to see if you can set up an informal meeting or an informational interview. If you do not, see next question.
7. Do I know anyone who knows anyone who currently has that job?
Talk to your parents, friends, and family. Ask around. You never know the extent of someone’s network.
8. What is the typical career path of the job?
Develop a plan. Find out how many years it will take you to get where you want to be. See if you need any advanced degrees to get there or even rise the ranks further (Note: Most of the time, there is no particular path in the sports industry, but you should still have a general direction you are headed in).
9. How much does the job pay?
You already know that you are not going to get paid a lot initially, but you still have to pay the bills. The answer to this question really should not matter if you are passionate enough about the job.
10. Have industry professionals written books that would give you better insights into the job?
Go onto Amazon and type in the sports job you want. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results. Getting an inside perspective from an expert will go a long way.
Written by: Michael Riley, Aspiring sports business professional and blog author