Image Credit: danieljohnsonjrv
Looking for a job or internship? Here are five ways to help get you started in your search:
Before you can start applying, figure out where you want to work and what you want to do. Do you only want to work on the east coast? Just have your eyes on the NFL? However please note that the sports industry is a tough one to break into, you may very well need to be willing to move outside of your ideal geographic area or start your career with a league or team other than your top choice. So it wouldn’t hurt you to research other locations or sports that may be of interest even if they aren’t your top choice.
Once you know your goal, start researching. Learn where you can find about job openings. Research what it takes to get a job or internship in the field. Find people you can start networking with to help break into the industry. As I mentioned in this post about landing your dream internship, I never would have gotten my internship with the Wings if I had not researched in advance what it took to get one and made connections with people who could help get my foot in the door.
To get my sport internships with the Plymouth Whalers (OHL), Detroit Red Wings, and University of Michigan, I personally contacted the appropriate individuals (after doing plenty of research) and thus landed an interview when they were ready to hire an intern. Searching through job postings is still very valuable so I’m not discounting that avenue. Afterall, I got an offer for a media relations internship with USA Swimming last summer by following that route. I ended up interning elsewhere, but you can still land a job or internship by applying via an online job posting. I’m simply stressing how valuable it is to make a connection with someone already working at the company you want to be at. You can find those right people by taking the time to research.
2. Create an online portfolio.
Not only does an online portfolio/resume showcase your work and skill sets, but it also demonstrates that you understand this digital world that we live in. I find that it gives me an opportunity to provide more details about what I did with my past positions than what you could provide on a one-page resume. I also get to show off examples of my work, which you can’t provide when applying to some of those online job postings. Plus, you may find potential employers contact you after they come across your work.
Make sure that your resume and portfolio are up-to-date. Obviously some adjustments will need to be made for varying positions, but you want to have a solid foundation that is good to go when needed. Tomorrow, SPRB will show you how to go about creating that online portfolio.
3. Protect your personal brand online.
Many hiring managers will Google an applicant’s name before extending an interview offer. What will they find when they Google your name? Will they even find you or another person sharing your same name? Will they find images or text that would harm your search or would it help boost your profile?
Make sure that if you have a Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or LinkedIn profile that it would not harm your job search. I’m not saying that your Facebook or MySpace pages need to be cookie-cutter and boring, rather make sure you don’t have any pictures (e.g. embarrassing photos of you intoxicated) or references that could really hurt your chances. An old boss of mine once told me that he was going to hire a girl as an intern, but immediately changed his mind when he saw her MySpace page of her partying (and with athletes in the league she would work in). If you feel compelled to share these images with friends, please make sure your profile is as private as can be and even then you still have a risk of someone seeing it.
While on one hand a poor showing on one of those social networking sites could hurt you in your job search, it can also be an advantage to you if used correctly. Spend some time working on your LinkedIn profile because a recruiter or hiring manager could come across you that way. Be yourself when using Facebook or Twitter, but be conscientious in showing that you know your stuff and have a personality while doing so but still maintaining some level of professionalism. In addition, an understanding of how these social networking sites work may be an important requirement for a job in PR so it’s good to show that you get social media by your own pages.
4. Volunteer or intern.
Can’t seem to land a full-time job? Volunteer or intern (unpaid or paid) to fill the gap and show that you can remain productive even during a job hunt. If you choose the right organization to work with, it can help you with networking as well as offer you more experience for your resume and portfolio.
A paid internship will somewhat help with living expenses as you continue your job search. You can also try to find a job through a temp agency. I have a friend who was unable to find an engineering job, but is a temp with Verizon for a couple months. Is it her ideal job or what she thought she’d be doing when she graduated in May? No, but it’s helping her pay the bills and she still has time to search for jobs.
You’ve likely heard it said that it’s not what, but who you know. In the sports industry, this statement seems especially true. Obviously simply knowing the hiring manager or someone in a company you are interested does not automatically mean that you’ll land the job, but it might be the reason you get the interview. Your work experience, resume/portfolio, and interview will help you get the job, but you need the interview first. By making connections, you may learn about a position before it’s even announced on a job board or you may learn about a company that you would not have considered before.
On Thursday SPRB will talk about the importance of informational interviews for networking and later in the series offer up some networking tips.