Having worked in college athletics, minor-league baseball, and radio/television organizations, I ask young people three questions that they must answer “YES” to before pursuing their dream job in the sports industry.
1. Are you willing to network and stay in touch with everyone you meet in the industry?
Like most industries in high demand (music, entertainment, fashion, etc.) having a contact in the industry is very important in separating yourself from the masses. Conducting information interviews with people in positions you aspire to become and then staying in touch with them is critical in the process to identify the “hidden” job market.
2. Are you willing to work and live anywhere, and I mean anywhere, like North Dakota?
A willingness to relocate is essential because usually there are limited opportunities in the industry of your current geographic location. Moving to less desirable cities shows your commitment to the industry and provides valuable experience that will prepare you for the next position.
3. Are you willing to work long hours, nights, weekend, holidays for low or sometimes no pay?
It’s simple supply and demand. There will always be someone willing to work longer and cheaper than you will. Why? Because of the demand of people wanting to break into the business and no specific skill sets needing to enter the industry, there are many substitutes for talent. Also, once the novelty of working in the industry wears off and the reality of bills, mortgages, marriage, and kids arrives, one must question if the return on investment is worth the excitement of being in the industry.
No one wants to dampen a career aspiration, but a dose of reality from people who have gone before is helpful in determining if one wants to make the leap into a highly-competitive industry. Saying yes to networking, relocating and average compensation is critical in moving forward in this career.