Step Up Your Game: Career Tips for Sports Business Professionals
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By Greg Santore, Principal, Sports Leadership Practice

The sports industry is a competitive field, and oftentimes the hardest part for young sports business professionals is getting playing time. Many talented people are endeavoring to get in the game—to get their first job or internship—and can use a little coaching to get there.

Greg Santore

Greg Santore

Last month, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel for an audience of young professionals at the Sports Industry Networking and Career Conference (SINC). The event was held at George Washington University, with my panel focused on the topic: “Human Resources: Tips to Landing Internships and Jobs.” Featured speakers included: Alan Gromest, HR Manager for the Washington Nationals; John Quinones, VP of Recruitment, Major League Baseball; Apryl Evans, Director of HR, Redpeg Marketing; and Michael Gettlin, Director of Compensation, National Basketball Association. Following are some of the quick tips this distinguished group had for young professionals, focused particularly on the interview process.

Alan Gromest, Washington Nationals: Make sure your resume has relevancy to the job, write a good cover letter, be careful to make sure you know how you were referred into the job and the relationships that this person has.

Apryl Evans, Redpeg Marketing: Do a lot of research before your interview. Know everything you can about the company and person you are interviewing with. Also, be confident but not arrogant in your interview, make contact, and sell yourself. Finally, be sure to make your resume memorable.

John Quinones, Major League Baseball: Drive the interview with good questions—don’t approach it as if you already have the job. In addition, don’t say you want to work there because you love sports; say what you bring to the table. In regards to Skype interviews, approach them like you would a face-to-face; look good and be dressed well.

Michael Gettlin, National Basketball Association: Make sure you walk through relevant experience in your resume. Never say “I will do anything you want me to” to get the job.

Additional Suggestions:

There are other pieces of advice that came up and never go out of style. In regards to your approach to a job search:

  • Always be networking.
  • When networking, know who decision makers are.
  • Continuously manage your brand.
  • Only apply for jobs you are qualified for.

When you are ready for the next round, an interview, be sure to know the answers to these questions:

  • Why should I hire you?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why is this the right experience for you?
  • What is it you are passionate about?

Finally, remember to label your electronic resume with your name. It’s surprising how many people send in a document and label it “resume” because that is how they file it on their computer. As a recruiter, I want to find you and your resume, not a general one or the wrong one, so please put your full name in the file name.  It’s an easy trick to improving your shot at a job.

Best of luck getting in the game!

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