‘If you want the job you have to be able to demonstrate just how much you want it’
It comes as no surprise that a large proportion of recent graduates looking to work in the sports industry, there is most interested in working for a Club or Team. A a recent poll conducted by GlobalSportsJobs revealed about 50% of respondents fall into that category. For spectators, watching your club or team perform stirs an immeasurable passion, however for those that want to make the move into developing a career specifically within Clubs and Teams, what’s the magic formula?
Tailoring your CV and application to a role in the specific club or team you’re applying to is imperative. It’s important to keep applications concise, but to highlight individual qualities that will make you stand out from a multitude of applicants.
‘For entry-level positions we’re looking for rough diamonds,’ says Ben Wells, Commercial Director at Reading FC. ‘We’re looking for enthusiasm, honesty, common sense and people skills. Just be yourself. But also be prepared – if you want the job you have to be able to demonstrate just how much you want it.’
There are various ways in which you can enhance your chances, such as building up your personal network and an online presence as a way of demonstrating your interest in a particular club or team and in the sector as a whole. Engage in conversation in social media channels but be very mindful of what you post and how you portray yourself online as this is information readily available to any future employer.
Work placements and internships – unpaid if a viable option –, volunteer work, not to mention an intuitive interest in sports, can be crucial. ‘It’s very competitive so you need to make things happen. If you’re just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring it will be obvious,’ says Wells.
For junior positions you won’t be expected to know everything – it’s a learning curve as in any other industry –, however, it’s important to know the organisation you’re applying to and not only in a fan-orientated way. As a supporter it may seem imperative to know who scored the epic goal in the final match of the 1982/83 season, but as a candidate your application will hold a lot more weight if you’re well-informed on the club’s social inclusion, education programme or financial fair play ruling, for instance.
Linguistic capability and studying for the right degree can be extremely advantageous, as with achieving quality results. The relevance of the degree can also help, whilst sport as a subject is not an imperative. According to Wells, ‘Qualifications such as the ESA Diploma are regarded as a mandatory qualification for those wishing to practice in any area of marketing connected with sponsorship.’ Other specific qualifications may be more relevant for other areas in the sector, so it’s well worth the research.
Ultimately, there is no set formula that will land you the job. It’s all about the effort put into an application and getting the right mix of skills and experience for a particular role and organisation. It is not important to know everything, but due to the competitive market preparation is key and never be afraid to seek advice.