When you are starting out in any industry it is very rare that a job opportunity will come knocking on your door, so it’s important to ensure you are utilising all the available tools to try and land that sought-after position. Building a network of contacts can become an invaluable asset, so it's important to make sure you are ticking all the right boxes.
In the second part of this article, we will talk about social networking sites, blogs and discussions groups, and how to best make use of them.
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES AND BLOGS
In the digital age social media is everywhere. With more and more social media channels being launched or updated every year it has increasingly become a go-to place for job seekers; however, it’s important to fully understand the reach and appropriate usage for different channels and the implications of having an online presence.
Social networking sites have an enormous potential for personal branding, but it will only be as effective as the time you are prepared to invest in it. Having an up-to-date account is imperative or you will risk marketing yourself in an incorrect way.
It’s equally important to understand the different platforms available before jumping head-first – understanding the social media channels will help you decide which are more appropriate to utilise in your career plan and how to subsequently create strategies for each platform. For instance, social networking site LinkedIn is one of the most widely used platforms on a professional level and excellent for connecting with individuals you meet at conferences and seminars.
Whatever channels you decide are relevant you have to be prepared to actively engage – don’t just join or 'like' groups or company pages, make an effort to comment on current threads and express your opinion. Starting conversations on interesting sport-related content is an even better idea. If – and only if – you have enough time to dedicate, consider having your own website or blog; this can strengthen your personal brand even further by building a steady stream of followers who engage with the content you are publishing.
It’s crucial to always monitor just how active you become on social media and how you are positioning yourself – you don’t want it to work against you, especially as this is information readily available to any future employer. “Don’t be too active and beware that social media can be a double-edged sword,” warns Commercial Director at Reading FC Ben Wells.
Ultimately, harnessing the power of social media can not only help you build up your personal network, but also promote your personal brand and search for jobs within the sports industry.
FORUMS AND DISCUSSION GROUPS
Much like social media, forums and discussion groups are an excellent way of voicing your opinion and connecting with people with whom you share common interests. Sport, being solely a hobby to many, is an incredibly wide topic and there are many ways in which you can approach engaging within these platforms.
However, it’s easy to get carried away when discussing a topic of interest so it’s important to be mindful about what you are posting. Joining conversations is a good opportunity to push your ideas forward but that doesn’t mean you need to have a say about absolutely everything. Being too active can – and probably will – ultimately work against you.
A VALUABLE LESSON
It’s important to understand there is no one solution that will provide all the answers in how best to network in the sports industry. It’s about understanding the opportunities and limitations each tool provides and evaluating which can help you progress further in your career.
“At the end of the day making contacts is only part of the equation; the actual relationships help you to get ahead in the industry and these need time and effort invested into them," as David Wright, Marketing Director of Soccerex, wisely puts.
Missed Part 1 of this article? Click here.