By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Michael is in his first semester of his master’s degree in Sports Management. One of the classes he is taking is a course that provides an introduction to the sports industry. In addition to their textbook, the class is using the book “Getting Hired in College Sports” as a supplement. It provides the students with the techniques and strategies they need to successfully become employed in the sports industry.
Michael was excited about today’s lecture because it was on a topic he knew was important to his future, but knew little about. Today’s lecture was on the need to network within the sports profession.
The professor began the class session by encouraging each of the students to begin networking and making contacts with professionals in the industry. Intrigued by this comment, Michael asked “what do you mean by networking and how do you do it?” The professor responded by sharing that “networking is the act of building personal relationships with colleagues within your profession. It usually starts when you meet someone within the profession, and as time passes, your relationship with them grows stronger and develops into a professional relationship.”
He continued by saying that networking is the most effective way of getting a job. In fact, it is estimated that 65-70% of all jobs are found through personal referrals or networking connections. This is because when you know the person who is doing the hiring, or you know somebody who knows the person doing the hiring, you are at an advantage over the other applicants. However, networking is much more than just meeting people so you can get a job. It is a planned process where you interact with people and build alliances.
There are several strategies you can use to build a strong professional network. These include, but are not limited to:
- Being active in meeting other colleagues by attending professional activities such as regional conferences, national conventions, and league meetings.
- Being active in social gatherings.
- Having informational interviews where you seek guidance and insights into the profession.
- Meeting opposing coaches and athletic administrators at your team’s sporting events.
- Seeking the guidance of a mentor.
As you attend these events and activities, you will meet potential colleagues. And when you meet these people you will want to introduce yourself, show interest in them, ask them if they have a business card, and stay in contact with them on a regular basis. The key is that you cultivate these connections and build alliances.
And as you build these alliances, you will meet their friends and expand your network. As your network grows, you enhance your chances of getting hired. This is because people want to hire people they know.
Creating a strong network takes time and effort, and the sooner you begin, the sooner you will get hired. Therefore, don’t put off networking because you think its payoff is too far into the future. Instead, be smart about your career and begin the networking process right away.
Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.sportscareersinstitute.com or his new book Execute for Success at www.execute4success.com.
The #1 Sports Jobs Book
In Getting Hired In College Sports you will discover:
- The types of jobs that exist in college sports
- How to plan and navigate your career
- How to create an effective job search campaign
- The proper way to create an effective resume, cover letter, and sales pitch
- How to properly brand yourself
- Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
- How to properly prepare yourself for the five types of interview questions
- How to properly follow-up after the interview in order to influence the decision of the hiring manager
Only $23.95 – Click Here To Purchase
“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators. A must read for anyone whom has a goal of working in athletic administration”
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University