How are things looking for your career in the year ahead? Do you feel valued and energised or are you feeling underpaid, unfulfilled or unable to reach your full potential in your current position? Maybe you’re fully committed to landing your dream role in 2019 but unsure how to do it?
Whether your job search is motivated by dissatisfaction or long-held desire, getting the position you really want can seem a daunting prospect. Competition can be fierce in the sports industry and even if you’ve identified an organisation you’d love to work for, their doors can seem frustratingly impenetrable.
The worst possible course of action though, is to sit tight, do nothing and keep dreaming. Breaking your big ambition into small, achievable actions could break down the barriers separating you from success.
The first bit of good news is that, in this digital age, people at sports governing bodies, federations and clubs are more accessible than ever before. Jump on this opportunity and start taking action. Here’s how…
Connecting online with helpful contacts, family members and friends (and friends of friends) may not seem all that significant, but that little ‘online handshake’ can plant your name in their subconscious for when appropriate job opportunities do arise.
The idiom, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ still rings true. In fact, ‘It’s who you know – and who they know’ is even more apt. The sports industry is very interconnected, not only within each sport but increasingly there’s crossover of ideas, resources and people between sports too. Your personal network, therefore, holds far more potential than you think, but you must stay active and engaged within it.
GlobalSportsJobs is a great place to start researching and networking, it has the obvious advantage of being specific to sport. Opening a GlobalSportsJobs account connects you to organisations regularly seeking to recruit across 10 functions and sectors in the internationally sports industry.
Keep in contact
Whenever you have a meeting with external contacts, send a follow-up email or LinkedIn message, thanking them for their time, and even follow them on Twitter. That (hopefully!) good first impression you made on them may be a crucial foot in the door if your dream job comes up, in the future.
Take a direct approach
Identify online the people working in your desired area of sport. Make contact and ask if they want to meet up for a coffee so you can pick their brains. Ask them, ‘How can I help you?’. This may not bear fruit immediately, but when a vacancy does come up, they’ll remember that effort to make personal contact and it will help you stand out amongst their bulging inbox of CVs.
Raise your profile
Talking of CVs, it goes without saying that it should look modern, professional and your covering letter should not only ooze enthusiasm but be customised, telling the company what you love about them, how you can help them, and how your experience, unique skills and personality make you a perfect fit.
Find a mentor
Taking the direct approach one step further, you could seek out a willing mentor to guide your professional development and expand your knowledge. Use them as a sounding board, mine their wisdom and experience (and – if they’ll let you – their network!).
Mentoring is more common in sport than other industries and the very act of being mentored is clear and demonstrable evidence for an employer of your willingness to progress and evolve. It’s also a two-way street; the process expands the mentor’s skill set and he or she will hopefully learn from you in return!
Research success stories
If you’re targeting a specific job title, it’s a good idea to search online for people that are currently working in a similar role. What route did they take to get there, and what do you need to do to follow a similar path? Study their Linkedin profile and social media accounts; do your qualifications, experience, achievements and online presence match theirs?
If you’re able to identify obvious differences between yourself and these successful candidates, then you have identified what you need to concentrate on. There are part-time internships, courses, online training and volunteering opportunities that could help you build the skills and/or experience you need? Those key missing words on your profile could be added by investing some time, shrewd research and ingenuity.
Coveting your dream job in sport is pointless unless you stop dreaming and begin taking action. Nowadays, there are so many ways of increasing your network of relevant contacts, and by investing time in that network you will increase your opportunities, and be on the road to a rich and fulfilling future.
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