If you read through my cover letter advice in Workshop Wednesday and How I Made My Internship Hiring Decisions, you’ll notice a lot of rants about people telling and not showing that they’re passionate about sports. I’ve given examples before about how to show and not tell in your cover letter, but today I want to focus on this idea of having a passion for sports that somehow translates to being successful working in sports.
I think there’s a big difference between being a passionate fan and being passionate about a sport in a way that translates to working in the industry. A passionate fan paints his chest every Saturday for the big game or keeps a box score at every game. Someone who’s passionate about working within a sport compiles experiences befitting a resume.
The easiest way to illustrate this is to show you a few examples of how I think I’m passionate about sports in a way that translates into my career:
- When I founded BusinessofCollegeSports.com, I got up two hours early every weekday and wrote a post before going into the office for my full-time job as an attorney. I’m not a morning person and I require a lot of sleep, which means I was so passionate about this website I was willing to lose sleep over it.
- Currently, I spend at least half my day every Saturday and Sunday researching and writing my book on the business of college football. I just moved to a new place one block from the beach a few weeks ago. I can’t overstate how much I love going to the beach. However, being passionate about college athletics and writing this book means I want to stay inside and work my book more than I want to go to the beach.
- I have spoken to students at over a dozen universities over the past year about networking advice related to working in sports. My current position does not allow me to accept speaking fees for this work or even to be reimbursed for gas, airfare or hotel rooms. However, I’m so passionate about engaging with students and sharing my networking advice that I choose to cover these costs on my own.
Show potential employers that kind of passion. That’s how you prove all the adjectives on your resume and cover letter. Anyone can say they’re dedicated or ambitious, but how many people can show it in a way that sets them apart from other applicants? Not many.
Last week at the NACDA conference I spoke with an AD about the cover letters I see and the students who email me with questions. We talked about telling and not showing, people who want to get into sports without starting at the bottom and a variety of other common mistakes people make while trying to get a job in sports. He said, “That’s the great thing about this industry. There’s a natural weeding out process.”
Don’t get weeded out. If this is what you really want to do, prove it!