Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Do you take advantage of every opportunity to get your foot in the door of the sports world?

I easily meet over one thousand students a year at my speaking engagements. I converse with hundreds more of you on Twitter, by email and on this blog. While I hear from a good number of you, I’m always surprised at how many of you I don’t hear from.

At my last speaking engagement, I spoke before over 100 students. I told them to feel free to email me with any questions or just to introduce themselves. I said this after explaining how important it is to network. Based on previous experience, I told them a group that size would likely produce just two emails and how I’m always amazed how few students take me up on my offer.

The organizers of the speaking engagement were shocked with my prediction. They were sure I’d hear from more of their students.

In the end, I was wrong. I didn’t hear from two students, I heard from four. Out of over one hundred.

It’s not just the students I’ve spoken to on campuses either. Each week when I email the Workshop Wednesday participant, I tell them I’ll review a revised cover letter for them.

Not one person has ever sent me their revised letter.

I don’t require praise or even thanks for my speaking engagements or advice given here on my blog. (And for those looking for a speaker, I don’t require a speaking fee or travel reimbursement for school-related speaking engagements either.)

This isn’t about me. It’s about taking advantage of every opportunity. I’m willing to say that nothing will help you get a job in sports more than meeting people, keeping in touch and letting them know your goals. Nothing.

If someone in the industry invites you to ask them a question or tell them about your future plans or let them review your resume or cover letter, do it. You never know where it’ll lead. The sports industry is very interconnected. It seems no one is more than a degree or two away. Seriously, I’ve seen it on LinkedIn.

That’s how people get jobs. Virtually every person I’ve met who works for a professional team or college program landed at least one job because someone they knew recommended them or hired them. When these organizations have an open position they often send out an email to friends in the industry asking for recommended candidates. Sometimes the job is never even posted publicly. How are you going to get those jobs?

Not everyone who wants to work in sports gets a job. I’d go so far as to say probably half the people who want to work in sports never get to, maybe more. You must take advantage of every opportunity to stick your foot in the door.

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