Sometimes all your sports job search needs is a little fine tuning. Most should have the motivation and the resources. Everyone, on the other hand, should have a defined set of goals. These goals will act as, not only a game plan, but also as a way of measuring the success of your search. But how realistic are those goals?

The most important factor in conducting and effective job search is the setting of realistic goals. Being the next general manager of the San Diego Padres may not be a realistic goal for most career seekers. But being the general manager of their minor league affiliate, the Fort Wayne TinCaps, may. It’s important to understand your own abilities and limitations. It is also as important to understand what the industry will allow. Developing a career game plan is important, but setting a realistic plan is even more important. The following tips will help you in developing a realistic game plan.

Know what you want

There are numerous fields in the business of sports. It is important to identify where your interests lie. Do you want to work in professional sports, college athletics, events, athletic representation, etc.? The next step will help you to determine whether or not you have the experience or background to perform that type of work. Don’t just pursue a position because it sounds “cool.” Do you have the ability to perform?

Identify the specific job

Once you have determined the field in which you’re interested, it is then important to figure out what your role will be in the sports industry. Is your interest in marketing, public relations, sales, operations, etc.? Once you have an idea of what your career goals are you can then begin to assess whether your skills and personality fit the position.

What does the job entail?

In order to choose the right occupation, you must first know exactly what the position entails. A marketing job for a minor league team may include sales, promotions, advertising and many other tasks, whereas a marketing job for a major league team may include marketing research and strategy. To find out what a job entails you must perform thorough research about the position. Talk to people who work in the position you desire. Find out what their daily as well as overall responsibilities are. Perform informational interviews. Network with people working within that field. Find out the skills, experience and education required to be considered for that position.

Evaluate yourself

Sit down and honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. How will your strengths help you in the desired position? Will your weaknesses reflect negatively on your chances of obtaining the position? Don’t pursue sports information if you hate to write. Evaluating yourself will also allow you to determine which areas of weakness you may need to improve upon. If you really want to work in sports information but lack solid writing skills, take a writing course or obtain an internship which will allow you to sharpen this skill.

Are you flexible?

Now that you have determined that this is the right career for you, remember that sports is a competitive industry with numerous applicants. Flexibility is a crucial qualification in the sports industry. It will broaden your opportunity for employment. Flexibility affects three areas: location; salary; and work hours. If you’re not willing to relocate or to work long hours at low pay, you may want to consider another profession or direction within the sports industry. Every position will vary. But if you’re looking to separate yourself from the competition, you’d better be flexible.

Create a plan of action

Sit down and write a course of action which will focus on getting the job you want. Use the resources, such as the Sports Market Place, to make a list of all the companies who may need someone with your skills. Send letters to each of the companies, follow-up with a phone call or email. Make yourself stand out from the other applicants. If you are patient and persistent, the job you desire may open up while you are demonstrating your skills in another job for the company. In other words, be willing to take the sales position while volunteering your skills for the position you desire and learning more about it. Be a renaissance person. The more you have to offer the company the greater your chances will be in obtaining a position.

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