Ep.021 Athlete Story Podcast

How to land your dream job in the sports industry ft Brian Clapp from workinsports.com

Brian says that, when looking for jobs after retiring, athletes tend to focus on what they haven’t got rather than what they have got. He thinks that athletes don’t leverage their sporting background enough. Core skills like leadership, teamwork, time management and competitiveness are what companies are looking for. You can teach practical skills to do the job, but you can’t teach what’s inside of you. Sportspeople are naturally passionate and dependable, two key traits which Brian says form part of the ‘athlete’s spirit’.

Brian acknowledges that former athletes may lack experience in the job market when they come to find employment after sport. However, he affirms that this can be counteracted by having a strong network, a good personal brand, and a story to tell. In addition, retired sportspeople should draw upon their innate coachability. Show your potential, your willingness to learn and your ability to overcome challenges. Brian jokes that this is a much more productive way of saying: “I don’t know how to do this.”

Finding the right job is crucial for ex-athletes to continue feeling whole in their career. Brian encourages you to informally read job descriptions and discover what piques your interest. There is an array of natural progressions such as: marketing, sales, sports analysis, scouting and coaching. Whatever path you choose, make sure that it harnesses that ‘athlete’s spirit’.

But a tip that I really loved was to actually “study” job descriptions in general to reverse engineer a great application.

Most former athletes have little experience in job interviews. Brian says that how you carry yourself is extremely important – putting emphasis on showing a certain degree of humility. It’s possible for ex-athletes to be too cocky. Even if you’ve previously had a high-level professional sports career, it’s inappropriate to act as if you’re superior. Show humility and respect to a new work environment.

Brian Clapp - work in sports

Brian Clapp 

VP of Content and engaged learning at www.workingsports.com

“Athletes have extreme advantages against other people looking to work in the sports industry. So often, they think about skills that I haven’t been able to develop. Rather than realising the achievements and skills they have gained. There are soft skills, and then there are majorly important skills like: teamwork, leadership, time management, coachability and competitiveness. That’s what employers look for.

I interview sports execs across the world. When I ask: “What are you looking for when you hire someone?” They universally say that they can teach anyone skills to do a job. But they can’t teach them what’s inside of them. You cannot teach anyone dependability, passion or good listening.

All these things I’ve mentioned are apart of the ‘athlete spirit’. This is exactly what an athlete is. They’ve grown up this way. They’ve had to manage their life and time in a different way. They’ve had to be dedicated to training. These are huge attributes which can transfer to many sections of the sports industry.

So much is opportunity open to ex-athletes, simply because they have a special mentality. That alone puts them ahead of so many other people.”

Video soundbite

How to land your dream job in the sports industry - Brian Clapp

About our guest

Over the last two decades years Brian Clapp has been a fixture in the sports industry as a speaker, podcast host, content marketer, news director and sports producer. After beginning his career as a sports producer in Atlanta for CNN/Sports Illustrated, Brian switched coasts moving to Seattle to become the News Director for Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, he began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and eventually becoming the VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkInSports.com. By creating various forms of content related to professional development in the sports industry - including podcasts, online courses, videos and speaking engagements across the country - Brian has become a highly sought after thought leader for the sports industry. 

READ the transcript of full interview by clicking here.