One second you’re a bright eyed frosh and the next you’re graduated and on the job market. I normally love markets, but I can safely say this one isn’t my favourite. When I began searching for a job I had absolutely no idea just how difficult landing a job in the sports industry would be. The forewarnings that came from all directions honestly fell on deaf ears and I wouldn’t be surprised, or hold it against you, if my next words do the same.
Here’s the thing, I began building my resume in grade 12 when I started working with the Sudbury Wolves. After my first year of university I interned with the London Knights, one of the biggest franchises in the CHL. I was brought back the following spring for the Mastercard Memorial Cup. The Wolves hired me full-time after only my second year of university to fill a maternity leave contract. Then I interned with GranFondo Canada, a cycling company planning events in Banff and Whistler. I landed a position with the Vancouver Canucks in Media Relations, where I found my passion. My degree allowed me to gain consulting opportunities, adding names like the Toronto Blue Jays and MetLife Stadium to my resume. I didn’t just do my job but I flourished in each role, built really genuine connections, and left my mark.
And then I graduated and began applying for jobs. You could accurately say that post-graduation I felt a sense of entitlement; I deserved a job with a professional sports team right off the hop. Why wouldn’t I deserve that? I had worked my ass off to gain experience and build a network, but I failed to grasp the amount of competition I would face, who too had fantastic resumes, great experience, knew a few people, and wanted to work in sports. They deserved these jobs too.
My goal from my rambling is develop enough credibility that maybe my words won’t fall on deaf ears, like they did for me. So after reflecting on what I’ve learned since graduation, here is what I have to say about the job hunt…
Landing that dream job will not happen overnight. It will take countless hours, many applications, many interviews, and many rejections. Just like in sports some losses will be harder than others; I’ve learned that you need to be flexible and resilient.
Figure out what your goals are. Do you want to work in Ottawa in sports or do you want to work in marketing? If you want to live in a certain city or work in a specific organization don’t be dead set on a single position or department. Be willing to start in areas that aren’t your first choice because there will be more opportunities internally. If you know what you love and want to focus on a certain area then be willing to move to cities with openings. Be willing to start in sports that aren’t your first choice, with the plan to slowly move your way closer to your goals.
Great candidates and great resumes get beat out all the time by stronger candidates and stronger resumes. And sometimes, the hiring process is flawed and this isn’t the case. Whether you end up finding the reason why someone was chosen over you or you never find out, embrace the saying water under the bridge. Reflect on it, learn from it, accept it, forget it, and move on.
You are not in control of everything. As you apply for jobs there will be so many variables out of your control, like who is applying, the experience they have, who they know, what the employers are looking for, etc. Worrying about it is pointless and causes unnecessary stress. Think about the things you can control whether it be furthering your schooling, starting a new project, volunteering, or reaching out to people to sit down for a coffee to build your network and learn. Maybe it’s focusing your energy on travel or self-exploration. Whatever it may be forget about what you can’t control and find happiness and achievements in all of the things you can.
Some people get lucky and land their perfect job right away, but others have to take a windier road. Whatever your path is, my final piece of advice is to remember that everything happens for a reason.
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