How Informational Interviews Can Turn Into Job Opportunities

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Use this simple job strategy to go for it!

We’ve all heard of someone getting a job that wasn’t posted or that we didn’t even know existed. What we don’t always hear is how.

Sports is a unique industry in the sense that jobs are posted year round with an influx at the start of every big season. Teams need seasonal interns and associates. Brands and other companies need summer, winter and spring interns. There are plenty of opportunities out there; you just need to find them.

Once you know that all of these jobs exist, you can start searching. Even if you don’t know exactly what roles are available, you can still begin your job search. You don’t have to wait till you see a job on Teamwork Online, Front Office Sports, or Jobs in Sports to start being proactive.

Side note: We need to, as a society, be more proactive in our lives. Proactive > Reactive

I digress. Point is, when you know you will be needing a job whether it’s for a summer internship or a full time opportunity, you have to be actively engaged in the sports community.

There are so many job strategies, but using this one in particular can help you find jobs that aren’t posted yet or won’t ever be posted. It’s called having an interest in others and a desire to learn also known as authentic networking.

Here’s what you do. Set up informational interviews or curiosity conversations with people at companies that you would like to work at or who have the job title you want.

How does this work?

It works because building authentic relationships keeps you top of mind and creates a sense of trust and respect. When you build a relationship with a desire to learn and a genuine interest, people will remember you.

As you follow up and develop the relationship, these people will often think of you first when it comes to a new job posting or opportunity. They might even bring up a new opening during your initial phone call!

Not every job is posted and while you shouldn’t just conduct informational interviews in hopes of finding a diamond in the ruff aka a non-posted job, you should be proactive in your job search.

Think about this strategy in two ways: best case scenario and worst case scenario.

Best case is that you meet someone new and they bring to your attention a new opportunity. This will only happen if you build a good rapport within the conversation, meaning you need to do your research and come prepared.

Worst case is that you meet someone new and you make a friend and contact in the sports industry. Best part about this is that even though they don’t have an opportunity right at that moment, they may be able to connect you with someone who does or keep you in mind for future opportunities.

Marissa Meli of the Green Bay Packers said it great during an #ElevateSports Twitter chat, “Don’t hesitate to cold call for an informational interview. My job wasn’t posted and many aren’t. Even if no job, new friend!”

This is why we have to be proactive and be genuine in our approach.

I know job searching isn’t the most fun or the easiest thing to do in the world. It can be stressful and time consuming. It can be rejecting and difficult.

But, if you use this strategy you will find new opportunities and build a stronger and deeper network that will ultimately help you on your journey.

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.

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