Twitter’s Role in Career Advancement

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When it comes to the sports business industry, it can be difficult for one to get their foot in the door. Truth be told, it’s even harder to climb the ladder as the years go on. Simply put, it’s no wonder why professionals of all ages continuously search for advice and words of wisdom that might help them gain a competitive edge in an otherwise challenging and constantly evolving realm.

One of those knowledge-seeking media members is journalist Colin Beswick, who covers the Boston Bruins for SB Nation’s Stanley Cup of Chowder blog — and unpredictably set the sports business world aflame by proposing an interesting question on Twitter last week.

More on that in a moment.

Leading what he would describe as an “interesting life,” Beswick spent six years in the military — including a deployment to Iraq — and worked briefly in politics. He also spent time on the Counter Drug Unit with the State’s National Guard, and finally got his business degree before embarking on a career in finance.

Now, Beswick finds himself in an incredibly unexpected role: successful sports journalist covering the hockey team he grew up rooting and cheering for.

“I like to call myself an accidental writer,” he said. “I stumbled into covering the Bruins after offering a critique of an article on the site I now write for.”

The site’s writer responded, asked for a rebuttal, and a career in sports journalism was born. Beswick, himself, still can’t believe it at times.

“Eighteen months ago, I didn’t have a Twitter, had never written an article or interviewed a player. Now, I’m building a relationship with my readers, I co-launched a podcast, just did my first major radio hit, and am generally just enjoying the journey.”

Now that he’s “made it” as a sports journalist (although he’d be the last to say it) he often finds himself being asked for advice on succeeding in the sports journalism industry.

“With no formal background, I never think of myself as being successful or influential enough to be asked that question,” Beswick stated. So he had the brilliant idea to “crowdsource” the question, turning to Twitter to ask his followers:

The response has been overwhelming, drawing hundreds of responses from those in the industry, including some pretty big names such as Scott Van Pelt and even best-selling author Stephen King.

Here are a few of our personal favorites — with a little bit of insight included.

Candid, refreshingly honest, yet ultimately encouraging. Others like Mike Payton and Jay Adams offered similar words of warning, reminding all out there that making it in the sports industry is certainly no easy task.

A great reminder from Veillette that it’s the passion and enthusiasm that will carry you through. Embrace the grind, be ready to work, and don’t expect sudden fame and riches.

Never assume you know it all, or that your way is better. Anybody willing to offer constructive criticism and feedback should be met with gratitude. That’s the only way to improve.

Remember that there’s more to life than just sports; versatility is key. You never know when that interesting tidbit or piece of trivia will come in handy. That makes your perspective that much more valuable. Also worth noting, “GIGO” or “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” Read good writing if you want to be a good writer.

Venture off the beaten path! Keep your eyes out for opportunities; sometimes even the most unexpected beginning can lead to great endings. Especially when you treat people well and thank them for helping you get there.

If only the rest of the sports business/journalism crowd were so noble. Here are two refreshing reminders about what you should really aspire to. And no, it’s not tweets, likes, and shares or some sort of viral sensation. It’s quality work that gets recognized and noticed.

A few sports business titans with great advice, not just for your career but life in general. Be real, be you, be authentic, and genuine. That’s the best way to really enjoy yourself and what you do.

Two of our favorite writers with perhaps our favorite words of wisdom. Hustle harder, go the extra mile, and take pride in what you do.

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After reading this entire thread, one common theme is abundantly clear: teamwork — and, more importantly, being a team player — is the backbone of any successful career in the sports industry.

Let’s keep the conversation going. Comment below with your favorite pieces of advice for succeeding in this business!