January 18, 2018

Take These 5 Steps Now to Prepare for a Career in Football


To kick off a regular season, each NFL team has to trim down to 53 players — but if you’re seeking a job in football, you don’t have to make the roster to work for the team. The NFL has been dramatically expanding its staff size in recent years, from 1,403 employees in 2009 to 1,858 in 2013, according to the Sports Business Journal. This includes workers from the league office, certain game-day operations, NFL Films and the NFL Network.

Of course, each of the league’s 32 teams has its own staff, too. For instance, the Minnesota Vikings’ front office includes owners, executive staff, consultants, administrators, player personnel specialists, equipment managers, medical staff, operations managers, food service directors, legal experts, video directors and assistants, security directors, sales and marketing managers, accountants, public relations managers and human resources specialists. Each pro and college football team employs similar staff positions.

If you want a job in football, the opportunities are there. Start building your resume now, so you can land a sports-related job when you graduate:

Study a Sports-Related Major

According to Forbes, the best entry-level positions to get into sports management are in sales, customer service and public relations. Recommended positions to get a foot in the door include group ticket sales representative, customer service representative, client service assistant, public relations assistant, marketing account associate, marketing analyst, e-marketing specialist and sports information assistant, college development representative and television researcher. Majors and degree programs that can lend themselves to getting hired for sports-related positions include marketing, communications, exercise science and physical therapy.

Start Building a Contact List

Sports marketing expert Mark Washo says building a list of contacts is one of the most important steps you can take toward getting a sports-related job. Sports executives look within their own network first when hiring, Washo wrote on SportsNetworker.com. Learn who’s who on the team you want to work for, and particularly, who makes hiring decisions relevant to the position you’re seeking. Team Web pages listing job openings may also mention the names of human resources personnel and their contact information.

Visit Networking Events

Attending sports networking events is an excellent way to start building your network of contacts. For instance, the sports industry’s largest marketing association, the Sports Marketing Association, holds its annual conference in Atlanta this October. The event features presentations by speakers such as Atlanta Falcons executive vice president and chief marketing/revenue officer Jim Smith. Other sports marketing conferences, football trade shows, speaking appearances by current and former coaches and players, awards ceremonies and charity events represent opportunities to build your network of industry contacts.

Write Articles on Sports Teams

Writing articles for a newspaper or blog based on interviews with people in the industry is another way to build your network of contacts and your resume as a football expert. Even without reporting credentials, you can land an interview using strategy and persistence. The first step is to know the football business, so you know whom to interview and what questions to ask. Follow sports columns and articles such as Dish’s lowdown on Black Monday scenarios to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest football news. Once you know who’s who and what questions to ask, the next step is to ask for the interview. This may take some research and persistence. Contacts at team public relations offices can help point you in the right direction.

Explore Job and Volunteer Opportunities

Seeking job positions and volunteer opportunities with your favorite team is another great way to make contacts. The NFL’s community outreach page includes links to each team’s community website, where you will find information about upcoming events that may represent volunteer opportunities. For instance, the Green Bay Packers community page contains information about team community outreach news and a calendar of upcoming events. TeamWorkOnline provides a page listing current NFL team job openings.

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