Women in Sports and Events
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Insights: How to Get Your Foot in the Door in Event Planning

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Question

Submitted by: WISE Atlanta member | 0 years professional experience

I am a student about to graduate from college and am interested in having a career in event planning/sales in the sports industry. What are some suggestions as to where I should start or what entry level positions I should look for to "get my foot in the door?"

Answer

Congratulations on graduating college. That’s a great achievement. As you are still in college, I would perhaps first use the career office to see what resources they have to connect you with an organization that would fit your goals.

Compile a target list of companies you want to work for and make contact with people there. If you have a LinkedIn profile, then use that to connect to people in your target companies. (If you aren’t on LinkedIn, set up an account — it is an important tool in your career.) Research the companies to see how they hire people and what type of roles they have; that should help you narrow down your choices.

Consider other people in your life who may have connections at those firms (or others) that could be helpful, e.g., friends, family, friends of friends. You will be amazed who may be connected to someone who can help you, even if it’s not for a specific role, but for advice. Grab every meeting you can because you never know where a conversation will lead.

Prepare before each meeting. Be very clear about what you can bring to a role, what skills you have, and where your interests lie. Don’t simply say, ”I want to work in sports.” Say what it is about the business of sports that interests you; that will help the person you are meeting with. And don’t ask them for a specific job; ask for advice about how to approach your career. People love to talk about their careers and give advice, so show interest in them and their company. By asking for advice, you are opening up the conversation and the relationship further. If you ask for a job, they will likely shut down if nothing is currently available.

After each meeting, ask who else they would suggest you meet. Always follow up with a thank you note and let them know later when you do find something. If you participated in an internship, then reconnect with those you worked with as well.

It’s pretty competitive trying to break into sports but take every opportunity to network and you will find something. Good luck!

Jane Hollman

About Jane Hollman

Jane Hollman has more than 25 years experience in senior human resources roles at large multinationals and sports across Asia Pacific and the United States. Currently a career coach, she helps business leaders and university students think through their career paths. Hollman is passionate about creating flexible, innovative work places and mentors women looking to start their own businesses. She is also a freelance writer covering the business of sports for publications such as Women Talking Sports.

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