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Submitted by: WISE Washington DC member | 6-15 years professional experience
How can I break into the sports marketing industry? I have over 8 years of marketing experience, but none directly related to sports marketing.
Moving across industries can be challenging but doesn't have to be if you approach it correctly.
First, identify where you would like to work (which companies specifically) and see whether you have any contacts who can connect you to anyone in those firms. Once you have identified some people to speak with, contact them and see if you can get 30 minutes with them to talk about breaking into sports, how they did it, and any suggestions they may have.
You should also do some research into how marketing is conducted in sports organizations. One thing that is very important in sports is protection and promotion of the brand — more so than in any other industry I have worked in — because of its high profile nature. This means the marketing team needs to be aware of whom they are partnering and with what companies or causes they wish to be associated. (Unfortunately, bad press in sport lives on much more publicly and for longer in many instances than corporate America.)
Finally, keep in mind that working in sports is very competitive. Make sure you stand out from the crowd of people applying. You need to be able to show what you will bring to the table that is unique or of value to that sport, particularly as you are coming from outside the industry.
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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