If You Want to Get a Job in Sports - Read This.

When was the last time you came across a passage that you felt was so compelling that you wanted to share it with all of your friends and colleagues in the industry? For some, this exercise takes place every day. For others, just once or twice per year.

I recently had an opportunity to read Seth Godin's latest New York Times bestseller, Linchpin, and there was one particular section that I felt was truly insightful and applicable to all sports business professionals, notably job seekers and those looking to take that "next step" in their career.


I wanted to send a special thanks to Jason Belzer of GAME, Inc. for thinking of me and sharing Linchpin - what a terrific read. If you have a moment, check out all of the terrific things that Jason is doing with GAME Inc., including the launch of a company new website

Do You Need a Resume?

This is controversial, but here it goes: if you’re remarkable, amazing, or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all. If you’ve got experience in doing the things that make you a linchpin, a resume hides that fact. A resume gives the employer everything that she needs to reject you.

Once you send me your resume, I can say, “Oh they’re missing this or they’re missing that,” and boom, you’re out. Having a resume begs for you to get a job as a cog in a giant machine. More fodder for the corporate behemoth. That might be fine for average folks looking for a average job, but is that what you deserve?

The very system that produced standardized tests and command-and-control model that chokes us also invented the resume. The system, the industrialists, the factory … they want us to be cogs in their machine – easily replaceable, hopeless, cheap cogs.

If you don’t have a resume, what do you have? How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects? Or a sophisticated project an employer can see or touch? Or a reputation that precedes you? Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?

Some say, “Well that’s fine, but I don’t have those those.” Yea, that’s my point. If you don’t have these things, what leads you to believe that you are remarkable, amazing, or just plain spectacular? It sounds to be like if you don’t have more than a resume, you’ve been brainwashed into compliance.

Great jobs, world-class jobs, jobs people kill for – those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes.

The only way to prove (as opposed to assert) that you are an indispensible linchpin – someone worth recruiting, moving to the top of the pile, and hiring – is to show, not tell. Projects are the new resumes. If your Google search isn’t what you want (need) it to be, then change it.

Change it through your actions and connections and generosity. Change it by so over-delivering that people post about you. Change it by creating a blog that is so insightful about your area of expertise that others refer to it. And change it by helping other people online.

Brian Gainor - Climbing the Ladder in Sports

Partnership Activation's Brian Gainor spoke at the 2009 Ohio University Sports Business Forum about creating a comprehensive plan to guide one's career in the sports industry. The presentation was part of a terrific event, put on by the Ohio University Center for Sports Administration, that featured some of the sharpest minds in the sports indusy.

Gainor touched on six key points throughout his presentation:

  • Think of Yourself as a Brand
  • Understand the Sports Landscape
  • Networking is Not an Option
  • Get as Much Experience as Fast as You Can
  • Learn. Learn. Learn. - Education is Key
  • Do the Little Things That Make a Big Difference

Watch the presentation below:

Check out some recaps (and hopefully videos soon) of the event's other speakers:

If you are considering going to graduate school to further your sports business career, Ohio University should rank at the top of your list.

Why Ohio University?

1. The Curriculum: The MBA/MSA combination
The two-year MBA/MSA program prepares students for leadership positions by combining the business teaching of the Ohio University MBA program with sport-specific knowledge during the MSA program. This degree combination recognizes the growing complexity of the sports, facility and entertainment industries, and reinforces Ohio University's commitment to preparing students for the leadership challenges of the future.

The MBA phase of the program uses a problem-based learning style, immersing students in collaborative projects and working situations that are commonplace in the business world. Students learn basic business concepts in a real-life context, and develop skills in communication, collaboration and teamwork that are essential for success, while developing their ability to be creative, take initiative, and accept personal responsibility for their actions.

The MSA program combines classroom and practical experience to prepare individuals for leadership positions in the sport industry. An interdisciplinary approach gives students the freedom to choose courses of personal interest and build a foundation of knowledge in their desired career fields.

2. SAFM Alumni Network
More than 85 percent of Ohio University's 1,200 graduates are employed in key positions within intercollegiate athletics, professional sports, public assembly facilities, sports tours, motor sports, corporate sports organizations, sports media, and the entertainment industries. The loyalty of their alumni and the reputation of the program translate into a wide variety of excellent internship and employment opportunities. 

3. Practical Learning Opportunities
Learning also take places outside the classroom as students work on class projects, such as the program’s annual alumni symposium and various opportunities offered by the Ohio University Athletic Department.

4. International Diversity
The program’s reputation has grown on both the national and international levels, attracting students from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, India, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Taiwan and Thailand. Our international diversity provides a valuable perspective as the sport industry becomes increasingly globalized.