Commencing a job search without a resume is like catching a line drive without a mitt. Hard and painful. And submitting a job application – online or in person – is pointless unless you include a resume that best reflects your experiences and shows what you’ll bring to a company. The sports industry is no different from the worlds of technology, insurance, marketing and finance; their business leaders want to hire employees who can do more with less and make an immediate impact. It’s true that a resume is only as good as the experiences that fill its pages but even the most amazing experiences are dulled when displayed messily on a resume.

Create a clean line resume. Though most are now handed out digitally, a visually stunning resume remains one of simplicity. A resume is a glanceable document where valuable pieces of information catch the reader’s eye. Make sure headers are clearly defined and there is spacing to break up the various sections. Standardize your resume with one type face but utilize various font sizes, bullets, italics and bolding to distinguish between employers, positions, work experiences and educational background. But leave out pictures, symbols or other distracting information that only makes your resume look messy. Once complete, scan the document from left-to-right and top-to-bottom and you should see columns and rows of information that makes your resume look planned out and easily readable.

Eliminate the vagueness. Resumes are meant to summarize years of experience in a couple short pages. No easy task. But using generalities when describing your responsibilities and experiences only leads to an organization passing you over for a potential dream job. Because employers search for people who fit their exact needs, a review of your resume must tell them what your responsibilities are, in detail. Instead of stating “manage others to develop marketing plans”, try “manage a dozen marketing associates to develop ticket sales promotional material”. Getting into specifics about the type of marketing you do, the budget totals you’re responsible for or which areas of the country you’ve scouted make you feel real to a hiring manager.

Use action words, results and keywords. This is not the first time you’ve heard this advice but it bears repeating. Passive voice, nondescript words and poor phrasing can ruin an otherwise content rich resume. Action words make for powerful statements when describing what you’ve done and how much you’ve accomplished. Power words like ‘develop’, ‘manage’, ‘launch’ and ‘design’ hold more value than ‘excellent’, ‘demonstrate’, ‘flexible’ and ‘ambitious’. Those power words start sentences that will inform a hiring manager or recruiter of past accomplishments and specific successes. The latter group of words in that list make for generic statements about your character traits. Anyone can proclaim they’re an ambitious over achiever and a flexible teammate but only certain people can state that they managed a budget in excess of $1 million or lead a team of eight to produce a daily sports radio show. Carefully read job descriptions for the positions you seek. You’ll find keywords in those descriptions that you should fit into your resume should they represent what you do. Learning the lingo and syncing your resume word usage up with the job market will ensure your resume pops up at the top of results when recruiters and hiring managers search sports job boards for prospective employees.  

Find sports relevant experiences. A resume must be everything to everyone. It proves useless if the content is amazing but the formatting is poor. But crafting a well designed, strongly worded resume with no valuable experience will lead to just as painful of a result. As you venture into the realm of sports and sports business, you may or may not bring sports-related experiences with you. Ideally, you have some level of experience to document in your resume as you begin your job search though. If it is drawn from the world of sports, all the better. But if your current or former industry is outside of sports, it likely still has value to add. Some of the past work you’ve done through internships, college jobs, full time positions and independent freelance work will somehow be relevant to what you want to accomplish in the sports industry. Find those connection points and document them in your resume to help a hiring manager see your value to a sports organization.

Never submit an error-filled resume. Your resume is well designed and full of great experiences and responsibilities. Before presenting it to potential employers, make sure it has been proofread multiple times by multiple people. The grammar, spelling, punctuation and formatting must be flawless. If bullets are misaligned or indentions and spacing are inconsistent, a resume is still incomplete. Printing out the document will help you visually locate these types of mistakes. Read the resume aloud from start-to-finish to find typos and other word usage errors. And ask friends and families to review it and point out inconsistencies or problems. If a hiring manager or recruiter finds these types of issues when reviewing your resume, you quickly drop to the bottom of their list. They know a resume is supposed to reflect some of your best work and seeing sloppiness within it is a major red flag. Your resume is visually stunning and has great content. Take the final step of double and triple checking it before it’s used to make an initial assessment of your value and worth to a company.  

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