work in sports

Summer is near, and with that comes a rush of college graduates entering the workforce. For those who find work in sports shortly after turning their tassels, the first year of being in the workforce is very exciting.

It’s crucial to start your career off on the right foot. After all, your first year in the workforce is when you start building your professional reputation, developing your work ethic, and establishing meaningful goals for yourself.

The term ‘career management’ sounds intimidating. However, when you proactively approach establishing a plan, making career decisions, and adjusting to your changing career vision, you are better equipped to build a successful career.

So, here’s how you can make the most out of your rookie year:

Reflect Often

It’s easy to get caught up in the busy day-to-day of work and life, in general However, if you don’t slow down and recognize the positive aspects of every day, you may burn out.

In fact, a 2011 study published in the journal Science found that writing about test worries before taking the test improved performance. So if you’re stressed about an upcoming presentation, try writing about that stress. Acknowledging these fears helps you manage them.

Also, don’t overlook the benefits of reflection. At the end of each day, write about what you accomplished and identify what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Look for specific formats, like The Five Minute Journal, to give yourself some structure, or conduct a freeform writing session. Either way, journaling can help you manage emotions, reduce stress, visualize success, and encourage gratitude and positivity.

Think Long-Term

Employers want leaders. In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2016 Survey found that more than 80 percent of responding employers said they look for evidence of leadership skills on the candidate’s resume.

Even in the first year that you work in sports, start to think about your long-term goals. Consider how you want to learn and grow in the sports industry.

It’s never too early to learn from the best of the best. Ask senior employees about how they learned and grew, then create an action plan that gets you there.

Review this with them and establish a strong relationship. Not only are you building meaningful connections and expanding your network, but also you’re showing your passion and building a positive reputation.

Document Your Journey

As you start your sports career, use your online presence to share your growth. Start creating social proof on Day 1 by blogging about what you learn.

Let’s say you’re working as a baseball scout and you’re traveling to regional teams. Use your journal as inspiration to create content you want to share online.

For example, if you’re shadowing an experienced scout, ask him questions and write a blog about your conversation. Also, write posts on what you learn from traveling and prove your knowledge of talent and performance evaluation.

Social media gives you options to distribute this content. When you share your professional growth, you establish yourself as a humble learner who is passionate about your career track. Not to mention, it shows your enthusiasm for the sports industry.

Initiate Monthly Check-Ins

When you’re in the first year of your sports career, you want to be proactive in seeking out feedback. If you wait for your supervisors and managers to speak up, you may be left wondering where you stand.

This is not an uncommon situation. In fact, a September 2016 study from Leadership IQ found that fewer than half of employees know if they’re doing a good job.

If you’re wondering about your performance, you may experience a lot of stress and start to second-guess yourself. Instead, show how much you value your manager’s input by asking them for specific criticism.

Create a self-evaluation document that details how you’re growing and what you want to improve on. This way, if management doesn’t have time for a sit-down, you can present them with a document they can contribute to whenever their schedule allows.

Just like a rookie in the big leagues, you’re excited about new opportunities and focused on building a sustainable, successful career as you work in sports. With these simple habits and techniques, you’re setting yourself up for an awesome first year in the workforce.

How are you approaching the first year that you work in sports?