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You’re scrolling through job boards, applying to all the sports jobs that sound interesting. Every day, dozens of applications go out and you get nowhere.

This is exhausting and can lead you to burn out quickly. It’s also inefficient. Odds are, you’re wasting a lot of time and energy on pursuing sports jobs that aren’t the right fit for you.

Focus on narrowing down each aspect of every opportunity you find. Think of it like a March Madness bracket, where you compare teams and predict who will win. In terms of your job search, compare different criteria to find what matters most to you in your work.

Use these criteria to narrow down jobs to apply to. This way, you’re putting your full energy into landing an interview for just the sports jobs that fit you, your lifestyle, and your career goals.

Here’s criteria to consider:

Total Compensation

Money isn’t everything, but it certainly plays a big part in your sports career. You want to determine your value and research salary information for prospective jobs.

Find a salary range that aligns with your skills and profession, but don’t forget to factor in the benefits employers offer. Sometimes, while the salary might be lower in one job, the benefits package will actually put more money in your pocket.

If your insurance premium is less with the lower paying job and you also get student loan repayment, your paycheck will be smaller but your expenses will also shrink.

Researching employers is an essential part of your job search strategy. Look for what kinds of benefits each potential employer offers. Common benefits include health insurance, paid time off, retirement options, stock options, tuition reimbursement, and employee assistance programs.

Location

This is especially important if you’re considering relocating. Determine what your life would look like in the short- and long-term.

Does the area provide a lot of options for work in case you want to keep moving forward? Cities like New York City, Dallas, and Boston have big sports cultures, so there is a lot of opportunity there. If you’re trying to get into niche jobs in certain companies, like tech, look for areas where tech sports companies are booming, like San Francisco or Denver.

Also, determine the quality of life you can expect. Research important aspects like crime rates, education, local politics, and unique features of the community. Make a list of areas you think you fit into and want to live.  

Commute

One of the biggest obstacles many professionals face is the dreaded commute to work. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau found that it now takes the average worker 26 minutes to travel to work.

Aside from commutes being a hassle, they’re actually not good for your overall well-being. In fact, a 2016 report from the Royal Society for Public Health found that 55 percent of UK commuters say they suffer increased stress due to their commute and 41 percent say the commute reduces their physical activity levels.

Another factor to consider when you’re looking at your commute is the cost. For example, if you’re commuting in New York City, the average cost of your public transportation is $117 per month, according to July 2017 research from Statista.

If long commutes aren’t for you, filter out sports jobs that require them. Also, look for flexible work arrangements, like working from home or flexible hours. Remote work might fit your wallet, lifestyle, and your personality.

Culture

Pursuing sports jobs at companies that don’t match your values is a waste of time. You will feel disconnected from the organization and eventually look to jump ship.

Instead, find the workplace cultures that fit you. Identify your personal values and what you want to see in a culture. Then, research potential employers.

Visit their Linkedin pages, Glassdoor profiles, and career webpages. Typically, employers will give job seekers an inside look at what it’s like to work there. If not, employees will share their perspectives on Glassdoor.

If you can’t find much from the employee perspective, connect with their current employees on Linkedin to ask questions. An insider’s view will show you the good, the bad, and the ugly. With an authentic representation of the culture, you’ll know exactly what sports jobs to pursue and which ones to pass over.

Growth Opportunity

Don’t settle for dead-end jobs. If you have professional goals in place, then identify how each sports job will impact your journey.

Explore how you can eventually advance within the company. As you research the culture, look for evidence of professional development. Employers often promote development programs if they’re offering advancement opportunities.

By exploring each criteria of sports jobs, you’re able to filter through job boards and find the ones that fit you the best.

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