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Baseball is officially underway as players report to Spring Training camps throughout Florida and Arizona. In the MLB, Spring Training consists of practices and exhibition games before the regular season starts.

It’s a great opportunity for players to focus on building their strengths, overcoming their weaknesses, and for brand new players to compete to earn position spots for the season. In other words, it’s an opportunity to grow and prepare for the long season ahead.

When you’re looking for sports jobs, you would benefit from some spring training of your own. Instead of sliding headfirst into job applications, take the time to warm up.  

Here is what spring training for job seekers involves:

Finding Your Team

Players run drills with their team and build a rapport with each player. Before you get serious about pursuing sports jobs, find your ‘team.’ This is a group of close supporters who can help you run drills, like practicing interviews, writing good cover letters, and exploring skills you need during your job search.

Your team should be varied — connect with mentors who can guide you, your ‘fans’ who cheer you on, and your peers who understand your current situation.

Networking is a must in the sports industry. While it seems intimidating, it can actually be fun. Plus, employers gravitate toward candidates with a lot of professional connections. Your involvement in the industry shows a high level of enthusiasm for sports.

More importantly, you can earn referrals. In fact, our survey found that 60 percent of employers say they give referred candidates more consideration than other candidates.

According to the survey, employers say the top three ways that candidates can expand their network are as follows:

    • Join professional organizations (29 percent)
    • Attend seminars and lectures (20 percent)
    • Attend industry events (19 percent)

You will also learn a lot about sports jobs and expand your knowledge of your niche when you attend industry events and meet professionals. This helps you branch out and pursue new opportunities.

Trying New Roles

During Spring Training, some players try new positions. You can do the same. No matter where you are in your job search, whether you’re stuck in long-term unemployment or passively looking for new jobs while employed, find the time to branch out to learn new skills.

Pursue learning opportunities in your current role or through volunteering and internships during your search for sports jobs.

Determine the skills gap that prevents you from earning your dream sports jobs, then align new opportunities with that gap. For example, you’re pursuing a media coordinator role, but you need to build your video editing knowledge. Start freelance video editing jobs on the side or volunteer at a media company.

As you explore new opportunities, you can determine a clear vision for your career. Most importantly, you will also develop relationships with leaders you respect.

Connecting with Coaches

Players work closely with batting coaches and they take hundreds of practice swings. They also engage with general managers, bench coaches, base coaches, infield instructors, and strength and conditioning coaches.

In other words, leaders are always available to help them build skills in each area of their profession. Find mentors who specialize in your field and build a rapport with them, but also connect with others who have different specialties.

For example, connect with a high ranking director of a specific department you’re interested in. Target someone who has your dream job, like a director of communications.

Then, find mentors in areas you’re specializing in, like media planning and media buying, brand strategy, and other niches within your chosen path. This way, you are ready to build specific skills that set you up for creating a sustainable, successful career in sports.

With a strong network, a close-knit group of mentors, and opportunities for learning, you’re ready to make the most out of your job search. It’s time to step up to the plate.

What are you focusing on during spring training? Share in the comments!

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