Guest Article: So...You Want to be a Team President?
Charlie Slonaker is the VP of Ticket Sales & Service for the Philadelphia Union. Charlie became the VP after growing his career in MiLB, the NFL, MLS, & the NBA. He is known throughout sports as an excellent trainer and developer, and here's his advice for those looking to break into the sports industry, or looking to take the next step forward in their career.
Great! You have taken the first step toward beginning your career in the sports industry. But to be fair, that is the easy part. The hard part is actually sticking with it. Everyone wants to work in sports. But, if I look at all the people I went to school with for Sport Management, I can count on one hand, a little over a decade later, those who are actually working in sports today.
WHERE DO I BEGIN?!
You have made the choice that this is what you want to do. Now, stick with it for the long term! Life is all about priorities. Everyone has 24 hours in a day. It is your choice to decide how to use them. There may be some tough decisions ahead. You may not want to leave your friends and family for an entry level job that pays $25K and requires you to move across the country. You may prefer relaxing instead of practicing your sales script after a long day in the office. In the end, it’s pretty simple. The more choices you make that prioritize your career, the more opportunities you will have initially and you will have more growth potential in the long term.
HOW DO I GET THE INTERVIEW?
The average amount of resumes I’ve received for past jobs I’ve posted is 500. That is pretty deflating from the start, right? Keep in mind though that most people haven’t made the decision to be great like you have! Most people will submit their resume and call it a day. Not you! All it takes is a little effort. I’m talking about simple things like…
· Connections – check with your professors or other people in your network to see who they can connect you with to get the inside track.
· Resume – Trust me…looking at 500 resumes is the worst. Make yours stand out. Add a little color by adding the logos of teams you have done internships with. Also, be sure to hand deliver or ship your resume directly to the hiring manager.
· Follow up – reach out to the hiring manager via phone, email, and LinkedIn. They’ll appreciate your persistence, especially if you’re going after a sales job!
· Professionalism – It sounds simple, but don’t have any spelling or grammar errors in your resume or cover letter. If you are asked to do a Video Elevator Pitch, take your time and be creative with a well thought out and rehearsed pitch. Don’t submit garbage!
OKAY I GOT THE INTERVIEW, NOW WHAT?
Nice! It’s easy money from here on in. First, understand you never know what you’re getting with your interviewer. They could be highly skilled in the fine art of pulling information out of you, or they could have no idea and ask you a bunch of lame questions that don’t get at anything. Either way, be prepared to tell your story!
Take a look at the job description to see what the hiring manager is looking for. Now, build your case! Think about your best qualities and how they match up with the job description. List those 5-7 words on a sheet of paper and think of stories that illustrate those points. This is where you will really set yourself apart! The more vivid the story is, the more likely the interviewer will be to believe that you do actually have that trait.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT JUST GETTING YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR!!
Please, please, don’t tell them “you just want to get your foot in the door!” That is like nails on a chalk board for a hiring manager. They want someone who is going to be absolutely awesome, blow through the door, and be dedicated to their role.
Which reminds me…don’t forget what job you’re interviewing for! If you’re interviewing for a ticket sales job and they ask what department you want to work for in 5 years, don’t say Marketing! Say Ticket Sales!! If you don’t actually know what department you would like best, go work in Minor League Baseball where you will get experience in all departments. Just be sure to be a good salesperson in the interview and say you actually want to do the role you are interviewing for.
NOW, IT IS TIME FOR WORLD DOMINATION!
Okay, you’re in! Don’t screw it up! You have literally been given a golden ticket. Treat every opportunity in the industry as just that. Prioritize your own personal development and getting better at every turn. And finally, always hold true to your goal.