27 February 2012

Finding a job in sports: How hard could it be? (Part One)

This post is the first of two from one of our undergraduate students, Dan Williams, and the long and winding road he took to land his first job in professional sport. I hope to have more of these stories from different students and post them here to help younger sport management majors understand the process of finding work, to show older students that persistence will pay off, and to help everyone get motivated to find a position starting NOW. I will also ask recent graduates to write about their experiences as well in order to pull the curtain back on life after college. MEP


My Process of Landing a Job
By: Dan Williams

I could not have been more excited when I landed my first job after college with the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA). If you would have told me my freshman year that I would be graduating early and be working for the Orlando Magic, I would have probably scoffed and you and told you that was “not part of my plan”. Oh, how na├»ve I was (and still am, but aren’t we all?). 

The job application process was a long, tedious and stressful process for me, but looking back on it, the whole reason why I had the three interviews I did was because of the one word I disliked so strongly my freshman year—networking. Yet, it was because of my networking that I had an interview with the San Antonio Spurs, Sporting KC (formerly the KC Wizards), and of course, the Orlando Magic. My friend at the Spurs, whom I worked with during my time with the Southern Ohio Copperheads, made sure my resume got a good look. The Spurs gave me a call, and I also was able to interview with them in person while visiting my family for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, they needed me to start three months too soon, which is OK. Everything happens for a reason, or at least that is what I kept telling myself. It was my friend at the New York Yankees, Yao Williams, whom I met during my senior project in high school and have stayed in touch with since, or as Dr. Pfahl would say, “networked”. Anyways, Yao put me in touch with his friend who was the Manager of Sales Associates at Sporting KC. After a few emails were exchanged, we spoke on the phone for a while and he was very impressed. He told me to reach out to him once I was back in school and we would catch up. So, once I was back in school, we touched base and talked again. They were going to get back to me in a few more weeks to let me know if I got the job or not, but they wanted someone to start ASAP, which I can understand. Timing has never been my forte, and it was evident throughout this entire process…until positions opened up with the Orlando Magic.
     Before I applied for the position with the Magic, I emailed Yao to keep him in the loop as to what was going on with me finding a job. I mentioned the position with the Magic, and yet again, Yao knew someone with the Magic. He had me email him my resume and put me in touch with another one of his friends, whom he worked with during his time with the Charlotte Bobcats. His friend, Jamie, reached out to me and made sure I filled out their online application so I was in the system. I did so, and then a few days later I had my phone interview. It went OK, but I have had better phone interviews. I was told they would reach out to me if they wanted a second interview. I was hopeful, but not banking on being asked for a second interview.

                Much to my surprise, I was emailed to schedule a Skype interview. I was surprised more than anything, in addition to being a little relieved. I emailed a few of my professors, including Dr. Pfahl, with the hopes of using a webcam (quick plug—buy your own webcam, it would be a wise purchase). Dr. Pfahl was going to let me borrow his laptop and we were going to be good to go…or so I thought.

                The day of the interview, I was dressed to impress (naturally) and walked into Dr. Pfahl’s office ready to knock the interview out of the park. Then the internet was not working on his laptop. This was at 9:23AM, and my interview was at 9:30AM. I ran (literally) down to Professor Moran’s office, and fortunately he allowed me to use his webcam and his computer for my interview. The webcam was made in circa 2001, but hey, as long as it got the job done, I didn’t care. The webcam didn’t fit on the monitor, so I had to set it on Professor Moran’s desk. Talk about an awkward angle. When the Magic called, the audio wouldn’t work. They had to call me on my cell phone and I put in on speakerphone. Needless to say, I felt as if the technology gods were mocking me that day for their amusement. Aside from all of the technological shortcomings, the interview went well, very well. No questions caught me off guard, and I was able to let my personality show through all of the questions they asked me.
They told me I should expect to hear back from them within the next week. So I waited. And waited. And waited some more. 

-End of Part One-

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