28 February 2012

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

This is the second part of Dan Williams' story about his experiences finding his first job. When we last met Dan, he was waiting...

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Then, as I was walking to my intermural basketball game on Tuesday, January 31st, I received a phone call from a Florida number at 4:57PM (yes, I remember the exact date and time…deal with it). The first thing that ran through my head was, “Well, here we go.” I answered and it was the Senior Recruiter from the Orlando Magic. Here is a summary of how the conversation went:

“Hello, this is Dan.”

“Hi Dan, this is Karen from the Orlando Magic. How are you? Is this a bad time?”

“Well…I’m in my sweatpants, so I’m not professionally dressed…is that OK?”

 “(Chuckling)No, no, that is quite alright! I wish I was in sweatpants right now. Anyways, Dan, I have some exciting news for you. We would like to offer you a Ticket Sales Representative position with the Orlando Magic! What do you say?”

“You just made my day! I have a smile from ear to ear right now! Thank you so much! My initial inclination is to say ‘yes’, but let me check in with my family and get back to you.”

“OK! Let us know by Friday.”

After calling my parents and telling them the news, they were ecstatic and wanted details on the position. So I sent them my offer letter and the benefits, etc. They said to jump at this opportunity and run with it.

I officially accepted a couple days later and everything has been a whirlwind since. Between finding a place to live (which I recently have taken care of), finding a truck (which has also been handled), spending as much time with my friends as I can before I leave Athens, and classes, the last month has been a blur, but I have loved every second of it. The biggest thing I have realized throughout this entire process is how blessed and fortunate I am to have such a loving and supporting family, amazing friends (and saying that is an understatement), and professors here at Ohio University who care an enormous amount about the success of their students. 

                If I could give any advice to younger students hoping to break into the sports industry, it is to befriend as many upperclassmen as you can and STAY IN TOUCH WITH THEM—AKA NETWORK. Instead of spending hours on facebook, email them once a month, call them. Hell, write them a letter checking in every now and then if you really want to stand out in a crowd. This will only help you out in the long run. Look at me—I wrote Yao a thank you letter after I met him four years ago, and have actively stayed in touch with him ever since and he is the man responsible for getting me a job. Also, BE PROACTIVE! Don’t be that person who waits for things to happen, go make things happen! If you want something badly enough, find a way to make it work, and don’t stop until you get to where you want to be. Yes, it may be hard, challenging and frustrating at times, but guess what—if it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. 

-End-

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

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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-