How to get unstuck and write your own career map

The confidence that comes with shooting at a stationary target is a wonderful thing.

When I was a kid, my friends and I would see how many shots we could hit with our eyes closed from various spots on the basketball court. Rarely did the shots ever go in, even though we might shoot 50% from those same spots with our eyes open.

make a map shooting baskets

The play-by-play job market can be the same way – like you’re taking shots in the dark. When I was working in McPherson, KS, I applied for play-by-play jobs ranging from the Kentucky Wildcats to the Wichita Wranglers.

I never heard back.

Have A Map

We all face these periods, don’t we? We know the play-by-play jobs we want but we don’t know how to get there, we don’t know what employers are looking for, we don’t know how to make ourselves memorable and we don’t know how to introduce ourselves to the people making the decisions.

We need a map to guide us from where we are to where we want to be.

Write your career map.

Do you ever leave home without knowing how to get to where you are going? If you don’t already know, you ask Siri or look it up on Google. You get a map.

So many people apply for dozens of jobs armed with nothing more than hope. Instead, get yourself a map.

Not always knowing who is evaluating your application and what they are listening for can be as frustrating as shooting hoops with your eyes closed. I know. I’ve felt that way.

Several years after applying with the Wildcats and Wranglers, I had learned more about how the job market works and what employers are listening for. That is when I landed a job doing Arena Football play-by-play for the Anaheim Piranhas. I knew who to contact, what they needed on my demo and how to follow up my application.

But what if I had never written my map?

Are You Ready To Write Your Map?

There is a simple, important principle at work here: success comes when preparation meets opportunity.

Applying for a play-by-play job starts well before the position description is published. It starts with the next time you go on the air.

What else does preparing for the play-by-play job market look like?

  • Ironclad fundamentals. Employers want to hear time and score, ball location, description that is peppered with adjectives, storylines, character development, recapping, using your voice as an instrument and being clear about which team has the ball.
  • Soliciting feedback. The people who most know what big-time play-by-play employers are looking for are the folks who are already there. Reach out to your local NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL or major college broadcasters and ask if you can send to them a sample of your work for critique.
  • Relationship building. Success in any industry, sports broadcasting most certainly included, is more about who you know than what you know. Employers like to hire people they know, or who come referred to them. Don’t wait until an employer has an opening to introduce yourself to them. Reach out to fellow sportscasters as well, then stay in touch.

Success comes when preparation meets opportunity.

What else does landing a big-time play-by-play job look like?

  • Concise resume. What have you done and where have you done it? Less is more on a resume. It is harder to write a 60-second commercial and a 30-second spot, but the 30-second spot is often more effective.
  • Personalized cover letter. Avoid at all costs the appearance that you are using a one-size-fits-all letter and simply changing the name of the employer. Instead, tell the employer what it is about them that makes you want to work for them versus anyone else in the industry. Then state only your experience that is relevant to the position.
  • Presentation. Today’s job market is conducted online. If you don’t have a web presence and you are sending attachments and multiple links to employers, you are putting yourself at a tremendous disadvantage.
  • Follow up. Sports broadcasting is an industry of confident, affable, outgoing people. Show employers that you fit that description by following up your applications with creativity and personality.

One of the reasons I started STAA was to share with sportscasters like you the mistakes I had made and the things I had learned about the job market. I wanted to help you move your career forward faster by showing you what to do and what not to do. I wanted to help you write your map.

When opportunities arrive, will you know how to get them?

In this three-part video series, you’ll learn:

  • What big time PBP employers are looking for
  • How to make yourself memorable to those employers
  • Who the decision makers are and how to meet them

Most importantly, you’ll discover:

  • How to set-up in-person introductions to employers
  • Things you can offer to employers that will be helpful to them
  • How to empower yourself to have a controlling stake in your own destiny
  • The number one thing that breeds passivity and apathy in the job market
  • Concepts to overcome your job market fears
  • The skills to advocate on your own behalf

If you’re ready to become the broadcaster that employers want to hire, it’s time to Elevate Your PBP Career.

Get the FREE video series now

1 Comment

  1. Ben Simon

    Great article, thank you!


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