“ESPN and Fox are hiring much younger these days.” That is one frustration shared with me by a long-time play-by-play broadcaster. Another veteran who is struggling to find work laments that sportscasting “is a young man’s game now.”
For these sportscasters, both in their late 40s to early 50s, age has become the biggest challenge to advancing their careers. “Being cast as an ‘old school’ broadcaster is probably a detriment,” says one of them.
If your perception is that it is harder for older sportscasters to find work, your feeling is accurate. It IS harder. However, understanding employers’ trepidation about hiring older voices can help you better present yourself in the job market.
Here are five challenges of older sportscasting job seekers and how to reframe them as positives in your cover letter:
1. Veteran sportscasters cost more money.
Be willing to work for less than what you are used to. Tell employers that you understand how compensation has changed over the years and that you are eager to work for the amount budgeted for the position.
2. Up-and-comers bring more enthusiasm, hunger and motivation
The positive perspective: “My work ethic is born of years of working to perfect my craft and my passion for [my particular sport]. My passion for my career has never been greater because, after 20 (or however many) years in broadcasting, I now have the experience and knowledge to match my motivation.”
3. Younger broadcasters often don’t have wives and children pulling them from the job.
The positive perspective: “I have a wife and children and want to set down roots. Your job is a destination for me, not a stepping stone.”
4. The big fish in the small pond will eventually become disgruntled.
The positive perspective: “I have worked at [higher levels] of the industry. Now, fulfillment for me would come from contributing to a successful organization.”
5. Pro teams and universities want guys who are going to be there for 20 years.
Include a brief list of sportscasters who were still going strong into their 70s.
There are certainly other positives you bring to the table that younger sportscasters cannot. Think about what they are and sell them in your cover letter.
Implementing these tips won’t guarantee work, but it will certainly give you a better shot.