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Sports Industry Mixers And Conferences Matter For Everyone

From June to August, the sports conference season heats up, in conjunction with employee hiring, especially for the collegiate athletic industry. Yet it never ceases to amaze me how few of those working in the sports industry actually attend or engage in sports conferences. Even if it means saving up, paying your own way to attend because the franchise or athletic department doesn’t churn out the budgetary funds for you to do so, it is well-worth everyone in the industry to build their professional development and business acumen to attend.

Sports business functions may not even be expensive conferences. There may be opportunities within your local area for industry meet-ups. It is up to the industry professional to decide whether they want to build their personal brand continually in order to attend. This is a key point in which those in the industry can engage their peers, as well as meet people who know specifically who they are going through in terms of work, all within a comfortable environment.

The sports industry is not shared by a lot of folks, therefore most cannot understand what it takes to implement the job duties or the demands, so when there are opportunities to meet fellow peers who do understand you, who “get it,” that time should be considered invaluable to anyone seeking professional development.

This is not to mention the obvious: Some of the people at the conference or meet-ups may be future evaluators for that job you apply for within the industry. It’s always good to have a network of folks who know your personality, especially when you go into an in-personal interview, or who can make sure that your resume gets a second look out of that application slush pile.

Some of the established professionals in the industry don’t see the value in attending conferences or meet-ups. They also tend to dissuade young professionals based on their own biases. However, the issue is that the older professionals are already established; they don’t need as much networking opportunities with other industry professionals for future job advancement as those young executives who are just starting out.

This is about seeking the ultimate advantage for an young professional. You never know who you meet that will be on the other side of the hiring desk. It’s always a good sign when you’ve met them before, already establishing a shorthand for when that future, possible interview comes.

Industry conferences and meet-ups shouldn’t be considered a simple opportunity to dish out business cards. This is about learning and engaging with your fellow peers in a relaxed setting. It may yield future interns as well as young professionals to hire who are eager to work for people they’ve met and feel close to.

In short, everything about the experience is helping build not only your brand, but understanding the personal brand of those people around you. By engaging them in a relaxed settle, it cuts through the red tape that interviews generally have, where you learn only a little about a person and never enough to garner a full evaluation.

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Ep. 341 – Allison Strekal (President, Reno Big Horns)

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