In a world where companies and brands are spending countless hours formulating strategy to best reach the millennial population, many millennials are using their own unique way to crack into the sports industry. Young pros have proven that yes, it is possible to get a job in the sports industry after graduation and many have formed an edge over traditional communications when it comes to the digital world we live in.
We talked to some of the brightest young professionals to bring you an inside look at the newest hands working in #SportsPR. Below they share their top tips about breaking into the industry and the career goals they set for themselves.
Name: Ryan Sullivan
Current role: Senior Communications Coordinator at Big Ten Network
College / University: Loyola University Chicago
A word of advice: Be a great listener and ask a lot of questions. Approach every day as an opportunity to grow. You will be around people who have years of experience working in sports and can offer you invaluable insight. Take full advantage of learning from them.
Something students interested in working in the industry should know: It's important to be flexible. The sports industry is fast-moving and you will find that things can change at the last minute. Be prepared to adapt to change. These situations are the perfect opportunity to showcase your leadership skills.
Dream job: Athletic Director
Name: Alyssa Girardi
Current Position: Brian Fishman Intern, Communications, USA Hockey
College / University: Michigan State University
Word of advice: Network! Then network again. And network some more. Your best resources in the sports industry will be other professionals, no matter what path you decide to go down. Meet people and keep in touch with them. As a young professional, ask questions and learn from those who are doing what you want to do one day.
Something students should know: You're going to put in a lot of hours and make a lot of sacrifices in this field. The hours aren't pretty, and most of the time it's a 24/7 job. While you're in college, it isn't the easiest thing to give up weekend after weekend, but if this is something you really want career-wise, it'll pay off.
Dream job: I'd love to do PR for an NHL team!
Name: Alexis N. Johnson
Current role: Communications Assistant, NFL Media
College / University: University of Missouri
A word of advice: Your journey isn't designed to fit someone else's mold, so focus more on learning what your passion is and combining that with what you're good at. And if that requires taking a leap by trying something new, so be it.
Something students interested in working in the industry should know: Sports and entertainment advance with technology, so it's important to understand your audience's needs to help you create a memorable fan experience.
Dream job: My dreams change with the weather, but as long as I am in a position to give back to the communities that have helped shape me—whatever that looks like—I will be fulfilled.
Name: Nick Barnowski
Current Role: PR Assistant, Detroit Red Wings
College / University: Michigan State University
A Word of Advice: It’s important to do as much as you can while in college, because it’s one of the few ways to gain experience while building trust with people who have already succeeded in the industry. Diversify and work as many different sports as possible, if possible, because you never know who you could meet or what you’ll fall in love with. Embrace any opportunities thrown your way!
Something students interested in working in the industry should know: They should know that while the sports world may seem gigantic, it’s actually a small community where connections are extremely important. Take the time to meet and help as many people as you can while you are breaking into the industry as it will only benefit you in the future. While working in college or as an assistant, be prepared to work hard to improve and diversify your skill set and make an effort to pick up on the little things the pros do to be successful at their job!
Dream Job: To work in the front office of an NHL team.
Name: Bryson Jones
Current role: Assistant Director of Communications, Big Ten Conference
College / University: Mercer University
A word of advice: Take time for yourself. Working in sports can take up a lot of one’s time, but you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t look out for your health and your social life.
Something students interested in working in the industry should know: Be prepared for long hours and long weeks. While it’s fun, the grind of being in season can be grueling.
Dream job: I hope to one day work for the United States Soccer Federation.
Name: Olivia Truby
Current role: Communications Specialist, United States Olympic Committee
College / University: University of Wisconsin - Madison
A word of advice: Always ask your supervisor how you can help, offer to assist on projects, and work hard until the job is done correctly. By offering to help, they will see your work ethic, gain trust in you, and you will learn even more!
Something students interested in working in the industry should know: Knowing people in the industry really does help! I've been fortunate to work where I have because of people I knew at the organizations. Meet people and stay in touch with them!
Dream job: Working in community relations for a professional sports organization.