When it comes to interviewing job prospects in the business realm of professional sports, managers don’t play around. They do, however, value ingenuity, experience and perseverance.
At the Cleveland Browns Edge Career Development Summit, held Tuesday on The University of Findlay’s campus, more than 150 students received such valuable hiring tips that just might land them their dream job one day. Browns executives, including President Alec Scheiner, participated in the event. Organizers plan to offer the summit annually as part of The University of Findlay & Cleveland Browns Partnership for Student Success.
Also on Tuesday, it was announced that two $10,000 scholarships are up for grabs for the Spring 2016 semester, one for a freshman and one for an upperclassman who are interested in sports business industry careers.
At the summit, students and moderators weren’t shy about asking Browns’ staffers about interviewing and hiring practices. Participating with Scheiner were Matt Webb, senior director of sales and strategy; Laura Waters-Brown, coordinator of digital business; Josh Young, director of inside sales and recruiting; Cory Kinder, coordinator of game presentation and special events; and Anthony Cangelosi, manager of corporate partnership activation. Some of their advice is listed below.
Social media’s importance:
- Webb: “Social media presence has a huge effect. Once we narrow resumes down to about 200, we start going to social media pages. If we can find a reason to not go any further with you, that makes it easier on us.”
- Waters-Brown: “I’m going to Google you, Linked-In you, Facebook you. And if I can’t find you, I’m going to ask why. (If hired) You’re a voice for our organization. It’s 2015 and nothing’s really private. If you are making your accounts private, I’ll likely ask you why. Your digital footprint is a huge aspect of who you are.
- Kinder: “Be careful about what you retweet and share. Social media is your new resume.”
- Waters-Brown: “Anything on Twitter that’s offensive to anyone is a no. Anything you wouldn’t say in front of a teacher, don’t say it.”
- Young: “For better or worse, social media is a reflection of who you are. We had one applicant whose Twitter feed had a joke about the logo update we did. So I took a screen shot, emailed it back to him and asked him, ‘If you saw this on my Twitter, would you interview me?’ It was flat out slander of the organization and it was right out there for anyone to see.”
- Waters-Brown: “Google yourself and see what pops up. If, before three pages, you see something negative, work to correct that.”
- Cangelosi: “Use social media to your advantage. Do research on us too.”
- Waters-Brown: “Start a blog and include stuff you know, stuff you want to know. Post your work. Use it as your online resume.
- Young: “I prefer to see your Linked-In very recently updated. There’s nothing you can do on Twitter to make you a better candidate.”
- Webb: “For me, I really look for initiative. For one job, we may get up to 500 resumes, so we want to see what kind of story you can tell with your resume, and if you went above and beyond (at a previous job or internship).
- Scheiner on nerves: “Everyone you interview with is just a normal person.”
Webb: “You’ve got to come prepared. Preparation allows you to ask really good questions. If you can stump an interviewer or make them think about something, that’s really going to set you apart.”
- Scheiner: “I always came prepared with my own presentation that shows, ‘This is what it’s going to look like when I’m here.’ A written outline is good, too. Bring in something extra.
- Webb: “Know your role. Your goal is to positively affect change, so have a plan of action on that. Doing your due diligence takes a lot of time and effort. Talk to former and current employees.”
How to stand out from the crowd:
- Webb: “I graduated in 2009, during the heart of the recession when no one wanted to do anything with graduates, so I took informational interviews. If they can find time in their schedule, for the most part, people are willing to take 15 minutes to have coffee with you. I just started meeting with people. I also emailed resumes directly to people.”
- Scheiner: “When I worked in El Salvadore, I was also a semi professional basketball player and did a few TV commercials. I put that on my resume and people always asked about it. If your resume has something unique on it, people will look at it. Don’t make it goofy, but slide it in there.”
- Webb: “Any way that you can tie yourself to a number, you’ll stand out. A resume is your story. If you can use some sort of revenue number (that you influenced), that can help you build a story.
- Kinder: “The first thing I’m looking for (on a resume) is relevant experience. That should be the first bullet point.”
- Waters-Brown: “I look at the layout, the format. I want it in a PDF, not a Word document, which can be altered. The first thing I need to see is your brand.
- Cangelosi: “Experience is super huge. Layout is too. If it doesn’t look good, I don’t want to read it. Put something on there that makes you stand out.”
Going the extra mile
- Waters-Brown: “Do some networking. For one job, I found out my future boss likes guitar music. So I found a guitar poster… wrote a thank-you note on the back, folded it, put it in a big envelope and mailed it. I got the job.”
- Young: “Eighty five percent of the positions available to you in professional sports when you graduate are entry-level ticket sales roles. Five percent of graduating students out of all the schools across the country want sales roles. So there is a huge world of open positions. Get experience by volunteering at your school. Work in the athletic department selling season tickets. See if the development office needs anyone to solicit potential donors. Even retail positions are great.”
- Webb: “One thing that comes up a lot (in interviews), and I just don’t like it, is people asking how to advance themselves and their career. We’re part of a generation that always wants to know what’s next, but hiring managers want to know what you can do for them over the long haul.”