Why do you want to work in sports?
Most say they want to get into the sports industry because they love sports. They want to work for the team because they are that team’s biggest fan. They couldn’t be a professional athlete but they still want to be around the game they love. These go on and on. I have heard every variation of this rationale and, as most seasoned sports professionals will tell you: its the last thing they want to hear. Whether in a job interview, at a networking function, on a cover letter, or anything similar, nothing is a larger red flag to your lack of experience than professing your love of sports.
Yes, it is true that in one way or another we all got into this industry for those very same motives; but naturally, and as you can see so does everyone. You want to add points of differentiation wherever possible. Avoiding the run of the mill answers to “Why do you want to work in sports?” is one easy and controllable way to do so.
One valid counterpoint to all this is that hiring-managers value passion for sport. Appreciation of this comes from the fact that they were once in your shoes – you should leverage this to your advantage. But again, at no point should this push you to list your favorite team, for example, as the driving force behind your career.
The best answer to this industry-standard question, typically offers insight into your attributes specific to improving company and position. After doing this, it is acceptable to add a personal anecdote on your love of sports to both satiate the passion requirement some managers are looking for and provide a relatable dynamic. Again, this should not be the only layer of your rationale. To this degree, the ideal answer is a balance between capitalizing the opportunity to pitch your skill set and while still displaying the passion element. It is also very important to end with your most convincing point to why this team or business should hire you. It is best practice to sandwich your love of sport between two strong statements of your tangible worth to the firm; being sure to leave a lasting and impactful closing impression.
“Why do you want to work in sports?” will be asked. If, in advance, you can arm yourself with an experienced and skill-selling answer, you are tremendously ahead of the rest of the rookie competition that naively answers with their favorite sports memory. Many executives are satisfied with any professional answer. In fact, many only ask this question to weed out the obvious greenhorns. Prepare appropriately, trust me on this one.