Friday, November 22, 2013

Leaving your Mark: Be Thankful in Your Sports Career Pursuits

One of my esteemed blog colleagues, Kevin Rossi, wrote a piece in 2012 titled “Under Further Review: Saying Thank You”.  While I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, I can’t help but revisit the topic of being grateful in your career (and during college) with Thanksgiving less than a week away.  While you should absolutely thank your family and friends, do not forget about that person that you interviewed with or met with at a networking event or career fair.  Don’t forget to thank your clients/customers or prospective clients/customers.  Be sure to express your appreciation to the professor or advisor that as provided advice and mentorship.  These minor gestures of appreciation go a long way in building and maintaining professional, and sometimes personal, relationships.  In the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” sports industry that we are all in, this aspect is especially crucial.

Specifically regarding the your pursuit of sports industry internships, Co-ops, and full-time jobs, keep the following statistics in mind: 1) Sending a “Thank You” note improves your chances of landing a job by 20% and 2) 75% of interviewers said that receiving a “Thank You” note (or not receiving one) impacts their decision on whether to extend an offer or not. 

Still not convinced?  You are competing with more than 300 sport management degree programs and nearly 150,000 currently-employed sports industry professionals.  Not yet?  Back in 2006, TeamWork Online posted a $25,000/year community-relations position at the New Orleans Hornets which received 1,000 applications in a week.  To stand out from these crowds, express your gratitude when following up.

Here are some key takeaways:
·         Email is sufficient; snail mail + email is preferred (social media is a last resort or an add-on)
·         Send it within 24 hours
·         Send it to each person you met with and personalize it
·         Revisit and/or highlight your interest in the opportunity and why you are the best fit
·         Address any issues or concerns that came up during the interview or meeting
·         Thank the interviewers for their time and consideration of you as a candidate
·         Even if you do not want the internship, Co-op, or full-time job, send a “Thank You” anyway
Happy Thanksgiving to The Sports Complex readers and writers!
Mark Gress is the Associate Director of Employer Relations for Arcadia University with a Masters Degree from Drexel University.  Mark formerly worked as Co-Op Coordinator and Manager of Employer Relations for the Steinbright Career Development Center at Drexel University.  He also has experience with Turnkey Sports and Entertainment, Philadelphia Eagles, and Drexel Athletics.

Connect with Mark Gress on LinkedIn. 


  1. Heh. "Esteemed colleague." Thanks, Mark!

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