It’s that time of year again where all the third year undergraduates have to get a job and suddenly realise two amazing facts, firstly employers are not knocking on their door begging them to come and work for them and the day starts much earlier than Jeremy Kyle O’clock.
The hard facts of life are that there are many more graduates than graduate jobs, even in sport. So having been duly depressed by the status updates about not having work even though they haven’t even officially graduated yet I thought I would write a blog about getting work as a sports graduate.
I will mainly talk from the perspective of sports science and sports coaching degrees as these are the two I am more experienced with as we run them at Anglia Ruskin University.
I find a lot of students don’t know what they want to do and spend a lot of time looking at jobs but not applying, therefore my first piece of advice is apply for everything. This will give you vital experience of interviews and will test run your CV/covering letter. The other thing to consider is that you’re probably doing a non-sports related job now (probably the job you did whilst a student) and although the jobs you apply for might not be your dream job I can guarantee the job you really want will ask for experience so get into a sports related job asap.
This brings me onto my second point. Don’t forget where you come from! You probably started sport in a club, just because you have a degree doesn’t make you too important to volunteer to work in a sports club. This will help keep you up to date, it will improve your sports network and will count as experience when you apply for a job. I know you think you’re too busy but that coach who coached you probably had a full-time job and if it wasn’t for him/her where would you be now?
Whilst you’re looking at jobs you should try to narrow down the area you want to work in. Once you have an idea of a couple of areas download the job descriptions and cross reference all the criteria. Do they all ask for a masters? Do they all ask for experience? Maybe they ask for some sort of accreditation like REPS, BASES, ISPAS, UKSCA or UKCC.
Obviously to find the job descriptions you need to know what websites to go to. Here are some but I am sure this is by no means an exhaustive list:
A very good site to visit is www.sportsdevelopment.org.uk, they have a jobs section and a section called “careers” that gives job descriptions for many types of sports job.
RSS feed these so they come to your email and then you don’t need to check them every day. You can also subscribe to many of them in twitter. Which neatly bring me on to the next point – social media.
Type your name into google and see what you get. Maybe add you sport after it and see if that improves the hit. If I got 20 CVs sent to me this is what I would do, search for each one on google and see what I get. You should have a strong (and positive web presence) and this should include twitter, linked in and your clubs website (remember that club you’re volunteering in!). Remember too that the university has staff to help you write your CV and covering letter, you can still use them.
Lastly I would say plan ahead, at least 5-10 years. I love my current job but I didn’t leave uni and get it straight away, I had to work in schools, sixth forms and even drove a taxi so I could have a flexible enough job to do all the coaching I needed to do to get experience (none of it paid!) but I knew what I wanted to do, and know now where I want to go. This means now I can apply for work more strategically to get me the experience I need for the dream job 😉