Career Opportunities for Women in Sports
Feeling bored and unchallenged with your current job? Have a passion for sports, health or fitness?
by Becky Heidesch
Founder of Women’s Sports Services and WomenSportsJobs.com
It is a wonderful time for women interested in sports related careers and I want to encourage women from all backgrounds to consider new opportunities in the sports industry! Many women I know in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s tell me they wish they had pursued their sports career dream. Unfortunately, because they didn’t see sports as a viable career path years ago, they pursued other traditional paths like teaching, health services, or business. Sound familiar? “If you are thinking, “that’s me”, then I am here to tell you that it is never to late to follow your career dream!
The career landscape has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Years ago our parents stayed with one job and retired with that job. In fact, years ago an employee was expected to be loyal to their employer for life! Today the average time spent in middle management positions is 2-5 years. While we may not like the fact that there really is no job security today, the upside is that it’s easier than ever to change jobs or redirect your career. I am not saying the process is easy, it takes careful planning and preparation, but moving around and gaining a variety of experiences is actually an asset today whereas years ago it was seen as a liability.
There are a number of reasons why sports has become a genuine career path for women. Today women are not only active consumers of sports apparel and merchandise, but they are fans and participants! This movement has lead to a number of new career opportunities.
As sports are more and more a part of women’s lives, and as society continues its cultural shift to embrace the active women, more and more companies are creating sports products and apparel designed specifically for women. Of course new business means new hires and women are needed to drive this growing market.
Today there are as many women in the stands watching sporting events as their male counterparts. Professional sports leagues have created programs specifically designed to connect with the female audience, such as women’s nights, or Take Your Daughter to a Game Night, etc. Hiring qualified personnel who understand the female market has never before been so important to the bottom line!
The growing responsibility of sports companies and professional sports leagues to build diverse workforces also has provided exciting new opportunities for women. Currently the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the NFL have programs designed to attract female and minority candidates. Additionally, the NCAA and United States Olympic Organizations are all working hard to increase the number of women in sports related careers. Although there is still a lot of work to be done, the progress and new opportunities should not be overlooked.
What does all this mean for you? There are and will continue to be exciting positions available for women in sports! Many women are moving up the ranks in sports positions. Did you know the President of the NBA Los Angeles Lakers is a woman? Jeannie Buss currently runs the Los Angeles Lakers and is highly regarded in the sports industry, and she is not alone. Don’t forget the WNBA and WUSA. Today, there are a number of career paths available in women’s professional sports as well.
With the women’s online market exploding, sports related sites provide another growing area for exciting career opportunities. Companies developing women’s sites, sports, health & fitness sites are all scrambling to provide compelling, exciting, and interesting content that attracts female shoppers.
As more and more television and radio networks are trying to reach the lucrative female audience, there is a growing need to find qualified women to broadcast and report on sports news. Last if you like events, more and more companies are creating their own signature sports, health or fitness events and aligning themselves with women’s causes like breast cancer and domestic violence. Getting involved with these events is a great way to get your foot in the door.
All in all – whether the timing is right for you or for someone you know, sports and women are here to stay and the career opportunities are knocking!
Remember that we live in a sports society. Who wouldn’t want a job in sports? For every job you apply for remember there are hundreds more competing against you. That is not just true in the sports industry – that’s true in life! The key in making a successful career change is in preparation and planning! There is no magic pill! There is only one-way to make a successful career transition and that’s through preparation and planning. There are no shortcuts.
In working with hundreds of men and women over the years I am amazed at how little we understand the importance of career planning and career direction. If you are currently working in a career or job you didn’t plan – then you are not alone. Nine out of 10 people are surprised at what they are doing today. For most, it was never a plan – it just happened. Years down the road they realize they never followed their career dreams and feel stuck. They say to me, “I am 40 and I don’t want to do this the rest of my life. I feel like it’s too late to make a career change. I am depressed and don’t know what to do, but I have always loved sports . . .”
My answer is always the same. Either way you are going to get older. People are living longer and working longer today. Chances are you too will be working and living longer. It is likely you will have a few more jobs in your lifetime – whether you want to or not – but either way if you are 40 today, you will still be 50 in 10 years and 60 in 20 years --- wouldn’t you rather be doing something you enjoy? I don’t think it is ever too late to follow your dreams.
Here’s an action list to help you get started!
- DEFINE A DIRECTION:
- GET YOUR RESUME IN ORDER
- CREATE THE RIGHT PLAN FOR YOU
- SET A TIMELINE with GOALS
- START THE PROCESS
- REMEMBER it’s a PROCESS!