Home > networking, News, Patriots, Resume, social networking, Sport Business, sport management, Sports > Networking works: A firsthand experience!

Networking works: A firsthand experience!

I began using LinkedIn over the summer in an attempt to stay in contact with people from previous jobs. Taking a step away from Facebook, I was drawn to LinkedIns’ more professional approach and decided to pursue it. I have been adding connections, but until a couple months ago, I never used it to meet new people, rather just keep in touch with those who I knew already.

Lewis Howes is a social media expert who wrote a book titled, “Linked Working” that describes in detail the benefits of LinkedIn and tips on how to use it. I read some of the suggestions and one of them was to use groups. Groups on the site are basically collections of like-minded people who are interested in a particular topic. I initially joined several groups related to my location and my interests, such as sports and business. It wasn’t until I started blogging that I decided to join some sports bloggers groups. I joined about three, some of which are national and others that are local but I had no idea they would be of such value to me.

I met a few people in them and got some tips, applying them to my own blog, which was my main intention in joining the groups. I also came across an event called Boston Sports Blogapalooza, which I attended recently (a networking event for Boston Sports bloggers). Another tip that I heard from Lewis Howes was that it is important to simply talk to people in various positions within the industry to find out about them. People love to talk about themselves, so those who aren’t too busy love to share some information on where they come from and how they arrived at their current job.

I started doing this without much experience with it. I asked basic questions, such as where they went to college, what they studied, and what previous jobs they have held. After a few trial runs I had it down and conversations began to flow. Within my sports bloggers group, I came across a woman named Kisha Tapangan, who is a writer for the Patriots Insider and a fellow blogger. I decided to send her a message, asking about her background in the sports industry. We began talking and before I knew it, we were having an in depth telephone conversation about her experiences.

Kisha currently works at Gillette Stadium for Kraft Sports Group. In speaking with her, I began to share a bit about myself as well. I expressed to her how I am interested in entering the field of sports when I graduate and I am trying to build up my resume. In our conversation I told her about some extracurricular activities I participate in, such as my membership in REACH Peer Education. REACH is an organization at my school dedicated to healthy living and smart decisions for peers. The REACH acronym stands for Real Education About College Health and the group is a great place to give input on the policies and procedures at the school, along with discuss current issues. Students may express their concerns about topics like drunk driving, alcohol abuse, eating disorders and healthy living to name a few. I personally joined because of my concern for the high levels of drunk driving amongst college students and my desire to help them be safer.

Gillette Stadium

I told Kisha about what REACH was and immediately she told me she had heard of a position that had recently opened up at Gillette Stadium. The position was for Drunk Driving Prevention Coordinator and was through Kisha’s supervisor. I was immediately interested as Kraft Sports Group (the New England Patriots) as it is a very prestigious organization and is well known in the sports industry. Just getting a foot in the door is hard enough in this field, which is why I jumped at the available position. Even though the actual position itself is not completely related to sports, I will be able to enter the industry, work for a high profile organization, and hopefully work my way up. Everyone starts low and builds themselves up.

Kisha, after notifying me of the available position, gave me the contact information of her supervisor. She also got into contact with her, notifying her that she knew of someone who was interested in the open position. I called and left a message with her supervisor, expressing that I was a friend of Kisha’s and was interested in the job opening. I heard back a couple days later and they asked me to come in for an interview.

The interview went really well and they told me they would get back to me within a week with their decision. I ended up getting the position and just look at how easy that was. All I did was strike up a conversation, tell Kisha a bit about myself, and a job opening was suggested to me. Networking will not always work this way and its not always so easy. This does drive home the point that you need to be constantly meeting people, talking and gaining information, as the more people you talk to, the more connections you make, ergo the more potential opportunities that may present themselves.

The bottom line is, do something to better yourself in the industry. Meet people and make connections, as it can go a long way. Something as simple as a basic inquiry as to a persons’ background in the industry can strike up a conversation and lead to something like this.

So get out and meet some people. Create a LinkedIn or  Twitter and get your name out there. You never know who is out there and who you might meet. Introduce yourself and be friendly, as it can benefit you greatly in the long run.

You can find Kisha’s blog at Necessary Roughness with Kisha. A special thanks to her and I look forward to working at Kraft Sports Group!

  1. May 4, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    It was my pleasure to help you out. It was just great how everything worked out for you. I wish you all the luck with the position at Gillette, it’ll be cool to see you around one of the nicest stadiums in the country. Let me know if you need any more help with anything else! Good luck!

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