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Your Typical Day as an Entry-Level Person

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It will always be busy and challenging, but if you like action, it will be very stimulating. A typical day could include:

  • Meeting with your boss to review overall plans and strategies for a sports program, media kit, or feature story development strategy;

  • Scheduling an athlete's appearances at a local mall;

  • Attending a meeting with a marketing person to develop a program to build sales in a particular region or among a specific audience;

  • Writing a news release and arranging for production of photos;

  • Contacting a variety of media to develop a story on your client/team's newest product or star;

  • Attending a sports event or athlete appearance.
The Starring Salary You Can Expect

At all of the entry level jobs mentioned above, your starting salary would be approximately the same between $15,000 and $20,000. Working in an agency or with a sports team lands you in the lower range; corporate jobs land you in the upper. These salaries are pretty comparable with those for other entry level jobs in the communications business.

If you're surprised that these jobs don't command higher salaries, remember Everything is based on supply and demand. There are a lot of people who would absolutely relish the opportunity to rub elbows with Michael Jordan or Jennifer Capriati. With the supply of people so high, the demand for a higher salary doesn't have to be considered. At the same time, what you lose in "salary satisfaction" should be offset by the opportunity to travel to interesting places, participate in major sporting events, and meet and work with the sports heroes and legends most Americans only get to know vicariously.

Top Sporting Goods Companies Ranked by percentage of discount shoppers specifying a preferred brand:
  • Wilson

  • Spalding

  • Rowlings

  • Coleman

  • Adidas

  • Daiwa (tie) Zebco Penn Nike Remington
Source: Discount Store News

When you reach the top of the field, your salary will probably be comparable to many other areas of public relations, even higher if you own your own firm. Essentially, the range can be from $75,000 to more than $100,000, possibly less if you work for a team, but 111 explain that later.

The Ideal Candidate for Sports PR

A person with some type of experience in communications  as an intern or volunteer, a job with a college organization, etc. If you have played sports, you will have an advantage. You don't have to be a former All Pro quarterback, but you should at least be versed in sports terminology.

What kind of person would I hire? I look for bright, outgoing, aggressive, energetic, hard  working, mature, responsible and enthusiastic people who can demonstrate good organizational, people, writing, and planning skills. I am most interested in people who have had some job  related experience, although if a person can show me he or she has done this type of work in an educational environment, I am interested in speaking with them.

Should You Have a College Degree?

Yes. While it may not make you better qualified for the job, but it will certainly prove that you are well educated and, more importantly from my personal standpoint, that you have already set some goals and accomplished them. The job market is competitive; a degree will give you a competitive edge.

What Should Your Major Be?

It can be almost anything, but I would suggest that your course load include some journalism and marketing classes they will begin to expose you to the types of situations you will encounter in sports public relations. I also suggest that you take a solid load of liberal arts classes (history, literature, art history, psychology, sociology) these will heighten your creativity and strategic thinking.

Do you need an MBA to land an entry level job? No. You will be in the business of communications and ideas, not as much the quantitative situations for which an MBA degree trains a person. Don't get me wrong, you should always consider yourself a businessperson, not just an artist. And eventually, an MBA could be valuable later in your career.

While you're still in school, you also should get involved in clubs or groups that offer you the opportunity to begin developing your writing, organizing and management skills. Join PRSSA, the school chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), or a campus service organization. Student government and fraternity offices and committee work are good training grounds. Managing a course load is challenging, but these types of activities offer not only marketable job skills, but great ways to develop friendships.

Do whatever you can to learn, and whatever you can do to get demonstrable experience. Volunteer, pursue internships, even jobs that don't pay. Every town has some type of tournament or sports team and certainly a newspaper. Offer your time and services. It will be needed and certainly appreciated.

Speaking of Internships

Is it easy to land an internship in this field? No. It is as competitive as the job market But I will let you in on a secret Start pursuing internships early (freshman year is not too soon) and be willing to consider them during "off times." Everyone wants to intern in the summer. Why not consider the time after Christmas? Frequently, many companies are in the middle of their most active periods. Be creative in your job approach, use contacts, make your own contacts. (Buy prospective employers lunch or coffee; write them. That's what I did, and that's how I landed my first job out of school.) Be willing to go anywhere. I traveled more than 2,000 miles for my internship and enjoyed it.

What Can You Expect in Five Years?

As you move up from your entry level position, you will be given the chance to assume more and more responsibility. But after about five years or so, these responsibilities will start to be more on the planning and management side (though you will still be very much the executor, not the "feet up on the desk phone in the ear'' deal maker there are only a few of those). Whichever area of sports PR you're in, you will now be managing an entry level person or even a group of them. You will still be editing, conceiving, and developing materials (brochures, media kits, posters, signage). You might be assisting your supervisor on developing overall public relations and promotion plans for your client or organization.
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