Recently, the Sports Video Group saw an opportunity to seek out and promote new faces in the industry, so they asked me to speak at the 2012 College Sports Video Summit (CSVS) as moderator of the “Generation Next” panel.
I, along with five other professionals shared our stories and gave honest advice to those trying to make the leap from college to the professional world of sports broadcasting.
I started my career as a reporter researching and reporting on campus and local news for the Ole Miss’s daily live newscast, NewsWatch. Being an extremely quick learner I kept catching on to everything that was being thrown at me. People saw my talent, hard work ethic and dedication to my job and the harder I worked the more opportunities I received. This began broadening my horizons in the broadcast industry.
During the fall semester of my senior year, ESPN U Campus Connection came to Oxford for the Ole Miss vs Southern Miss men’s basketball game. Through my recognition around campus, I received an email about possibly working with the crew, and landed my first sports reporting gig.
In my free time I began producing sports stories for ESPN U, everything from feature stories to big events. The Assistant Athletics Director for Ole Miss Sports Productions, J Stern, eventually contacted me to intern under him. My hard work and persistence had finally paid off!
After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 2011, I could no longer work with Ole Miss Sports Productions. I was then referred to XOS Digital as a reporter and producer for the SEC Digital Network, my current position. Only one year later I can tell you that this industry is fast paced and extremely competitive.
My five tips that I can offer you that have helped my career take off are:
- Be on time. It may sound simple, but being prompt is the best way to show your superiors you are ready and willing to work. You never know where a job opportunity is lurking, and you could miss out by being late.
- Get to know your professors. Treat each class like a job interview, with your professors being the employer. Act professional, ask questions and talk with them after class about ways you can better your skills. Who better to be a reference on your resume than someone who has seen your work first hand? And, who knows, they might even help you land your first job.
- Versatility. It only takes an employer 5 seconds to accept or deny your resume. Taking the time to learn other skills will put you above the others applying for the same job. Whether you want to be on camera, or you’re a behind-the-scenes kind of person, learn it all.
- Work ethic. Always be available and ready to step in when someone else cannot. This could be your chance to shine, and just the opportunity you need to meet your future boss.
- Network, network, network. In the sports industry, it’s about what you know AND who you know. Meet as many people as you can and follow up, even if it’s just for some advice or a referral.
Always take every opportunity that is presented to you, even if you don’t think it is beneficial at the time. That one skill might be the one thing that helps you land your dream job! The last piece of advice I can give you, is the best piece of advice I have ever received:
“Always stay hungry and humble.”