• Sports analytics careers: Recent college grad discusses keys to success

    August 31, 2016 by
    Group of analysts reviewing data

    Group of analysts reviewing data. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    It’s no secret that analytics and data are driving, and changing, the world of sports, at all levels. From high school to college, and the pros, individuals, organizations, and teams are using analytics to drive decisions on and off the field. The rapid rise in the use of sports analytics led to the creation of the popular MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, called “a forum for industry professionals, students, and fans to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry.”

    The growth of sports analytics has also prompted Syracuse University to launch the first-ever sports analytics bachelor’s degree program in the United States. Launching in the Spring of 2017, the Syracuse University sports analytics bachelor’s degree program will focus on computer programming, statistics, math, and of course, sports.

    In May of 2016 Zack Sims graduated from the University of Georgia with a double major in Digital and Broadcast Journalism and Statistics. He also earned a certificate from UGA’s sports media program, preparing him for a career in sports, or sports analytics. While at UGA Sims wrote for a few sports web sites, covered live events, and practiced analyzing sports data on his own. He was also a Division I athlete, participating in track and cross country. An informational interview helped Sims earn a sports analytics internship at Competitive Sports Analysis (CSA), an Atlanta, Georgia-based sports analytics company.

    Below, Sims talks to College Recruiter about how he landed his sports analytics internship, what he does as a sports analytics intern, the type of technical and soft skills needed to succeed in sports analytics careers, what he knows now that he wish he knew while in college – and much more:

    Informational interview led to sports analytics internship

    Sims was required to complete an informational interview with a sports industry professional as part of a sports media class at UGA.

    “I told my professor that I wanted to work in sports analytics, and he told me he had recently met a woman named Diane Bloodworth, who owned her own sports analytics company in Atlanta,” said Sims. “I interviewed with Diane and got an understanding for how she got into the industry. She told me to stay in touch, so I called her shortly before graduating and asked if she had any openings. She offered me an internship, and I started working shortly after.”

    Sports industry background

    During the informational interview, Sims was able to discuss how his previous work in sports prepared him for a sports analytics internship. In the summer of 2015 he served as the Broadcast Intern for the Sunbelt Collegiate Baseball League, where he did play-by-play and commentary, and wrote game stories. He also wrote for three different websites covering college football. During his time at UGA, he covered a multitude of sports (swimming, softball, basketball, baseball and more) for the UGA sports media program. Two of his assignments from that program got published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Athens Banner-Herald.

    Day-to-day duties of a Sports analytics intern

    At CSA, Sims works as an analytics intern. CSA currently offers two products. scoutPRO is for fantasy football players. This product provide projections, access to a fantasy football expert, and insights into player data. CSA also offers scoutSMART, which is an analytics based recruiting software. It shows college football coaches how well a recruit will fit into their program. CSA currently only works in college and pro football. Its clients are fantasy football users (scoutPRO) and college football coaches (scoutSMART).

    Sims’ day-to-day duties go far beyond the job title, because CSA is a startup company. Sims said this internship has provided him with experience in a lot of different areas beyond sports and analytics. He uses math, business and communication skills on a daily basis. He helps with CSA marketing efforts, managing social media, and analyzing NFL data. He manages software databases and much more.

    When you work at a startup, you aren’t tied down to specific duties,” says Sims. “You really help in any way you can. I help manage our corporate website, run our Twitter accounts, head up our email marketing campaigns, manage the database for our scoutSMART, and create some visual analytics for our scoutPRO users. I’ve been able to work in so many areas during my internship.”

    Software skills crucial in sports analytics careers

    To succeed in a career in sports analytics, one must be able to have much more than a knowledge and interest in sports. They must be analytical, and be able to understand, learn, and use a variety of software programs, and have a variety of technical skills.

    Prior to this internship, Sims used Kaggle, a social media site for data analysts, to practice analyzing sports data. He primarily looked at Major League Baseball data on Kaggle. Now, at CSA, R, Tableau and Excel are the three main programs Sims uses for conducting data analysis.

    “They are great for breaking down large data sets and producing something meaningful,” says Sims. “I also use Constant Contact for managing our email marketing campaigns.”

    Coding/programming skills important in sports analytics careers

    “The one thing I wish I would have known was how important coding/programming is,” says Sims. “If you want to get into analytics, you really need to be proficient in a few programs. I was exposed to R and SAS while at UGA, but I didn’t really start learning them in-depth until I started teaching myself the last few months.”

    Sims expanded on the technical skills needed to succeed in a sports analytics career, saying “I think you need to know R (or SAS), Tableau, and SQL to land some bigger jobs in analytics. Each of these plays a very big role in any analytics job. The good thing is there are plenty of places on the internet where you can learn these tools (W3Schools, R for Everyone, Tableau Website, Kaggle).”

    Soft skills are crucial to sports analytics career success

    You can love sports, and be an analytics genius, but soft skills are still crucial to succeed in sports analytics careers.

    “I definitely think you need to be effective at communicating to work in analytics,” says Sims. “There are a lot of people who can break down data, but there aren’t many people who can do that and clearly explain what the data is telling them.”

    From college classroom to the real world

    Sims says the sports media and journalism classes he took at UGA helped prepare him for his internship.

    “These classes made it easy to tell a story from the data I work with,” says Sims. “I think my statistics classes taught me what to look for when analyzing data.”

    The future of sports analytics careers

    Since starting his internship and searching for jobs in sports analytics, Sims has noticed just how fast the field of sports analytics is growing: “I’ve learned the sports analytics market is growing like crazy,” he said. “There are so many opportunities emerging, and this should continue for the next couple of years. This excites me, because I know I can work my up in the industry.”

    Passion for sports important

    Most college students or recent college grads who pursue a career in sports analytics are likely going to have a passion for sports. And that is another valuable trait to showcase with employers, when interviewing for jobs in sports analytics.

    “I definitely think you need a passion for sports to be successful in this field,” says Sims. “When I’m trying to analyze data for our fantasy football users, it helps that I know what kind of metrics are important to them. I love football and I also play fantasy football, so it helps me know what our customers will want to see.”

    Being a well-rounded college graduate is valuable

    “I’m a believer that the more versatile your background is, the better,” says Sims. “Being passionate about sports is great, but if you can also break down data and draw important meaning from it, you can definitely find a job in sports analytics.”

    The importance of a sports analytics internship

    An internship is crucial to success.

    “It’s really hard to just land a sports analytics job when you come out of college, unless you’ve done a lot of work/projects on your own,” says Sims. “Internships are a stepping stone for you to get a job with a sports team, sports technology company, or other sports organization or business.”

    The future

    Sims would welcome the chance to stay at CSA once his internship is complete. He also still dreams of working in an analytics role for a professional sports team/organization, or sports media company. For now, he knows he’s getting some of the best on-the-job training he can to pursue his passion and dream of working in the fast-growing field of sports analytics. Sims calls working at CSA “a great experience,” adding that he “gets the freedom to explore projects that I might not get a large company.”

    Sports analytics careers are not the future, they are the present. Zack Sims is prepared to take the next step in his career. Current college students, recent college grads and entry-level job seekers can prepare for the next step in their career by staying connected to College Recruiter to learn about careers in sports analytics. To do so, visit our blog, and connect with us on LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

    Zack Sims

    Zack Sims

    About Zack Sims
    Zack Sims graduated from the University of Georgia in the srping of 2016 with a double major in Digital and Broadcast Journalism and Statistics. He also earned a certificate from UGA’s sports media program and was a member of the UGA track and cross country teams.

  • Will robots replace fast food workers?

    August 29, 2016 by
    Robot works with cloud computer. Technology concept

    Robot works with cloud computer. Technology concept. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    I was recently asked by a journalist whether robots are likely to replace the cashiers, cooks, and others who are employed fast food restaurants. As with most things in life, the answer isn’t so black-and-white.

    Many of the students and some of the recent grads who use College Recruiter are employed by fast food restaurants. In fact, one of our employees was a “sandwich artist” at Subway prior to joining us.

    There’s no doubt that automation will continue to impact the number and types of jobs in fast food restaurants but I don’t buy the argument that digital ordering, kiosks, tablets, and other methods will replace human workers in fast food restaurants. Just look at banks. Have ATM’s reduced the need for human tellers? Absolutely. But have ATM’s come close to eliminating the need for human tellers? Absolutely not.

  • How self-underestimation leads to job interview failure

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    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    People are notorious for underestimating their skills and abilities, and it happens for a variety of reasons. It’s a part of human nature to hesitate, to compare, and to have a fear of imperfection. Everyone faces these challenges on a daily basis. And when it comes to the job interview, every candidate knows there’s a crowd of other applicants who might be much better, which can cause panic. This feeling is a destructive force that can lead to a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. But there are also lots of things you can do to stay confident.

    The greatest weapon against self-underestimation is good preparation. When you know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to behave in a job interview, self-underestimation will be greatly reduced.

     

     

    Here’s what you need to do:

    Be active

    One of the most important things your potential employer wants to see is your record of engagement and activities. Besides studying, listing part-time jobs or freelance work is a plus. A huge plus is also going to be any other kind of engagement – running a blog, working as a tutor, starting a book club, volunteering, and so on. Focus especially on the activities that relate directly to the job for which you’re applying. Thanks to this information, you’ll prove to be an active and enthusiastic person, which is very desirable for any job position.

    Answer typical questions in advance

    Every employer asks a set of fairly typical questions. These often include the following: Why should we hire you? What are your greatest professional achievements? Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your strengths and weaknesses? They are rather simple and repetitive, and yet candidates tend to stumble when answering these questions. You have a chance to practice at home, so make the most of it. Ask your parent or friend to help. For half an hour, your parent or friend plays the part of “employer” and asks you those typical questions, and you answer them. Act as if you were in a real job interview and try to memorize what you would say to answer an employer’s questions.

    Learn more about the position

    Don’t forget to read the job description carefully and learn more information about the company to which you’re applying. Your employer will likely ask you what you know about the company. Your aim is to not get caught off-balance. Some people, especially when nervous, find it difficult to collect their thoughts, and as a result they get stuck. In order to avoid an awkward moment, research the company – there’s obviously a company website with all the information you’ll need to sound intelligent and articulate.

    Work on your cover letter and resume

    Make your cover letter and resume stunning so they stand out from others. In fact, these two items constitute a potential employer’s first impression of you, and it makes sense to do your best. Take care to avoid the following common mistakes:

    • There are lots of templates for cover letters and resumes available online, but using them without making changes is a bad idea. Recruiters receive dozens of cover letters and resumes that seem nearly identical. How can they choose the best one if all of them are equally ordinary? And what if employers check for plagiarism? I doubt they will want to hire someone who cuts corners and doesn’t bother to write a decent original resume and cover letter.
    • Don’t write the same information in both your resume and cover letters. These two papers should complement the image you introduce to the potential employer. Respect your employer’s time and don’t repeat yourself. Including irrelevant information is also no good.
    • Don’t make your cover letter too long or too short. Just find a happy medium. If you’re a recent graduate without much employment history, neither document should be longer than one page.
    • Check your cover letter and resume for mistakes and typos. Sometimes it happens that you don’t find errors within your text. For this reason, ask your friend to proofread your writing. In addition, you should also run your cover letter and resume through an automated spell checker.

    Confidence comes with practice, and your confidence in the job interview can only be gained if you prepare yourself and go to a few of them. Remember that recruiters are not your enemies, and you don’t need to resist them – you’re just going to have a nice talk to find out if you’re the right person for the position. You’ll see there’s no need to overly dramatize the process!

    Rose Scott, guest writer

    Rose Scott, guest writer

    Need more job search and job interview assistance? Check out our great salary calculator and free resume editing tool. Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
    Rose Scott is a literature teacher who aims at improving education. A lifelong dreamer, she finds her inspiration in pep-talks with meaningful people whose enthusiasm is contagious. Outside of her teaching pursuits, she cannot imagine her life without writing. It is something more than just a hobby. Writing is her passion. Rose will be glad to meet you on her Twitter:@roserose_sc

  • Back-to-school free resume critique

    August 26, 2016 by
    Resume writing tips written on notebook courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    kenary820/Shutterstock.com

    College and university students who are starting their fall semesters know that right after Labor Day the frenzy of on-campus recruiting begins. There’s a little bit of a breather from mid-November until the beginning of January and then the frenzy continues through March.

    When was the last time someone with training reviewed your resume and made specific recommendations to you for how it could be better? Are you missing keywords that employers will find when they’re searching a database? Is your language active instead of passive? Do you have specific accomplishments listed? Are your career goals spelled out clearly? Continue Reading

  • Biggest networking mistake you can make

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    Asking photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    For many college students and recent graduates, networking is likely to be part of their job searches. Their success or failure when interacting with recruiters and hiring managers will depend on their approach. While securing internships or entry-level jobs is a priority, college students and recent grads don’t want to come off as too aggressive when asking about career opportunities. Job seekers should not assume that just because they are eager to work that employers will automatically tell them about job opportunities, including those in the hidden job market.

    When networking, students and graduates can inform professionals about who they are and what interests they have. At the same time, they can ask questions to learn more about potential employers and what they have to offer. Marc Prosser, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business, discusses a key mistake to avoid when networking and shares helpful tips for a better experience.

    “The biggest networking mistake is asking people if they know of any open jobs. It’s good to be aggressive and show you’re looking for work. But why should anyone recommend you, especially if they don’t know you or your work ethic?

    The best way to network is showing curiosity about what people do. Ask them and tell them you’d like to learn more about their profession; establish an interest in them. They may recommend you and say “This person is interested in…and may be good for the position.” Asking employers if they’re hiring won’t be as effective as “Hey, what do you do?” Avoid that mistake and you’ll be better at networking.”

    Want to improve your networking skills? Visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Marc Prosser, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business

    Marc Prosser, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business

    Marc Prosser is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fit Small Business, a site that provides reviews and articles for small business owners. Prior to starting Fit Small Business, Marc was the CMO of FXCM for 10 years. He joined as FXCM’s first employee and grew the company to more than 700 employees.

  • Recruiters’ failure to follow-up hurts networking

    August 22, 2016 by
    Emotional stress, frustration, telephone photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Attending networking events on college campuses is a great way for recruiters and hiring managers to interact with and build relationships with college students. By engaging in conversations with college students, recruiters and hiring managers can find potential candidates for entry-level jobs, internships, or other career opportunities. It is also important to keep in mind that networking is a two-way street. While it is important for students to follow-up with recruiters, recruiters should do the same.

    One mistake some recruiters make is not following up during the hiring process. This can not only create a less impressive candidate experience but can also a company or organization’s reputation. Kevin Fallon, Director of Career Services at Salisbury University (Maryland), discusses the negative effect left on college students when recruiters do not follow up during the hiring process.

    “The single biggest mistake we often see recruiters and hiring managers make during the hiring process is a lack of follow-up or follow-through. College students will come to us and say ‘I never heard back from (recruiter) at (name of company) – Should I follow up with them?’ This lack of following through on communicating with students is damaging to an organization’s brand, and it leaves them with an unfavorable view of the organization. It especially does when you consider the contact management software available today.”

    For more advice on networking, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Kevin Fallon, Director of Career Services at Salisbury University

    Kevin Fallon, Director of Career Services at Salisbury University

    Kevin Fallon serves as the Director of Career Services at Salisbury University (Maryland), where he leads the delivery of career and professional development services to more than 8,000 students enrolled in, as well as alumni from 42 undergraduate and 14 graduate programs in business, education, science and technology, and the liberal arts. Prior to joining Salisbury, Fallon’s 22-year career included talent acquisition and talent development leadership roles with global Fortune organizations such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Accenture, and Bank of America, as well as university career services leadership roles with the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland College Park and Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

  • Networking isn’t all about you

    August 19, 2016 by
    Business photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    How do you handle networking opportunities? Is it a one-way or a two-way street? The mistake you can easily make is that networking is all about you. Because you’re so focused on landing an internship or an entry-level job, no one else seems to matter. Having that perspective is a mistake.

    Networking is about communicating with professionals or other job seekers and building relationships with them. If you’re not just talking but taking the time to listen to someone else, you can learn valuable information to benefit your career. Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, explains why networking isn’t all about you and offers good networking tips.

    “We live in a culture obsessed with personal branding, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The problem occurs when the only thing professionals focus on is themselves. Don’t attend networking events to tell your story alone; focus on listening, as well. After all, networking should be a dialogue, not a monologue.

    It all comes down to authenticity. Are you joining professional groups and meeting people to only serve your career and to be the loudest, most talkative person in the room? If so, you will get nowhere fast.

    Show a genuine interest in meeting new people, sharing ideas, asking questions, and developing strong relationships. Nobody wants to associate with selfish, egotistical blowhards who try controlling every conversation.

    Being authentic also requires gratitude. Many young professionals forget to thank whoever takes time to talk to them. Express how much you appreciate each person’s time and energy. This leaves them with a positive impression of you and solves another common networking mistake, which is failing to follow-up.

    Most people assume their contacts will seek them out on their own. Don’t leave it to chance. Instead, be proactive, and connect online and schedule follow ups with a simple email or a request for a lunch meeting. Take charge, be humble, and maintain a level of professionalism.”

    Find more networking advice on our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

    Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

    Michael Moradian is the Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, an honor society that recognizes academic achievement and provides valuable resources and tools to its members. Connect with Michael and HonorSociety.org on Twitter at @HonorSocietyorg.

  • Why don’t employers get back to me when they hire someone else?

    August 18, 2016 by
    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    I wish that I had $1 for every conversation I’ve had with recruiters and other talent acquisition leaders at small, medium, and large employers about why they don’t promptly acknowledge the receipt of every application — even via automated email — and why they don’t inform all applicants that they’ve hired another candidate.

    Most of the employers state that with the added attention being given to creating a positive candidate experience that they personally get back to candidates if they’ve interviewed those candidates and use automated systems to acknowledge the receipt of resumes.

    But when you talk with candidates, you hear a very different story. Most candidates will tell you that most employers never get back to them, even when the candidate has spent hours going through round after round of interviews and sometimes even traveled at their own expense to be interviewed at the organization’s headquarters.

    There is no doubt that some organizations have a process in-place to ensure that every candidate receives an answer, good or bad. But those organizations are the exception so one candidate may be treated quite differently from another even when they’re equally well qualified and apply to the same job with the same employer.

    Why do some recruiters fail to provide bad news to candidates? There are a number of reasons. Most who admit to not getting back to candidates will claim they don’t have time, but it seems to me that we should all have enough time to send a copy-and-paste email especially to candidates who have been interviewed. It’s just basic, minimal, courteous behavior.

  • Why building great relationships with career services benefits employers

    by
    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Employers and career services offices/college campuses each play important roles in the lives of college students and recent graduates. Employers can provide entry-level jobs and internship opportunities to students and graduates; the former can be their first real jobs and the latter offer them valuable work experience preparing them for those first real jobs. Career services offices and campuses guide college students not just academically but professionally also. Career services professionals can help with various parts of the job search such as writing resumes and cover letters, interview preparation, and networking. While recruiters are partners for employers in finding young, top talent to fill job openings, they are often not the only ones.

    Building great relationships with career service offices and campuses is a smart move for employers, recruiters, and hiring managers. If companies know the type of job candidates they need, and colleges have them, then it’s a win-win for both sides. Employers gain access to communicate directly with qualified candidates, and career services offices and campuses connect college students and recent graduates with internship and job opportunities. Deborah Pratt, Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development at Whittier College, highlights her school’s relationship with Peace Corps.

    “There are several employers who come to mind that have built great working relationships with Whittier College’s Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD), but the stand-out employer for the CCPD team is the Peace Corps.

    Peace Corps has a terrific talent acquisition approach which appeals to students and emerging professionals. Nick Leichliter and Tiffany Tai, the Peace Corps recruiters assigned to Whittier College, partnered with us to design customized on-campus recruiting sessions. The Peace Corps recruiting sessions included two employer meet-and-greet roundtables, coffee talks, one hiking session (with a Peace Corps dog), and two classroom presentations. Nick and Tiffany also provided one-on-one coaching to Whittier College students offering our students tips to succeed with the intensive Peace Corps application process. Peace Corps extra efforts paid off, and the organization received a record amount of resumes and attention at the annual Career and Internship Fair.

    Our partnership with Peace Corps continues to deepen. The CCPD’s goal for this year is to establish the Peace Corps Prep certificate under the auspices of the Whittier College Early Talent Identification Program.”

    Deborah Pratt, Assistant Dean of Whittier College's Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development

    Deborah Pratt, Assistant Dean of Whittier College’s Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development

    Employers, want more advice on recruiting? Reach out to College Recruiter for help and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Assistant Dean Deborah Pratt leads a dynamic team of career development professionals at Whittier College’s Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development. In this role, she drives the strategic vision and blueprint for the college to transition from a traditional career services business operation to a four-year career development college-wide approach and program.

  • Absence of genuine networking discourages job seekers

    August 16, 2016 by
    Business photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    As recruiters and hiring managers search for top talent, it is important they understand how to approach potential job candidates. Employers should think about treating candidates the way they would want to be treated when searching for internships or entry-level jobs. Recruiters and hiring managers can’t assume just because they arrive on college campuses that they will make connections. Taking time to speak with college students who attend networking events shows sincere interest in them and create a favorable impression of an employer. Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, explains the importance of connecting with candidates in a genuine manner.

    “Networking is a way to build professional relationships on a personal level. But many recruiters fail to connect with potential candidates in a meaningful way. Communication is the most important tool in a recruiter’s toolkit. If you can’t explain expectations and describe opportunities in a clear, straightforward way, candidates will go elsewhere. Job seekers aren’t interested in vague, unclear information. They want to know if an opportunity is right for them so help them see if they can fit into the role.

    It’s easy to spot common offenders when you’re at networking events. Keep an eye out for card spammers, people who throw their business cards around attempting to reach as many people as possible in a short amount of time. This is not just unprofessional; it’s also offensive.

    You can’t build relationships by skimming the surface and trying to get your information in as many pockets as possible. Why would I want to build a trusting relationship with you when you can’t seem to take the time to fully engage with me?

    Instead, start a conversation and express a genuine interest in connecting. Being inauthentic and focusing only on the result is off-putting. Don’t force anything; sometimes, there just isn’t a fit. Express what you can offer and how you can help potential candidates.

    Follow-up if you sense some interest, but don’t be pushy. There is a human side to business, and talented candidates appreciate when they are treated as a person, not a commodity.”

    Want more networking tips? Make your way to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

    Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

    Michael Moradian is the Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, an honor society that recognizes academic achievement and provides valuable resources and tools to its members. Connect with Michael and HonorSociety.org on Twitter at @HonorSocietyorg.