March 20, 2017 by Anna Peters
There is a public perception that liberal arts graduates are somehow less valuable. Dr. Ascan Koerner with the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota will tell you why the opposite is true. College Recruiter connected Dr. Koerner with Todd Raphael of ERE Media to learn what his team is doing to make sure employers understand the relevancy of liberal arts students and graduates. A video of Todd Raphael’s and Dr. Koerner’s discussion is below.
According to Dr. Koerner, we have seen more public discussion in the last 5-10 years about the value of higher education, generally speaking. The arguments for what is valuable have primarily focused on STEM education. (That is, science, technology, engineering and math.) Some believe that in order to be competitive in an international job market, one really has to be focused on STEM. At one end of the spectrum, we see the Governor of Kentucky, who has questioned why universities even have liberal arts programs at all. This makes liberal arts students—and their parents—nervous. Dr. Koerner says that at the University of Minnesota, students are asking how liberal is helpful in their careers. He says their belief in the value of liberal arts has never wavered, “but the question hasn’t been posed to us in such stark terms.”
Employers already value liberal arts, but they don’t realize it
Overall, employers already know the value of liberal arts. The problem is, they don’t recognize it as liberal arts. When you ask employers, for example, what they value, they cite competencies that are quintessential typical liberal arts. At the top of their lists are analytical/critical thinking, communication, leadership, ethnical decision making, and engaging diversity.” Employers know what they value, but the job candidates—the liberal arts students—aren’t always good at explaining their own value. So while colleges and universities bear some of the burden of convincing employers, students bear most of that responsibility. A philosophy major may embody the exact skills needed but when you ask him how his education prepared him for a career in corporate America, he has a hard time. That is why it is so important to engage and prepare students for answering those questions. When the students eloquently explain their own competencies, that is more convincing to an employer than if the institution were to explain the overall value of liberal arts grads. Continue Reading
January 27, 2017 by Anna Peters
With increasing vacancies for STEM related jobs, liberal arts students might be feeling left behind. If you are in college and would rather study Psychology than Biology, or you prefer World History over Engineering, don’t despair. Employers do value liberal arts skills because you have unique skills to offer. However, if you don’t work on marketing these skills, employers may pass you over. We spoke with Michele Mavi, a job search expert at Atrium Staffing. Michele told us how students can market their liberal arts degree.
College Recruiter: What are liberal arts anyway?
Michele: A liberal arts education is interdisciplinary and while students have a concentration in one subject they have a broad range of requirements that leave a student with a well-rounded view of the world and an understanding of how different disciplines contribute to broader global issues.
How can a liberal arts student make the case that they are employable?
A recent study sited that communication skills are the top skill employers look for in new grads. This is where liberal arts majors excel. Almost all courses of study build communication skills, from the obvious writing and literature classes to modern European history. Liberal arts majors are exposed to coursework in many different disciplines. They are forced to analyze things, conduct research and form opinions. They need to make a case for their point of view and use logic and critical thinking to formulate a compelling viewpoint and then be able to communicate that viewpoint in a way that makes sense, even to someone who might not hold the same opinion. It’s a skill that will take people far in the business world!
Employers value critical thinking skills. Why are liberal arts students better prepared as critical thinkers? Continue Reading
January 25, 2017 by Guest writer Bill Driscoll, District President of Accountemps
Are communication skills a factor in deciding who gets a promotion?
According to research from Accountemps, CFOs say poor interpersonal skills is the most common reason for employees to fail to advance at their company. For example, you need verbal communication skills to explain the reasoning behind business decisions to various audiences. You need to master public speaking or presentation skills in order to move up the ladder into leadership roles. Even if you are in an entry-level position, it’s not too early to learn to present information in a compelling way, and to package information and explain technical information to stakeholders.
What are examples of how employees do not have good communication skills?
Many people have poor communication in various ways: in writing, phone conversations and face-to-face. Written communications shouldn’t be longwinded. You should write in crisp and highly focused style, and error-free. If you are easily distracted during phone conversations or worry your message could be misconstrued, consider meeting in person. This will also help build rapport with your colleagues. Don’t send mixed signals with your body language. Face the person you are speaking with and make eye contact. Be an active listener by nodding or giving small verbal cues occasionally, without interrupting, to let them know you understand.
What is the difference between communicating well as a team member, and communicating well as a manager?
Staff members should communicate clearly to avoid confusion on their projects and ensure they’re in sync with colleagues. Managers need to communicate their vision of what success on a project looks like, and what expectations are of each individual, to ensure everyone is on the same page. They also need to deliver clear messages to senior executives to gain additional resources or support.
How can someone improve their communication skills?
With time and practice, communication skills can be learned. Ask a mentor or manager to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Also, research professional development opportunities your company may offer. Seek out online courses. The internet offers a wide variety of effective training options for professionals looking to improve their verbal communication skills. Utilize resources provided by trade associations. Professional organizations can help their members update their knowledge of fundamental business skills through seminars and workshops.
About Bill Driscoll: Bill Driscoll is the New England District President of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half. Bill oversees professional staffing services for Robert Half’s 23 offices throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and portions of New York. He serves as a national spokesperson for Accountemps and has been featured in several top publications, including the Wall Street Journaland the Boston Globe. He has also made appearances on local and national outlets, including WFXT, WBZ, WCVB, NECN, PBS and Fox Business News. Bill is considered a local and national expert on recruiting practices, hiring and job search trends, and other workplace issues.
January 24, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Becoming a manager provides great on-the-job training opportunities for the recent college grad or entry-level employee. It not only provides opportunities to grow as a leader, but also as a professional. In fact, many managers – years down the road – realize that the hidden skills they developed as an entry-level manager helped them grow professionally, more than they ever realized.
How so? Becoming a manager – a good manager that is, forces individuals to learn how to see things differently, act differently, and grow as a professional, differently than they may have if they weren’t in a leadership position early in their career.
Here are five of those hidden skill sets good entry-level managers develop that prove beneficial as they advance in their career, from Deb LaMere, Vice President of Employee Experience at Ceridian, a human capital management firm:
- Active Listening: Active listening is a beneficial skill that should be developed early on in ones’ career. It means taking a step back and really focusing in on what your employees have to say. By doing so, you will hear and learn about situations or issues at work or beyond that may be affecting your employees. This is information that you may otherwise miss if you didn’t take the time to actively listen.
- Ability to recognize non-verbal cues: Developing the ability to read non-verbal cues such as facial expressions or posture is an important skill when it comes to managing people and solving issues. Why? Because sometimes what people say is not entirely what they mean. Alongside listening, non-verbal cues provide insight into potential issues that may need further discussion and solving. Also, as a manager, you need to become more self-aware of any non-verbal cues that you may be expressing. This type of self-awareness will help you gain more control over your message delivery when giving feedback.
- The ability to adapt and change: Another valuable skill to hone in on is being able to change your leadership style to meet the needs of the situation. Even as a manager, you yourself will report to someone. Your style of leadership around those who you report to may need to be different from the style you display around your direct reports. In some cases, you need to be supportive of the individual employee as their leader and in others, you need to put the company’s mandate first. You’ll quickly learn, as a manager, how to work with different personalities, leaderships styles (including your own and your boss’ leadership styles), and the many quirks, challenges, and perspective each individual brings to the workplace.
- The art of recognition: The art of recognition is a skill that every leader should have when it comes to motivating employees. Remembering to say thank you goes a long way. If you take the time to recognize the work that employees are doing, it makes them feel valued. They will respect you further and you will be seen as that leader who is supportive – someone who people will want to work with, for a long time.
- You are a role model: Lastly – and this is not so much a skill, but an important value that both new and seasoned managers should uphold – remember, that you are a role model. That means regularly doing the right thing even when you think no one is watching or paying attention. Leadership is nothing, without integrity.
Being a manager is hard work – not everyone can do it. But you are in that role, and have a great opportunity to develop hidden skill sets as a young professional. So take advantage of both on-the-job, and formal training programs to become the best manager one can be.
“You will want to be sure that you have up-to-date skills in the areas of leadership, change management and the technical aspects of your role,” says Shirley Weis, former Chief Administrative Officer for Mayo Clinic, where her work involved overseeing 60,000 employees and $9 billion in revenues. Weis recently published the book Playing to Win in Business, an Amazon bestseller. “Formal training will help you feel more comfortable in your new position and give you the confidence to become an expert in your field.”
To continue to develop these skills now, and throughout one’s career, focus on cross-training opportunities and finding a mentor, says Nancy Saperstone, Senior HR Business Partner with Insight Performance, recognized as a national industry leader in human resources, providing proven and cost-effective HR solutions.
“Learn other sides of the business,” says Saperstone. “Don’t just stay in your silo’d responsibilities. The more you can understand the business, where your group fits in and how it impacts the rest of the company, the more you can contribute.”
As a new manager, you will want to get to know other managers in your organization. They are now your peers, so set up a time to meet each one individually and get to know about the challenges they are facing as well as ask for advice about how you can learn the new rules of the management game, says Weis.
Finally, find someone in the business that can be a mentor, says Saperstone. At the same time, be a mentor to someone more junior than you.
“Not only will you help them grow, but it’s always good to get a different perspective from someone else,” says Saperstone.
Becoming a manager provides all sorts of new career growth opportunities. Developing skill sets such as these not only will help young professionals now, but as they advance in their career. Take advantage of these opportunities now to reap the rewards later.
January 17, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Some employees, ready or not, are promoted into management roles as a reward for succeeding in their previous job. Others, through education and professional training, get hired into management roles. No matter one’s road to a management job, there is no one-size-fits-all guide that determines when one is really ready to be a manager.
But whether one is a first-time manager, new manager, or seeking a career in management, there are certain skills, traits, and attributes that all good managers have. Mastering these traits can help all managers succeed in a leadership role. Here are seven traits managers must master to successfully prove they are ready to move into a management role:
1. Be willing to change: Many new managers get promoted because they are good at doing a job, says Heggen. Realize that what worked as an individual contributor won’t necessarily work now. “New managers need to understand their own tendencies and learn when they need to change their management style based on the person and the situation,” says Heggen. Adjust and adapt based on individual and team characteristics.
2. Understand mistakes will happen: Mistakes will happen and that’s okay, says Karen Young, the award-winning founder and President of HR Resolutions, a full-service human resources management company. “What’s important is how the mistake is handled,” says Young. “Are you prepared to accept ownership of your mistake? Are you prepared to go to your boss and say this happened, caused by you or your staff member, and this is how we are addressing it? It’s important to create a safe environment for your employees – one in which they feel comfortable coming to you with mistakes.”
3. Conflict identification and resolution: The ability to identify and head off conflict is an important trait new managers need to develop, says Liz Sophia, Senior VP of Marketing for Hodges-Mace, an employee benefits technology and communications company. “New managers tend to shy away from conflict and are more passive aggressive in dealing with employee issues,” says Sophia. A good manager will identify issues upfront and work quickly to resolve them. Conflict resolution is best done in person when available. If not, via phone. Don’t use email or text to solve issues/problems.
4. Hold employees accountable: A manager must hold employees accountable, says Young. That means team members must understand expectations, and follow through on those expectations. As a manager, you’ll have to correct mistakes along the way. When doing so, remember to praise publicly, and constructively criticize privately. “Fixing another’s mistakes is often easier and quicker if you do it, but you, as the manager, have accomplished nothing by doing that,” says Young. Learn how to manage without cramping the style of team members.
5. Learn how to manage up: Managing up is a manner in which a manager works with their boss to effectively get the training, support and resources needed for the position and department. For example, if you want to add a full-time employee into the department, do not go and say “we’re sooooo busy, everyone’s stressed, no one can get their job done.” That’s what the whiny manager does, says Young. Instead, back up requests with proof. Saying something like: “if we added an additional employee, we would save $X.XX in overtime, employee A would be able to begin to make outbound calls to generate more business; employee B would be available then to assist me with Project C.” Always make a business case.
6. Lead by example: You have to be willing to lead by example, says Sophia. If there is no policy around working from home, yet you tend to work from home yourself, it sets the wrong tone for your employees. If you overreact and treat other team members poorly, others may follow that lead. You also have to be mature enough to handle confidential information and not leak it or use it to strengthen your position. Managers set the tone and positive attitude/image of the team/department. Don’t portray negativity or hostility.
7. Strong communication skills: This seems like a no-brainer, but just because one is a manager doesn’t mean they are a skilled communicator. “Knowing how to communicate with different audiences is key,” says Sophia. Communication also includes, tone, body language and non-verbal communication cues. Understand how these affect people’s view of how you are communicating with them. A smile can ease tension, and make one feel more relaxed. A frown, or scowl, can intimidate. These non-verbal cues can change the message greatly.
Mastering these additional skills are also key to proving one is ready to become a manager, says Sophia:
- Be humble and accept input from others.
- Be willing to admit your mistakes, but learn from them and don’t repeat.
- Give your team and peers proper credit for their ideas/contributions. A simple hand-written thank you note goes a long way.
- Know that you don’t have to be perfect in all areas, but make sure that you have folks on your team who compliment your weaknesses.
- Acknowledge your areas for opportunity/growth and nurture them – invest in yourself professionally.
Becoming a good manager takes time, practice, and the ability to continually learn and adapt. Mastering these seven traits is a good start for the aspiring, or newly hired manager wondering if they are ready to manage.
January 12, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Dear Matt: I really like my current job and company. But what I like most is the team I work with. We are all close and get along well. We are also good friends outside of work, and do a lot socially. However, I recently received a promotion, and am now the manager of these co-workers who are also my friends. I went from being part of the team, to leading the team. And now, I have to conduct weekly meetings with them, performance reviews, approve their days off, and face the fact I also suddenly know their salaries. It’s created an awkward situation for me in and outside of work. Do you have any tips for a new manager who is now also managing friends?
Matt: It’s exciting to be promoted, but when you’re now supervising former peers that are also friends, there’s an added complexity to the situation. Here’s how to handle both the professional and personal relationships when you suddenly find yourself managing your friends:
1. Schedule group and individual meetings
To address these changes and challenges, schedule a group meeting, and one-on-one individual meetings with your team, says Arlene Vernon, an HR consultant who provides management training for first-time managers, small business owners, and corporate clients.
Set guidelines and expectations from the start.
“Be prepared for these discussions – do not wing the meetings, as it will look like you’re not taking your new job as supervisor seriously,” says Vernon. “Use the group meeting to set the tone for future meetings and general ground rules for attendance and participation.”
Analyze what was and wasn’t working under the previous supervisor, and decide what to keep and what to tweak. “Don’t bash the previous supervisor, just introduce the enhancements as part of your style,” says Vernon.
Then schedule a one-on-one meeting with direct reports. This is the most important step in this new relationship.
“This helps establish your new supervisory relationship with each individual,” says Vernon. “Some of your former peers may be thrilled that you got this new position – others may not.”
So approach each discussion, taking into consideration each person’s feelings.
Sample one-on-one discussion items may include:
- How you plan to supervise – pointing out where you can be hands off and where you may need to be more hands on.
- How often you want to meet.
- The best ways to communicate with you (in person, email, text).
- The strengths you recognize in the individual and how you want to best utilize those strengths.
“The first discussion is not the time to point out the individuals’ weaknesses and how you want to see them improve,” says Vernon. “This meeting is to set the stage for a successful partnering with each person considering your new role.”
2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Chances are, your friends are truly happy for you and will be supportive and understanding that you have this new role. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes for fear of disappointing friends, says B. Max Dubroff, an HR Consultant at Einfluss, LLC, an HR advisory firm, in Albuquerque, NM. Dubroff has led teams from 2 to 570 people in a wide variety of industries throughout his career, leading those businesses to many best of workplace lists.
“The promotion is a sign of confidence that you can learn to manage and lead well,” says Dubroff. “All manager-leaders make mistakes and are imperfect; the ones who hide their errors or feign perfection are less effective as leaders because they miss out on the lessons of leadership. Manager-leaders who show integrity and embrace their errors will earn credibility, their network of friends will provide feedback and perspective, and their progress will be even greater. Capitalize on the open communication, because in the long run that is what is going to be more important.”
The promotion is also a sign that any awkwardness is your challenge to solve. Tap into the experience of your boss and fellow managers, but in the end, solve it yourself. Also, if you find yourself saying or doing things that you would not respect about your own boss, don’t say/do them; they undermine your integrity.
3. Transitioning from friend to boss
The elephant in the room, of course, is how you handle transitioning from friend to boss. Some people can handle this dual role effectively and others cannot. That goes both ways – from the boss and the employee perspective. So it’s important to discuss this reality with each employee up front and early on.
“Discuss the importance of maintaining a solid relationship with the person along with the recognition that you cannot show favoritism for your friends – that you will be treating everyone as equally as possible,” says Vernon.
Set ground rules for not discussing co-workers or work after hours, during work. Vernon also recommends discussing confidentiality.
“It’s likely you have confidential and/or personal information about your friends that shouldn’t be considered from a boss-employee perspective and the same applies to what private information they have about you,” says Vernon. “These can be difficult discussions, but it’s vital to set communication standards, personal/professional boundaries, and to recognize that while at work, you’re committed to taking your leadership responsibilities seriously.”
4. How to address the relationship in social situations
But even though becoming a supervisor of colleagues who were formally peers does present a somewhat awkward social scenario, it doesn’t mean friendships and social relationships have to end, says Elliot D. Lasson, Professor of the Practice and I/O Psychology Graduate Program Director at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County at Shady Grove. In fact, aside from the one-on-one conversations to be open about the changing relationship, Lasson suggests maintaining the same type of social relationship off of the job.
“If socialized together off the clock before the promotion, there is no reason why that should not continue,” says Lasson.
His reason is simple.
“Life and transitions happen,” he says. “The same way that you would include someone who has retired or left for another company beforehand, you should continue to maintain those same social circles. Part of professional maturity is to adapt to new roles and reporting relationships. If there is any anticipated anxiety about the modified role, that should probably be preemptively broached during the one-one-one meeting by the supervisor.”
There could be another added benefit: Your friends may work harder for you because they respect you outside of work. Now you just have to earn their respect as a manager. They also be more willing to bring up issues, concerns, or ideas – positive and negative – because they feel a closer connection to you.
5. Understand things will change
Keep in mind though, that despite attempts to salvage personal and professional relationships, managers must ultimately realize that some personal relationships fall apart when one person is now the supervisor. Whether or not that occurs is unique to each relationship.
Through it all, make sure that you’re consistent in how you interact, oversee, communicate with, and lead all your employees.
“As a manager-leader, you have a responsibility to manage any perceptions of favoritism to the best of your ability,” says Dubroff. “The tough part about this is others may attribute favoritism, even if you know facts that demonstrate otherwise. Since your facts are not going to change their perceptions, the only control you have is through your actions.”
“Everyone is watching to see how you begin your supervisory position and whether they can trust you in that role – to do your job well, be their voice for upper management and treat employees fairly and equitably,” says Vernon.
About Ask Matt on CollegeRecruiter.com
Ask Matt is a new monthly career advice column that offers tips and advice to recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. Have a question? Need job search or career advice? Email your question to Matt Krumrie for use in a future column.
December 27, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
As 2016 comes to a close many college students have now handed in their final paper, taken the last exam of their collegiate careers and entered the job market. But according to a study of 503 entry-level job seekers by national career matchmaking firm GradStaff, recent college grads seem largely unaware of career opportunities and unsure of how to apply their skills in the workforce. So what strategies can December college grads put into action now to create results that land a job? Start by following these 10 strategies for success.
1. Develop a strong value proposition: Start by developing a strong value proposition and identifying those important soft and transferrable skills, says Bob LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff, a company that serves as a career matchmaker for recent college graduates, and companies that are looking to fill entry-level jobs.
“These soft skills – such as critical thinking, effective communication, time management and leadership – are in high demand among prospective employers,” says LaBombard. “Grads should consider how and where they’ve applied these skills during college, whether in classes or extracurricular activities, or in non-professional jobs, including restaurant and retail service positions.”
2. Sell what you want to do next: Next, be prepared to talk about what it is you want to do now that you are graduated. Everyone that you know, run into, or talk to, is going to congratulate you on graduating, then ask “what’s next?” or “what do you want to do now?” The “I’ll take anything” approach is not a good option, says Kathleen I. Powell, Associate Vice President for Career Development at The College of William & Mary, and President, National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Case in point, if you tell someone you’ll take anything, it’s hard for that person to find “anything.”
“If you tell someone you’re interested in arts management, accounting, psychology, now you’ve given that person an area to focus on and they can start thinking of contacts in their networks,” says Powell.
3. Casual conversations can lead to opportunities: Don’t blow off those casual conversations with friends, family members – that wacky uncle just may be well-connected in an industry where you want to work and be able to point you to a job opening, a mentor, or someone with whom you can set up an informational interview. Members of your church, social networks, parents of high school friends, relatives of your significant other, when they ask “what’s next” they are generally interested – so be prepared to effectively sell your excitement of what you want to do next. That’s the only way they can possibly help you, by knowing what you truly want to do.
4. Network, network, network: Because, it really is about networking. Recent ADP employment reports show the bulk of all new job growth – often as much as 70-80 percent in a given month – is driven by small and mid-sized businesses. “These companies often don’t have the resources to recruit on campus, and tend to rely on referrals from employees, clients, vendors and other partners to identify candidates,” says LaBombard. “As a result, personal networking is critical. All entry-level job seekers should seize opportunities to ask parents, teachers, friends, clergy and even former employers for connections in industries of interest, and they should continue engaging with professional associations, alumni groups and others for face-to-face networking opportunities.”
LaBombard offers these additional tips:
December 14, 2016 by Anna Peters
The same tools that save recruiters time often make the application process feel robotic and cold, at least from the job seeker’s point of view. As you work to woo people into your company, it would be a bad idea to turn them off. You can use time-saving technology and still be respectful and applicant-centric.
Your employer brand will suffer if you don’t take steps to be respectful.
Any negativity that a candidate experiences can go viral. Your employer brand doesn’t just depend on the culture you create for current employees. The experience you create for potential employees, including everyone who never gets an interview, is also part of your company brand. Recruiters may groan at having to sift through 500 resumes for a single position, but that’s a gold mine for branding. That resume stack represents a captive audience. Unlike your passive followers on social media who you wish would just click “like” occasionally, those job applicants are eagerly waiting to hear from you.
Recruitment skills are like sales skills, so recruiters: sell your brand and your company’s experience. Don’t overlook how important your own customer service skills are. Your candidates are your customers.
Don’t risk losing the top candidates
When you treat candidates like a herd of cattle, think about who you are losing. Employers large and small consistently place soft skills at the top of their wish list. Those skills include integrity, dependability, communication, and ability to work with others. A candidate with high integrity will drop out of the race quickly if they sense that a recruiter doesn’t regard them as worth more than a few seconds of their time. If you lose integrity from your pool, what do you have left?
Juli Smith, President of The Smith Consulting Group, agrees that the lack of respect for candidates has consequences. “It can be very devastating to hear nothing. Even bad news can be taken better than radio silence for days or weeks.” Candidates may have gotten used to being treated insignificantly during the job search, but that doesn’t mean they’ll put up with it for much longer. As companies start to figure out how to treat them better, you don’t want to be the last company standing with a humorless, disrespectful and overly-automated job application process.
A few little tweaks can make a difference
Like other great salespeople, good recruiters know how to read people. Let your recruiters bring their own humanness to the process. Don’t stifle their instincts to be respectful by automating every step of the way. If they truly have no time to insert a human touch along the way, then ask the most jovial member of your team to come up with better automated responses to candidates. Compare these two auto-emails: Continue Reading
September 21, 2016 by Harry Rothberg
By Ted Bauer, contributing author to College Recruiter
This headline from October 2015 in Harvard Business Review says it all: “Firms are wasting millions recruiting on only a few college campuses.”
We’ve seen this for years, especially among the EPS companies across investment banks, management consulting firms, and law firms. There are “target” campuses and then there’s “everyone else.” While you might get some amazingly high-quality people (good!), overall the process has a lot of waste, financially and in terms of potential burnout for your recruiting team.
There’s a better way. Ever seen the stat that it took 35 years to construct the federal highway system, but Facebook reached 500 million users in six years? It’s an obvious stat, sure — but it speaks to the amazing power of digital to both connect and scale.
No matter how you approach digital vs. in-person, your goal should be to maximize your ROI from your college recruiting efforts. To do that, you might need to move around some budget buckets: less on-campus and more interactive/digital/social/job board work.
September 13, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
The field of sport analytics is growing, fast, and colleges, universities – and employers, are taking note. In fact, Syracuse University’s Falk College recently announced the development and 2017 launch of a new Bachelor of Science in Sport Analytics – the first undergraduate program of its kind in the country. The goal of the Syracuse University Sport Analytics program is to provide students with “a deep understandig of math, statistics, research methodology, sport economics, database management, finance, and computer programming integral to sport analytics. The degree also includes a mandatory foreign language requirement to prepare students for the global sport industry.”
The use of analytics in sport became popular with the release of the 2003 book Moneyball by Michael Lewis, which showed how Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane used analytics, statistics, and data to assemble and develop a cash-strapped baseball team. In 2011, a movie by the same name was released, bringing the use of sport analytics to the big screen and to the attention of sports fans everywhere. Today, sports enthusiasts are focusing on sport analytica careers as a way to gain employment with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, WNBA, MLS, and other professional or minor league sports franchises, or businesses within the sports industry. The College Recruiter profile titled Sports analytics careers: Recent college grad discusses keys to success, provided an insight into what it takes to succeed in sport analytics careers. In addition, it’s no secret employers in all industries, in and outside the world of sports, are using analytics to recruit and hire college students and recent college grads. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the sport industry generated just under $500 billion in 2014-15 – making it the fifth largest economic sector in the U.S. economy. BLS data also revealed that jobs within the field of “data analyst” are growing at a rate of 27 percent per year – which is more than double the 11 percent national job growth average.
But when talking to Rodney Paul, a Syracuse University Sports Economics Professor and Sports Analytics Program Director who, along with Syracuse University Professor Michael Veley, researched and designed the curriculum for the Syracuse University Sport Analytics bachelor’s degree program, one thing stands out:
The focus of the program isn’t all about sports.
“To use a sports analogy, we want to develop a true 5-tool player,” says Paul. “We want graduates of our sport analytics program to be well-versed in a wide variety of core competencies relative to what is needed to succeed in a career in sport analytics.”
Those five key skills that the Syracuse University Sport analytics program will focus on include:
Mathematics: At some point, it became acceptable for high school and college students to stop challenging themselves with math, says Paul. That’s because math is hard, and requires strong analytical skills. But those who relish the challenges of math, and the analytical and critical thinking skills required to succeed in math, are on the right path to a successful career in sport analytics. “Math is difficult,” says Paul. “But the more you understand math, the more you can learn, and challenge yourself, the deeper one can dive into sport analytics.”
Computer/Information Technology Systems: Programming skills, knowing how to code, database management – proficiency in these areas and other industry technology/software programs is crucial. This is always evolving and will continue to change, but knowing the basics of key industry programs is a must. Showing one can apply these technical skills, and learn new skills/programs on an ongoing basis is going to be important for ongoing career growth.
Business Economics: A strong business acumen, and understanding of economics, and how it applies to sports is important.
Communication: Soft skills are important in the field of sport analytics. Professionals must have strong interpersonal, and communication skills to work within a team, with a diverse group of co-workers, clients, vendors, or colleagues. Being able to communicate data, analytics, and the theories behind sport analytics to co-workers, clients, prospects, senior management, and members of your team are integral to career success. This is true in any industry, sport analytics included.
Foreign Language: Sport analytics careers are available worldwide. Think about this, Paul says: The KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) is widely known as “the Russian professional hockey league.” But, in reality, the 29 teams are based in Belarus, China, Croatia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Russia, and Slovakia, and expansion to other countries is likely. Major League Baseball has a large presence in Latin America. The NBA brand is exploding in China. The NFL is playing games in Europe. The NHL has a worldwide presence. Soccer? It always has been an international game.
“Sport industry executives repeatedly tell us that students who are bilingual are highly sought after, especially in growth areas including South America, China and India,” said Falk College Dean Diane Lyden Murphy.
The core curriculum of the Syracuse Sport Analytics program includes a focus on principles of research methodology, sport economics, database management, finance, computer mathematics, statistics and economics. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to think conceptually and analytically while applying these principles to real issues in sport organizations. The Syracuse Sport Analytics program prepares students for a variety of different possible analytics career paths on the player evaluation side, business side, or both, says Paul.
“Sports is the central part of all this and what ties students together,” says Paul, “but developing these skill sets is what is needed to launch a successful career in sport analytics.”
Sport analytics careers are growing at a rapid rate. Master these five key skills to get ahead in the fast-growing field of sport analytics. Want to learn more about trends in sport analytics careers? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Rodney Paul, is a Syracuse University Sports Economics Professor and Sports Analytics Program Director who, along with Syracuse University Professor Michael Veley, researched and designed the curriculum for the Syracuse University Sport Analytics bachelor’s degree program.