November 03, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
No internship is a bad internship.
“That’s what my first boss said to me when I started as an experiential education advisor,” said Amy Bravo, senior director of international and experiential education at New York Institute of Technology. “She was right!”
That’s because internships are a test run for the future. And even if a college student or recent college grad completes an internship that makes them realize they no longer want to pursue a certain career path, or the internship isn’t what they hoped it would be, there is still value in completing that internship.
“There are many industries and positions you could pursue in your field of study,” says Bravo. “One industry or position might not be the best fit for your values, interests or skills, but another will be.”
As many interns have learned, internships don’t always confirm that one’s choice of career paths was the right one, says Mark Babbitt, CEO and Founder of YouTern, a web site and community that connects college students and recent college grads to high-impact internships and mentors. “At first, this can lead to frustration, anxiety – even shock,” says Babbitt. “The interns might ask themselves ‘how could I be so wrong?’”
But here’s the reality: There is no better time to be wrong than right now, before your career is well established. “For generations, people have worked at jobs they hated and careers they grew to dread,” says Babbitt. “They felt trapped or obligated. Many were afraid to admit they chose wrong. They feared the idea of starting over even more. So for decades, they worked in a constant state of disengagement.”
“So embrace this time in your life,” says Babbitt. “Instead of being afraid to admit what is clearly a mistake, own it.”
After all, this is the perfect time for a do-over – and perhaps the best opportunity you’ll ever have to become completely focused on exactly what you want. Not what your parents want. Not what you were “supposed” to be. But that person who can really make a difference while doing what they love, says Babbitt.
But don’t quit. In most cases, of course, you’ll want to finish the internship. Even when conflicted, it is important to meet your commitments. Keeping your word is a habit that will serve you well in your career. People will feel comfortable vouching for you. Aside from that, however, there are benefits to finishing what you started.
First, you’ll build the soft skills you can leverage in any career path. Second, you’ll continue to build your personal network. Even better, you can find a mentor. Rather than judge you for a change of heart, a mentor can guide you through this early-career transition.
Alexa Merschel, US Campus Talent Acquisition Leader for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, is on college campuses every day recruiting students for PwC’s internship program. She hears from students who both loved their internship experience, and those who realized the professional services aren’t necessarily for them. She recommends focusing on these areas when completing an internship:
- Focus on building your network – you never know where it will lead.
- Investigate all opportunities – it is amazing the opportunities that exist in a firm/company outside of the one you may be currently interning within.
- Observe the culture – Understand the culture of the organization you are interested in working for, and base that off of the culture you experienced while interning.
All internships do provide value, even if you don’t realize it now. Follow these tips from Bravo to continue to gain from your internship.
- Write down the pros and cons: What worked and what didn’t? What about it didn’t satisfy your interests in this field? What did you like or learn? Which of your career values did it match (autonomy, location, hours of work)? “Once you shorten the list to essentials you need in a job, start looking for opportunities that match those,” says Bravo.
- Build your network: You spent a few months at your internship and likely met people of influence and interest. Build on that network. Ask a few professionals with positions that you were interested in for an informational interview. Learn about their career path and the twists and turns they likely took. Finding the right fit usually takes time.
- Be open to a variety of opportunities: Focus on what you like doing and what you do well. You are more than your major and you can transfer your knowledge and skills to hundreds of positions. You’ll need to confidently convey your value to the next employer.
Even if you’ve already graduated, utilize the resources of your college career services department.
And then, embrace your next challenge and go for it.
“When an internship shows you that a different career path is right for you, don’t think of it as abandoning ship,” says Babbitt. “Think of it as ‘I’m finally steering my ship in the right direction. My direction!”
October 05, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
Recent college grads and entry-level job seekers with military experience can set themselves apart from other job seekers because they have experience beyond the classroom that employers covet.
But the only way to do that is to create a resume and cover letter that highlights how military experience translates to the professional world.
It’s easier said than done, and takes practice, patience, and persistence. Recent college grads should reach out to their college career services department for resume and cover letter writing assistance, as they are skilled at helping veteran students and grads market their resume and cover letter.
At Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, veterans are about 10% of the MBA student population.
“Most of them have amazing backgrounds, but some of their best characteristics can get lost in translation,” says Eric Johnson, Executive Director of Graduate Career Services at IU’s Kelley School of Business. Johnson is a Kelley grad, an executive coach and the leader of the team responsible for career management and professional development of Kelley graduate students. Kelley students are required to meet with career services on a regular basis, where career experts advise them on all aspects of professional development and career management, including resume and cover letter writing tips.
Here are some of Johnson’s resume and cover letter writing tips for veterans:
Lose the jargon: Military terms like “dustoff” or acronyms like BCT, TIF, or MOS mean something to military audiences, but are a foreign language to most civilian recruiters. “Use layman’s terms in resumes and cover letters so recruiters can easily understand what you’re talking about,” says Johnson.
Focus on your transferable skills: Veterans rarely bring traditional marketing or finance experience to a job interview, and sometimes lack confidence as a result. They shouldn’t – hiring managers are often more enthusiastic about the transferable skills of veterans than they are about the marketing backgrounds of their classmates. “Companies can teach marketing – they can’t coach initiative,” says Johnson. So veterans need to highlight their leadership, teamwork, learning agility, language skills, global immersion, problem solving, ability to deal with ambiguity, and ability to cope with change (among other things) when building their resumes, cover letters and networking profiles. These areas will make their resumes stand out.
Don’t be too humble: “My experience with veterans is that many view their experiences as having ‘just done my job,'” says Johnson. “Initially, many are reluctant to talk about awards they won, commendations they received, or honors that were bestowed on them because they didn’t do tasks for glory – they did them out of a sense of duty or patriotism.” As noble as that is, civilian recruiters are trying to answer the questions, “how good were you at your past job?” and “how do you stack up against others from your past profession?” “It’s not bragging to cite these awards if they are presented as facts and in the context of the job that was done,” says Johnson. “It’s honors like these that can differentiate one candidacy from another.”
Dennis Davis is the Chief Translation Officer for MetaFrazo, a company whose mission is to maximize veteran employment opportunities in the private sector and provide best in class tools and expertise allowing corporations to identify, attract, hire, develop, promote, and retain veterans.
When it comes to writing resumes and cover letters, “defining what you have done and the values you used to achieve success are the best way to set yourself apart,” says Davis, author of Not Your Average Joe: Profiles of Military Core Values and Why They Matter in the Private Sector. “You have tremendous value that you can bring any employer.”
Do that by writing a resume and cover letter that focuses on achievements and responsibility and how it translates into the professional or corporate world. Employers crave job seekers with experience outside the classroom – those who have worked in the military have that. They have learned a wide variety of skills – leadership, communication, operations, logistics, troubleshooting, analytical, and interpersonal skills, teamwork, and much more. Highlight those areas on a resume. Create bullet points backed with proof of accomplishment that translates your military experience to the civilian world, like this example:
- Leadership: Oversaw a team of 20 that operated in multiple remote, overseas locations throughout the world.
- Developed communication, interpersonal and troubleshooting skills by working closely with leaders from other countries and military units.
“Separate yourself from all other recent college grads,” says Davis. “You have had far more responsibility than many recent college grads, prove it on your resume.”
When recruiters read resumes, they scan them first, so put key achievements or successes in bold to stand out. Note: Bolding doesn’t often apply when submitting a resume via an applicant tracking system, but it can be effective when emailing a resume to a specific contact or uploading a word document of a resume into an online system.
Justin K. Thomas is a Media Placement Specialist for the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He’s also retired from the United States Navy, and has had success writing resumes that connect his military background to the needs of civilian/corporate/professional jobs.
Many recent college grads with military backgrounds may tend to write how they speak in their branch of service, says Thomas. For example, military language may call for this type of comment:
“Was a leader of 8 soldiers who created journalistic products for Army leadership.”
A better and more concise statement could be this:
- Served as a news editor to 8 public relations specialists that created over 300 feature news articles, video and graphic design products for civilian media outlets on behalf of the U.S. Army.
The second sentence gives the hiring manager an idea of the cause and effect of your abilities. “It helps them understand what you did in the military,” says Thomas. He provides these additional tips:
Always write a cover letter: Resumes can be rigid, and it’s sometimes hard to explain in detail all of one’s experiences, especially in the military, says Thomas. A hiring manager can’t always fully understand a key accomplishment or skill set. Cover letters allow one to expand on these details.
“Cover letters allow you to convey your skills and experiences in greater detail and prove you have the ability to work for their organization,” says Thomas.
Always proof your resume and cover letter: Check your work for common mistakes such as punctuation marks and sentence structure. Read it from bottom to top to gain a different perspective. Print the resume and cover letter and proof them. Let it sit for a day before submitting, if possible. Reviewing it with fresh eyes can help find or correct mistakes.
“You will not believe what I caught after I hit submit on the job application,” says Thomas.
Customize each resume and cover letter to the specific job: The best military resumes are like those of any other job seeker – they are customized and tailored to the specific job for which you are applying. Read each job description and highlight your related skills to the company needs, using the job description as your guide. Tweak it, update it and change as needed for each job. A one-size-fits-all resume doesn’t work.
Many employers covet hiring veterans – but they have to understand what you did in the military to know the true value and expertise you can bring to their company. “If an employer is looking for someone with both a degree and experience, the military veteran will always win that battle when properly defined – beginning with your resume,” says Davis.
Want more tips and advice on how to market your military resume and cover letter? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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.
September 12, 2016 by Steven Rothberg
By Ted Bauer, contributing author to College Recruiter
Let’s be blunt here: a bad, or poorly-contextualized, hiring process can cost you lots of money and time. As a result, internal recruitment (essentially promotion from within or adjustment of roles) has gained some favor in recent years.
One of the best ways to approach internal recruitment is how you handle interns. An organization’s approach to interns typically resides somewhere between these two extremes: Continue Reading
7 ways employers benefit from summer internship programs, even if interns don’t become full-time employeesSeptember 08, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
Summer internships are wrapping up at small and large employers across the country. College students are back to campus, and recent college grads are completing internships and looking for full-time employment. Some interns have secured full-time employment with the company for which they interned. Others are back in the job search, seeking a new job with a different company.
It can be a dilemma for employers: Can we keep our rock star intern and hire them permanently, or do we let them go and watch them succeed somewhere else? That’s not always the best way to look at it.
“Regardless if you are able to add a talented new college grad or entry-level employee to your staff, employers should always remember the best internships are those that are well-designed, have specific goals, and set appropriate expectations for the interns that are hired,” 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.
Translation: If you can’t hire an intern for a full-time job, all is not lost. Here are seven reasons why:
1. Strong Internship programs create a buzz/build your brand
“Given the enormous growth of social media, the best internship programs are important tools in enhancing and expanding the brand image of the employer on campus and in creating positive buzz about the company,” says LaBombard. Interns talk. They spread the good – and bad – about your company. Treat them well, and your business – and reputation – will benefit.
2. Internships help recruit for future job openings
Every business has specific business goals and needs when hiring interns. Larger companies tend to use their internship programs as a way to evaluate interns for current or future employment (such as after graduation), while small and medium employers are more likely to hire interns to accomplish specific goals, like completing a well-defined project or to cover staff for the summer vacation season, says LaBombard. Both are crucial to business success. And so is treating interns as you would any other employee.
“Even if full-time jobs will be only offered to a small subset of total interns, it is essential that each intern feels that she or he benefits from the experience and was treated fairly,” says LaBombard.
Can’t hire that intern now, don’t fret.
“Hiring needs can change rapidly, and that intern may soon be on your radar when seeking to fill a future opening,” says LaBombard.
Or, if that intern has a positive experience, they may seek to apply for other future job openings even after they have received one or two years of experience elsewhere.
3. Internships build networking and business opportunities
If your intern goes on to do great things, and had a positive experience with your company, they may come back to seek your company services in another role, mention you to clients or vendors, or seek to partner with your business for future projects. You may be developing a future business partner.
4. Develops strong pipeline of future talent
Did you hire a number of interns from one college or university? Did they have a great experience, but had to move on to other jobs? Don’t worry. These students will go back to their campus career center, professors, or peers, and reference the positive experience they had with your company. That means students from that college will be sure to keep your company at the forefront when seeking future internships, or full-time employment. Be honest and upfront with interns and keep lines of communications open about their performance, future opportunities, and next steps. This will ensure they view your company as a best place to work, and a place they would consider working for in the future. And a place they recommend to peers, professors, and campus career counselors.
5. Interns can make a positive impact on corporate culture
New ideas. New personalities. A new outlook. Those are all traits interns can bring to a department or business. This can help improve a company’s corporate culture, especially for employees who may be stuck in a rut. Maybe that new intern helps bridge some personality gaps and brings a team closer.
“A positive corporate culture is attractive to potential future hires,” says Bill Driscoll, District Presidentat Accountemps. “As much as possible, strive to develop a positive work environment where interns make the most of their skills and are exposed to different departments so that they will view the internship as a positive experience.”
6. Internships provide a way to get candid feedback about the company
Before saying goodbye to interns, make sure to conduct an exit interview. “It’s important for companies to part ways professionally because there is a chance you may work together again in the future,” says Driscoll. But take it a step further – use the exit interview to learn about areas where the company could improve or concerns that come up. These are things full-time/permanent employees may never share.
7. Helps understand true cost of recruiting and retaining employees
Don’t think you can afford to hire an intern right now? Can you afford to let that internship go to a competitor, or can you afford to spend more money to recruit and train a new employee in the future? That star intern already has experience with your company and can move right into a full-time role without missing a beat. This saves on the costs of recruiting and hiring a new employee, and keeps business moving forward, producing results with the intern who is now a full-time employee and that is already trained in and understand their role and the company.
An intern isn’t the only one getting invaluable experience and training. Employers can also benefit from hiring interns, even if they don’t become full-time employees. Want to learn more about how to find a great intern or improve your internship program? Check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
September 07, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
Five years ago, Steven Rothberg, founder of CollegeRecruiter.com, rarely heard employers talk about using analytics or data when making hiring decisions.
“Now I can hardly walk down the hall at a recruiting conference or spend 30 minutes on a call with a client and not hear some reference to it,” says Rothberg. “There is no doubt that HR professionals recognize the value in using data-driven decisions, but probably fewer than one percent of employers are good at it.”
Ian Cook, Head of Workforce Solutions at Visier, a company that develops cloud-based applications that enable HR professionals to answer workforce strategy questions, talked about the impact of analytics, specifically to campus recruiting and the hiring of recent college grads, in the College Recruiter article Analytics, data changing way employers recruit, hire college graduates.
“This is no longer a nice to have,” Cook said in that article, referring to the use analytics and data to drive recruiting and hiring decisions. “Everyone knows the game has changed, and if you are not using analytics to play the best you can then you will be left behind.”
The reality is, if you are not using analytics and data, your competitor who already is using analytics to recruit and hire recent college grads and entry-level job seekers probably has already interviewed or hired that candidate that may have once been interested in your company.
“If you don’t dive into analytics, then you are increasing the likelihood that your competitor will be able to scoop up all the great talent that you need,” says Cook.
The move to using big data and analytics for campus recruiting, hiring recent college grads or entry-level employees has been met with resistance by both small and large employers. Many of those employers believe their campus recruiting efforts, combined with a strong social media outreach, and robust campus careers page, drives success recruiting recent college grads or entry-level job seekers.
“We do hear the ‘our college recruiting program is a well-oiled machine’ from some employers,” says Rothberg.
But at the same time, both small and large employers are now successfully using analytics and data to drive hiring decisions. That list includes these three well-known companies:
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Dylan Schweitzer of Enterprise Rent-A-Car spoke publicly about how they use data to track their sources of hire and that allows them to reduce their spend on schools, job boards, and other sources which are more expensive than their other sources.
Lockheed Martin: Alton Fox of Lockheed Martin mentioned at TalentBlend 2016 that they’re shifting more and more of their university relations budget toward job boards and other virtual sourcing tools because the cost-of-hire is far lower AND the employees are far more productive.
Uber: Uber tests, tests, and tests some more with different job titles, geographic targeting, job descriptions, landing pages, and more. They work with a wide variety of media partners and many of those partners are paid on a performance basis, so if the ads they run work well then Uber keeps working with the media partner and probably increases how much they spend with that partner, says Rothberg. If the ads don’t work well, Uber shifts those resources to better performing sourcing tools.
Using analytics and data to make recruiting and hiring decisions should be viewed as a way to bridge the gaps that can be cause with human oversight or human error. Analytics and data also provide a unique insight that has never been available before. So why not use analytics and data when making hiring decisions?
Many organizations are focused on analyzing candidates, such as by resume parsing or extended social profile analyses, in order to improve their likelihood of landing a great hire, says Cook. Others are taking a more strategic approach and attempting to analyze the workflow and outputs of the recruiting function.
They are looking at questions such as:
- Can we recruit faster?
- Are we spending our sourcing dollars in the right place?
- If we change up our process, do fewer people abandon their applications?
- Which sources consistently produce employees who stay and perform?
These are complex questions involving multiple data sources, but they are all are aligned to ensuring the function is delivering what the business needs.
“Predominantly, we see industries that need to recruit a lot of high value talent being early adopters or ahead of the game when it comes to talent analytics,” says Cook. “Organizations that hire lots of software engineers or technical medical staff or specialists with financial skills understand the value that comes from being data-driven as opposed to following the old ‘post and hope’ model.”
College Recruiter has been using analytics and data for years, providing employers with specific and organized reports to help achieve their recruiting and hiring goals. But many recruiters and HR professionals simply fear change, or the challenge of implementing analytics into the decision-making process.
“The biggest reason that I see employers resisting the use of data and analytics is the fear of math,” says Rothberg.
Here is an example: Rothberg recently asked the head of HR for a 5,000-employee company if they would like a detailed proposal that walked through the outcomes of the various recruitment advertising packages being considered. This proposal included projections on the number of candidates that would be sent to that company’s applicant tracking system from College Recruiter, how many would apply, how many would be hired, time-to-hire, and cost-per-hire.
“She asked what I needed and I asked her how many people she wanted to hire and over how many months,” recalls Rothberg. “She didn’t know. I asked how many applications she would expect to generate for every 1,000 clicks we sent to her ATS. She didn’t know. I asked how many hires she would make for every 100 applications. She didn’t know. As unfortunate as all of that was, she didn’t want to know. She was the head of HR for a 5,000 person company and she didn’t want to admit that math scared her.”
Don’t let analytics scare you. Employers, both large and small, are using analytics to drive talent decisions. Dive in, before your competitors steals your next great hire.
“We can always find ways to save a little money, hire a little faster, diversify a little more, and hire people who perform a little better and are retained for a little longer,” says Rothberg. “Data and analytics help us identify those areas where we can improve, whether there is only minor or vast room for improvement.”
Wondering how analytics can help drive your recruiting decisions and successes? Contact College Recruiter today to learn more, and be sure to Check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
August 31, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
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
“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.”
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, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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.
August 26, 2016 by William Frierson
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.”
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.
August 22, 2016 by William Frierson
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.”
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.
August 19, 2016 by William Frierson
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.”
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.