When will I get my big break? Sportscasting is a cut throat business. There are thousands of people interested and toiling away at the high school and club level, and only a select few earn (or fall into) the coveted network slots and become stars. In many ways being a sportscaster is not too dissimilar from acting, where those on stage and low-budget productions dream of Broadway and Hollywood.
During a recent survey of Sportscaster Life’s readership, one of the biggest questions people had was “how can I catch my big break” (or some variation of that)…so here’s five reasons why you haven’t gotten your big break.
- Maybe you’re not ready
It’s often the first line of the ‘requirements’ section of a job application…experience. Employers for larger and more prominent jobs want candidates who have done the reps already, they don’t want to work with someone who is still learning and finding their voice. In most cases it’s 3-5 years, however the more high-up the job the more demand there is on quality and relevant experience. Despite how you ‘feel’ about how good you might be, if you don’t have the relevant experience both in quality and quantity it’s very likely your application is being passed over regardless of merit.
- Perhaps you’re not promoting yourself
Sportscasting is often a case of not what you know, but who you know. Look for Thursday’s post where we’ll highlight the career paths of some famous sportscasters and you’ll find some common elements. While the likes of Jim Nantz and Doc Emrick are very talented, they got to where they are because they were able to network and promote themselves. Just because you have a portfolio website and a Twitter account doesn’t mean you’re promoting yourself or networking…it means that you’re part of the crowd. What steps are you taking to get noticed when there isn’t a job opportunity? Do you go to industry functions? Do you reach out to potential employers to get on their radar? Creating pre-existing relationships with employers and industry leaders will help you stand out when a hiring process does begin.
- Maybe your digital footprint is unprofessional
This is a topic that I’m planning to devote more time to later, but did you ever consider that the new age cover letter, your digital footprint, is turning employers off? Take a look at your public Facebook profile (log out of Facebook and then go to your page to see what non-friends see). Is your profile picture you broadcasting? Or is it the keg stand you did last weekend? Does your Twitter bio reflect your career direction? Or does it reflect your love for One Direction? The first thing employers do when weeding out candidates is hit Google and social media sites…and bad ones can tell them a lot.
- You’re just unlucky
It’s a pure numbers game, and it’s entirely possible your big break has been purely mathematical. Take any mid to high level college or pro job and you can count on 100 applications from aspiring sports broadcasters. That’s a 1 in 100 chance of you landing that job. Now while there are things you can do (and we’ve covered a few here) to improve your odds, mathematically it’s still a long shot for you to get it. Consider the fact that you’re fighting an uphill numbers battle and that you may have just been pipped by a better candidate. Maybe you’ve finished 2nd a few times? Maybe you’re just unlucky?
- You’re just not that good
This one is the toughest one, but it needs to be said. Why aren’t you moving up in the sports broadcasting world? Maybe you’re just not good enough. Athletes hear it all the time when they’re cut from teams or don’t dress for games, and going back to the opening line of this article…it’s a cut throat business. The trouble is that unless you have some genuinely neutral feedback, you’re never going to find this out. Your mother probably thinks you’re the best announcer in the world. Your friends all love your work, the family of the kids you broadcast for think you should replace Joe Buck in the World Series. But are you actually good? Find out. Get peer reviews. Get air checked by station program directors and/or school AD’s. Get honest feedback and be willing to take it positive or negative. One of two things will happen…you’ll either get better and have more of a chance to move up or you’ll realise that a trip to the World Series radio booth isn’t in your future and you’ll enjoy where you’re at.