This is a guest post by Karyn Mullins.
It’s no surprise that a lot of people feel stressed when they are searching for jobs, especially when they’re looking for sports jobs. The industry is highly competitive, leaving many job seekers scrambling to find opportunities and stand out among the crowd.


A September 2014 survey from Jibe found 80 percent of the 1,000 job seekers surveyed describe their job search as time-consuming, and 78 percent say it is stressful.


Your job search doesn’t have to be stressful and time consuming, you just need to know how to apply the right way in the sports industry. It should come as no surprise that your application will make or break your chances of landing an interview, but do you know how to tailor your application to the sports job search?

Here are some of the best practices job seekers need to turn in a stand-out application to get their dream sports jobs:


Talk About Your Brand


The days of objective statements are long gone. They don’t serve candidates well because they are typically very vague and lack substance. They fail to tell hiring managers anything interesting about you as a candidate.


Instead, write a brand statement. It should only be a few sentences long and should highlight what your strengths are, how you add value, and who you serve the most.


Writing a strong brand statement takes a lot of preparation. First, identify your core values. How do you make decisions? What moral codes guide you?


Core values are inherent and can be uncovered with self-reflection about how you solve problems and what kinds of problems you solve. Think about specific examples of how you use your values and refrain from using cliches.


When you’re finalizing your brand statement, make sure it’s tailored to your audience. Research the company and explain a plan you have for adding your value to their mission.


Optimize Your Resume


Your resume will be doomed to the black hole of the employer’s ATS if you don’t optimize it. Study the job description and look for keywords and phrases used by the employer.


Then use those words organically throughout your resume. For example, if the posting requires a degree in sports and fitness management and an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certification, make sure you include the exact phrasing they use.


Incorporate industry keywords in your resume. This way, when they search for your resume using their keywords and phrases, yours will be pulled up in their system. Otherwise, your application is lost in a sea of other unoptimized resumes.


Don’t Forget a Cover Letter


Cover letters are still a toss up. As the 2015 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey found, 63 percent of recruiters consider cover letters unimportant. This is surprising because it shows how many recruiters are ignoring the value of cover letters.


An awesome cover letter demonstrates your unique talents and passion. Remember, it doesn’t regurgitate your resume; it’s a place for you to tell your story. They are asking a simple question — why should we hire you? Your mission is to simply answer it.


Explain how your unique experiences and skill set bring value to the company. Compare how your skills and experience match the posting, then show them how your expertise and knowledge fit their needs.


Highlight specific value you can add. For example, if you see they want customer relations experience, explain how you improved customer retention at a previous position by spearheading a new strategy.


Tailor each cover letter specifically to the company. While templates are nice to reference, don’t follow them to a fault and simply plug in your information. Templates get trashed. Make yours unique to you and the company.


Use your company research — talk about how you align with their values or how you saw a recent post from the company, and reflect on its impact or message. Tell a story about how you overcame a problem in previous sports jobs or internships. This way, they have real world examples of your ability to add value.


Earn Credibility


Burning Glass’s The Human Factor report from August 2016 found that communication skills are in high demand because they present one of the biggest skills gaps. This is a great opportunity for you to stand out as a good communicator.


While your winning cover letter shows how well you communicate, you should be establishing your credibility and demonstrating your communication skills by writing a sports blog. It will show how passionate you are about your industry and earn you a reputation of being an expert.


Let’s say you’re trying to get into sports fitness. Start writing on topics like fitness trends, new studies on nutrition, sports medicine, regulation laws affecting sports fitness, nutrition and training, product reviews, sports education best practices, personal training tips, and any other interesting topics you want to share with your audience.


You can prove your industry knowledge by educating your readers and your potential employers.


How are you standing out with your applications to sports jobs?


About the guest post author:
Karyn Mullins is the EVP and General Manager of, the one place with all the tools, statistics, and information needed to connect job seekers with employers for sports employment openings at all levels. Follow JobsInSports on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.