Everyone makes mistakes. Especially in a career, no matter if you're a freshman or have been a professional in your job for years. The only important part is on focusing how to improve through them. Well, here's the thing: Most of us already trip on step one - recognizing them. Seeing our own mistakes is always harder than noticing them in others. That's why we want to share some of the crucial mistakes that we made during our career. You might have made or are making some of them yourselves right now - or can prevent yourself from doing so by following our advice. Here's our 6 career mistakes and how to avoid them.
What to do with a mistake: 1. Recognize it. 2. Admit it. 3. Learn from it. 4. Forget it.
- Dean Smith
Where do you find your network?Apart from finding connections in your personal environment, the internet never ceases to create ways for connecting with people. Especially for the professional network, social platforms like Xing and LinkedIn have the main purpose of connecting professionals. There’s no getting around setting up a profile in the long run. BUT: We know that - without prior expertise and being a rookie in the sports industry - it might feel a little awkward using social media to contact people you’ve never met before. Then, how do you make the acquaintance of business professionals in the „real world“? You could join a meeting of local groups of experts - or, when the awkwardness strikes again, visit one of the events dedicated to networking or recruitment which are more anonymous at first. With their fairs and events, the sports industry hosts plenty of great platforms to meet the right people in an environment which is made for connecting. The most common and definitely a must-attend for everyone interested in sport professions, is the ISPO Munich and its counterparts throughout the world and year. It’s where the who is who of the industry meets up.
Upcoming events to build your networkWe’d recommend visiting one of these three events in 2018 which are perfect for career enterers and young professionals: ISPO Digitize Summit:
- What: Information summit about the future of the sports industry in regards of digital transformation
- When: 28th - 29th of June 2018
- Where: Messe Munich, Germany
- What: A career fair for young career enterers and students who are interested in the sports business with info booths from companies & a unique Speed Dating interview format to take part
- When: 13th of June 2018
- Where: Paris - Stade Jean Bouin
- What: Sports conferences and seminars for 2 days as well as a grande Exhibition of 6,000 sqm to ensure business and networking.
- When: December 5-6, 2018
- Where: Palexpo - Geneva, Switzerland
How to build my network?You’ve made it to the event, and you’re now ready to meet as many people as possible! That’s when you should stop in your tracks right away.
1. Find out who to talk toIt’s a general known wisdom that quality is better than quantity. That also applies to networking. Before you just storm off in whichever direction, find out who’s at the event and which connections to make. Companies you favor, important recruiters - focus on meeting those. Again, Xing and LinkedIn will help you gathering needed information in advance. For example, when you attend ISPO Munich, you might have read that Sportyjob has a booth. If you looked closely, you probably know that Andy Gugenheimer, Sportyjob’s CEO is there. If you checked his LinkedIn profile in advance, you’ll know that he is also the CEO of AG Sport Consulting, a leading headhunting agency in the sports industry. That’s a worthwhile connection.
2. Be curious and interestedYou might want to network to score a job. If this is your solemn purpose in networking, you won’t come far. Just asking for favors or expecting help will push your connections away. A network relationship, like any relationship, is supposed to be mutual. You might think that you’ve nothing to offer as a rookie, but that’s not true. Asking about their own career path or their company and plainly showing interest is also a giving approach. It shows that you value the work they’re doing. Also offering your opinion on relevant topics in a dedicated conversation can be helpful. For example, when meeting up with Andy, you could let him know what you liked about Sportyjob - and also what you were missing. (Constructive of course). Feel free to assume that companies would like to improve their services and products - it’s a fact in at least 90% of companies.
3. Provide your contact dataWe won’t recommend you printing your business cards. If it’s not a striking, unique design, it will probably be lost in the bunch of cards people receive at events. Have you phone close by and exchange numbers or straight away connect through a social network. When the event has passed, send them a message appreciating the acquaintance. Even when plenty of time passes before your next message, they’ll always see that you’ve been in contact before.
The aftermath: Don’t forget to take care of your networkSo you managed to make a few contacts but what do you do afterwards? If you just let them slip, it’s a lost cause. Like in every relationship, even a professional network needs attention and care. It’s essential to stay in touch with the connections you made. It might be on a personal level like having a lunch meeting (in case that you get along on a personal level). A more professional approach would be meeting up at events that you both share an interest in. A simple information like „Hey, I will be at the ISPO in January - and it would be great to meet up“. On the other hand, keep up through Social Networks or E-Mail. Just asking for an opinion on a professional topic or sharing interesting content - because never forget that the foundation of a business network is your profession. So even if shared memes might be fun once in a while, don’t overdo it.
You successfully survived the first few weeks of your new sport job and soon will leave the probationary period behind. Actually everything is perfect, but unfortunately there is still missing the common touch with your colleagues…
The happiness factor of sport job stands and falls with the team. And this means that it doesn’t matter if your boss likes you. If you don’t feel integrated in the team after a few weeks, you seriously should think about looking for a new job. But maybe you just had a bad start. We have racked our brains and thought about some traps you should avoid and things that will make your colleagues absolutely fall in love with you.
Gossip is a no go
Well, we don’t need to deceive ourselves: in every company there are the ones that are only happy when they are able to bitch about others. If you want to integrate and get friends with the other (nice and honest) colleagues, you really should stay away from these persons. Even if the collective backbiting conveys a kind of togetherness, you should be really careful, since these persons will definitely gossip viciously as well about you behind your back. Another taboo is to commit something to a member of this group. No matter if you just ended your relationship, don’t like your current project or had a bad hangover the last weekend – within only a few seconds the whole company will know.
You are working in an action sports company and can’t spare your suit just like Barney Stinson? No surprise it doesn’t work out with the colleagues! Sad but true: clothes make people. And if everyone looks at you like you are from another galaxy, you really should consider changing your style, since birds of a feather flock together…so grab your old skateboard clothes and find new friends!
The cake case
Jep – the case with the cake! Again an unspoke rule, but to be honest: Everyone loves colleagues with cake (of course loads of yummi cake). Absolute no one can resist awesome cake – this is the perfect trick to win the team over to your side
Give your colleagues the feeling to be needed
Everybody likes the feeling to be needed and so do your new sport job colleagues. So just ask them, if you have any questions. But be careful: don’t ask stupid stuff, otherwise everyone will think that you are a bit dumb. But now and then asking them for advice will provide closeness and thereby friendship.
You know any other tips how to gain the trust of your colleagues? We are happy to hear about them in our comment section!
Now that we already dealt with the first day of a new sport job and the various pitfalls you can meet there in our sport job blog, we are going one step further today and dedicate this new blog to the probationary period and how to rock it properly.
Probationary period? Excuse me?
First of all, everyone must keep in mind that the probationary period doesn’t mean a horrific time full of pressure and proving oneself – in fact it is more like a date, where you learn a lot about the company itself, your boss, the team and the whole sport job working environment. And if the chemistry isn’t right you just turn this date down without any problems and/or duties. Seen in this way it sounds quite okay, right? Well, we have to admit, having almost no days offs sucks, but on the other hand longer interruptions during the first few months are quite bad for the training effect as well. Concerning the duration, a time period of a maximum of six months is pretty common for the probationary period. Furthermore employees are actually allowed to take days off during the probationary period, but the experience shows that longer vacations are not possible or undesired by the employer.
Help! I need to get out of here!
To be happy and satisfied in a sport job, many factors have to match. In case you notice that you never ever will get warm with your colleagues and also your boss is rather, uhm, bossy you should seize the opportunity to pull the ripcord before you will be lost in an endless circle of stomach pain and demotivation. Since during the probationary period there usually is a period of notice of only 14 days, you can easily quit if you don’t like your new sport job. But, even if the company no longer is particularly interesting for you, try not to make a big fuss about it. Especially in the sports industry everyone knows know each other and a cooperative behaviour is greatly appreciated.
I want to stay! But how?
Whoever finds his/her dream sport job during the probationary period, of course should do anything to sign the “real” working contract after these six months of trial. To achieve this goal, we collected some advice for you:
- Socializing: Try to build a network, be part of leisure time activities like basketball or yoga classes and actively make proposes for other conjoint adventures.
- Teamwork: Try to stay modest at work in the beginning – no one likes pipsqueaks and braggers :) If you have questions, ask the others for advice.
- Unspoken rules: Usually there are a lot of unuttered processes and structures in a sport job which need to be identified, since they are often like unspoken rules that should not be broken. As well workflows might seem a bit strange to you in the beginning – in that case, first ask why they are organized in this way, before you criticize.
Criticism: Ask your boss regularly for feedback and try to take it openly and convert it into motivation.
Yeah – after endless nerve-racking days of waiting, hoping and doubting you finally get the most important call of your life so far: You just landed your dream sport job! Well, now you can just lean back, be happy and relax. But unfortunately the hard part isn’t over – you still need to survive the first sport job day, which can be seriously tricky, since there never is a second chance for a first impression.
Dress to impress
Jep, here we go again with the dressing-thing. We know it is more than annoying, but clothing always needs to be considered thoroughly, especially during the first contacts with your boss(es) and coworkers in a sport job. If your sport job interview took place in the company’s rooms, then you might already have a feeling how chic or casual the sport job dress code is, but if you got recruited for your sport job somewhere else or via Skype things start getting tricky. In this case it is always a good choice to dress nearly as neat as you would have done for a sport job interview. But just nearly, don’t exaggerate.
In times where everyone has a social media appearance and easily can be found via Google, you can prepare yourself for your first sport job day in collecting some information about your boss and future colleagues. Don’t worry – that kind of stalking is totally fine, since you wouldn’t be able to see that information if these persons wouldn’t want it to be openly accessible. This will help a lot to remember names (which is really important if you don’t want to appear douchebag-ish) and also it is always nice to already have some hints what to talk about at lunch break, right?
This directly guides us to a critical point at the first sport job day. This always feels a bit like back in the old school days, where during lunch breaks there were two groups: cool kids and uhm, not-so-cool-kids. To prevent yourself from being excluded or by mistake sitting at the CEO’s table at the first sport job day, just ask one of your colleagues right in the morning how everything works out at lunch. Don’t worry - they will understand your concerns. Everyone went through this.
That nasty circular email
In a lot of sport job companies there unfortunately is this unwritten rule that at your first sport job day you “may” introduce yourself to the whole company by sending out a circular email (wohoo). To make things even worse they might ask you to include a picture as well. Here is the deal: Just try to keep things as simple as possible, 1-2 sentences are totally fine and if there is any opportunity just try to get out of that picture thing. For example by promising to bring muffins the next day and by that getting them to know all sport job coworkers in personal. Oh and by the way: bringing a cake/muffins…might also be an unwritten rule :)
What else? The details
Be punctual (but not too punctual, this is nerdy :)), smile, try to be attentive, don’t be bossy (especially if you have a senior position) and try to settle misunderstandings asap. Also be like a sponge and watch how people do things – where and how often do they have coffee? Who cleans the dishes? Which fridge to use? And most of all: Ask if anything is not clear (and there will be a lot of confusing things due to sensory overload!).