Sports writing is a form of journalism that focuses on individual athletes and/or sports teams. However, sports writing is not just about reporting, as it often entails storytelling and is written as if for a book. Also, sports writing is usually based on interviews and the viewing of sports teams and players in action.
Different Kinds of Sports Writing Jobs
In journalism in general, there are many different jobs that need to be done in order for writing to be published. There are reporters, editors, writers, copyeditors, research staff, and more positions. Sports writing jobs are not much different from other writing jobs, and also vary depending on the sport. Each sport will require a different type of writer that specializes in that exact sport. Sports is niche subject, and in order to be a successful sports writer, one needs to know one’s chosen sport in and out. This includes its history, its major players, all the statistics involving teams, all the rules of the game, and usually entails having experience playing that sport.
If you look at any job site and type in “sports writing jobs,” you will invariably happen upon these titles:
- Sports reporter
- Sports tech writer
- Sports journalist
- Sports technology daily journalist
- Copyeditor of sports
- Designer of sports section
- Sports editor
- Senior sports writer
…and much more.
What is Required of You to Get Sports Writing Jobs
As I mentioned, you should be knowledgeable in a chosen sport, and sports in general; however, a degree in journalism, writing, editing, content management, technical writing, sports, sports medicine, or related degrees will ensure that you will land the job you want.
Besides knowledge and education, you should have a portfolio of what you have written, edited, or designed in terms of sports content. This portfolio should present you in a positive light, and show your flexibility of writing styles and content. In addition, it would be good if the content in the portfolio was previously published or won an award somewhere. This gives more validation to your portfolio, as if you show work that has only been kept secretly hidden on your computer, it will not get taken as seriously by employers.
Having contacts in the sports world will help you as well to land the job you desire. In finding employment in general, it is often the associations we have with people that allow us to find new work and to get accepted into big companies. Employers are much more likely to hire someone if they know they are respected and liked by employees of their company.
How Does One Find Sports Writing Jobs?
Besides having the right contacts within the sports world and having an impressive portfolio, knowing the ins and outs of Internet job boards will aid you. The best sites to find jobs are CareerBuilder.com, Indeed.com, Job.com, TheLadders.com, LinkedIn.com, Glassdoor.com, Monster.com, SimplyHired.com, and Craigslist.com. You can create accounts on each of these sites, and upload your resume and personal details. It is crucial to have a LinkedIn account, though, as this is one of the main sites, besides Facebook, that employers use to check out potential employees. It is essential to keep building your LinkedIn account up with more connections, details, and activity through its social forum. This will show employers that you are a serious professional.
Also on that note, make sure your social network accounts are professional-looking and do not have content that compromises your future employment. The main one to worry about is Facebook, as it has tons of personal pictures of yourself on there, and the public can see your timeline. It is best to restrict people from posting on your timeline, as your friends might post inappropriate things there. Facebook and LinkedIn are your two sources that will comprise the first impression employers will have of you on the Web. So, be careful what you show there and guarantee that it is professional-looking.
When you filled in all the information on job boards and have ensured that your social network accounts have appropriate content, then you can start applying to a set number of jobs per day. Applying to 1-3 jobs per day is usually enough if you write an original cover letter for each job, and you adapt your resume to the requirements and keywords in each job description. These keywords in job descriptions are important to locate and to use to your advantage, as without taking them into account, employers might skip over your application. This is due to companies using computer programs to sift through resumes based on keywords. Employers use these computer programs to do the menial work for them, as companies get countless applications for a single posting, especially if it is a popular company like Amazon.
Also, you can try staffing agencies. These agencies take your resume and your personal details, and do their best to match you with companies. You usually don’t have to pay anything for this, but the agency will get money from the company that hires you in a form of thanks for such a good match. However, you have to find the best staffing agency for sports writing jobs. Many staffing agencies focus primarily on menial work, while others focus on white-collar occupations. So, you have to research staffing agencies in your locale, and visit the best one that fits your qualifications.
You can also visit job fairs catered towards your purpose. For instance, there can be job fairs focused primarily on sports and/or entertainment. You bring your resume, wear a suit and tie, and try to network your way into sports writing jobs. Speaking of networking, on Meetup.com, there are plenty of meetups that involve networking. So if you want to get contacts in the sports and journalism world, this can be an option as well.
Career as a Sports Writer
Like most writing careers, being a sports writer entails a lot of hours of putting together a proper portfolio. By interning, volunteering, and writing on your own time, you can create a portfolio before you even enter your first job. The leap into your first job is the most difficult, but with enough preparation, you can do it. It takes passion, motivation, and a strong will to become a professional writer. A writer without grit cannot go far.
Try to continue to build your resume by getting higher and more prestigious positions, either by moving up in your current company, or finding a new job after at least a year of staying at one job. Staying at a job for a minimum of one year shows employers that you are serious about your work, and are not flaky. You can also dream of a career plateau for yourself, which is where you would be happy in your career. Say your goal is to become an editor of sports. It takes a while to get to that point, as you often have to be a sports writer for a long time before you can become an editor. Some people never want to plateau in their careers, however it is good to have a ideal or goal to seek in order to have motivation and to feel satisfied. Trying to conquer the sports writing world is stressful, and it is better to be content with reaching your ideal job, rather than always pushing for more.
Don’t be afraid to be flexible in your options for sports writing jobs as well. Your ideal may be to be a sports editor, but you could get an opportunity to be a sports broadcaster instead. It is best to say yes to opportunities, as you never know when they will come again. Most people never reach their exact ideal, but usually work in the same sphere or area as their ideal. And plus, you may have never imagined how fun it is being a sports broadcaster! Keeping an open mind in your career is vital, as you should go with the flow of opportunities that come to you.
Sports writing jobs might lead to many different things, too. Maybe you were a sports writer for a newspaper, and you get offered a job as an article writer for a bigger newspaper that focuses on law. Many parties can show interest in your talents and experience. There is no reason to turn down jobs just because it does not align exactly with your preferences. Besides, people often run out of steam in one area after many years of working in the same field, unless you are absolutely crazy about a specific area.
Being a writer, even a sports writer, is a versatile job. This is due to the nature of writing: it is used in almost any field, from business to science. Employers from a wide variety of companies are constantly seeking writers, editors, and designers to enhance their team. When you are applying for jobs, make sports writing jobs your first priority, but also apply to jobs that relate to writing and/or editing that meet your qualifications. The wider the scope you have when you are applying for jobs, the higher the chance you are of being employed.