Students just like you and me, are more than capable of earning a job in the sports and entertainment industry. Reaching the status of Anderson Cooper, Ralph Lauren or even Steven Spielberg is more of a reality today, than it was for them. Celebrities share similar characteristics and by adopting these concepts, breaking into this industry can be easier than it seems.
Beyoncé Knowles was singing on stage for 15 years before she signed her first contract with, Columbia Records. Since the age of seven, she performed in a plethora of talent shows and music competitions. Currently dominating the entertainment industry, Beyoncé has seized every opportunity in front of her. As undergraduates we should display the same tenacity by investing the time we have now to help with different projects and events on campus or in the local community. Aspiring Sports Analysts can become play-by-play announcers for UGA Athletics and aspiring reporters can produce their own news stories about local events. Fashionistas can host photo shoots and actors can star in local films and plays. If this is your passion, you can not wait for a job or internship to start gaining experience; use the resources you have today to prepare yourself for a bigger opportunity in the future. Remember, employers are impressed and drawn towards candidates with experience.
However, even without related experience, transferable skills can be just as noticeable. Distinguished Professor Vicki Michaelis was an undergraduate at Northwestern with a focus on business journalism. Her goal was to become the managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, but instead her skills transformed her into a sports writer. “At the beginning I thought I was just doing it because I wanted to write. I’m cutting my teeth because this will lead to something else,” Michaelis said. She has covered the highest tier of sporting events from six Olympic games, to the NCAA and NBA. With no prior sports experience, Michaelis took the time to research different sports, ask the obvious questions and use her transferable reporting skills to get the job done. After a couple of years as a reporter, Michaelis realized sports journalism was a great fit for her. “It’s fun, I get to go to cool things, and I get to write cool stories. Sports writing is unlike any other form of journalism because you have more freedom with how you write and what you do with it.” The takeaway message is to tailor skills from different experiences that will contribute towards your ultimate career.
Lastly, it’s important to TELL EVERYONE. From immediate family members to a stranger you connect with on the airplane, make sure you tell everyone your career goals. Nikki Walton, the founder of curlynikki.com as well as the author of a recent best seller has told hundreds and thousands about her kinks and curls. She attended hair conferences and created her own YouTube channel. Even though Walton is not a licensed cosmetologist she is a trusted and respected woman for natural hair care. There are too many myths associated with YouTube sensations and Walton is a perfect example of an authentic success story. She has used her connections and relationships with others to increase her network of viewers and publicity in the entertainment industry. So it’s simple, make a website, create a YouTube channel, attend conferences (or the Career Center event “Careers in Hollywood”) do whatever it takes to PROMOTE YOURSELF!
Overall, there is no exact process that guarantees success or stature in the sports and entertainment industry. In reality earning an entry-level job in the industry is easier than maintaining the demanding and time-consuming schedule of a celebrity. As undergraduates we should continue to gain experience, utilize relatable skills and network with others to reach our dream careers.