Why can’t I get a job in the industry of my choice when I have so many years of experience?

My career challenge is securing employment in my field of sports public relations. I have 15+ years of freelance experience in public relations, marketing and communications working with NFL Players. However, I seem to have hit a brick wall securing an executive managerial position with a major sports sector such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, just to name a few.

I am always asking myself, what other skills sets or education do I need? I have two master’s degrees, an extensive corporate background working in administration, and have worked with more than 20 NFL players and non-profit organizations. In addition, I have several recommendations that compliment my work.

So the question: Why am I having such difficulty securing employment within the sports industry?

Advice from Dana:

Well, I don’t have experience with every industry, however I assume our readers can substitute their target career position in place of “public relations/marketing for professional sports teams.”

The following are the steps you can take to make any fundamental change and expand the definition of your target career move. Think of a dart board. Many job seekers’ goal definitions are either too small or too broad. Please don’t tell me, “I can do anything!”

Step 1

Separate your goal into two categories: function and industry. The most important one to consider when job searching or changing careers is function which, in this case, is public relations and marketing. The simplest way to think about this is, “What tasks do I want to be doing between 8 and 5?” Also, be crystal clear about your desired function. In your case, I frankly don’t know what an “executive managerial position” is. That is not a job; jobs fit into functions.

Step 2

Now, expand the definition of your desired industry. In your case, it is clearly the sports industry. However, you may be too narrowly defining the sports industry. Just pro sports? What about collegiate? Do this: list the entire ecosystem within the sports industry. What about agents/agencies, the advertising agencies that the teams hire, and other types of companies providing services to the sports industry? Grab a few industry trade publications and see who is advertising in them.

Step 3

Expand your industry view. Some industries are not hiring much right now so the options will be limited. Plus, remember the higher your level, the fewer the positions, right? Picture a pyramid. Aim at other industries, learn about them, and you will find fascinating positions! During my 30-year sales and marketing career, I moved from technology to office supplies to containerized shipping to photography to digital printing to computer software!

Now, re-boot your efforts. It’s not all about what YOUR background is. It’s how you present yourself to fit THEIR job opening.