On Monday, I attended a panel discussion at Morehouse College in Atlanta led by Pat O’Conner, the President of Minor League Baseball, and Darryl Henderson, who is in Special Operations in Minor League Baseball. For those of you interested in pursuing a career in baseball, here are some of the tips they gave (and some I’ve picked up along the way):
1. Your resume should be free of any grammar or spelling errors. Have a teacher, parent or anyone else you trust check and double-check it before you submit it for review. As a matter of fact, have multiple people take a look. I list this tip first because the easiest way to NOT get a job in baseball is by submitting a resume with grammatical or spelling errors. Your resume will end up in the trash, no matter what phenomenal experience you might bring to the job.
2. Attend the Baseball Winter Meetings. There are two major reasons that you should save your pennies to attend this event. First, you can interview for jobs in MLB and MiLB. There is an entire room full of job postings, aptly named the Job Posting Room. You identify the jobs you want to apply for and prepare a resume that you submit for each. Interested clubs then contact you and schedule an interview that will take place while you are at the Winter Meetings. It’s one-stop job shopping. Second, the Winter Meetings are a great place to network! Ready for another common saying? It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Not 100% true because sometimes what you know is important, but I will say that it’s usually not as important as who you know. This is true for baseball or any other industry. Get to know as many people as you can. Ask them questions about their job, it will show you have genuine interest and people usually like to talk about themselves. Ask for their card and follow up after you get home with a hand-written thank you letter. I’m always amazed at the feedback I get when I send a hand-written thank you letter to someone I’ve met. Apparently people don’t receive these very often, and I can guarantee it makes an impression.
3. Be willing to start at the bottom. Have you ever heard the saying that nothing worth having comes easy? Well, it’s true. Almost everyone I’ve met who works in MiLB or MLB started out as an intern selling tickets, or raking the field, or working a concenssion stand, or all of the above. Aside from former players, most people break into baseball by starting as an intern. A prime example: Pat O’Conner, the President of Minor League Baseball, said he did everything from selling tickets to cleaning bathrooms. I would advise taking any internship you can get and then giving it 110% every single day. Show up on time every single day. Do everything you’re asked and then find things you haven’t been asked to do and do those too. That’s how you get your next job in baseball.
4. Go to PBEO.com and become a member. This is the official employment site for Minor League Baseball. They also have Major League Baseball opportunities. Being a member of PBEO gets you notifications when new jobs are posted, allows you to search posted jobs, gives you the opportunity you to post your own profile employers can search, allows you to gain access to job fairs, and gives you a subscription to a monthly newsletter with job postings, tips and more. A one-year membership is $50, but if you’re serious about getting a job in baseball you won’t flinch at the price.
5. Don’t think a passion for baseball is enough. While it’s an asset, it can’t be the only reason you give for wanting to work in baseball. If you get the chance to talk to potential employers, tell them what you can do to improve their organization, how you’ll make the job of your superior easier for them, or what skills you’ve gained from other employment or education that will benefit their organization.
Follow these simple rules and you’ll give yourself the best shot at obtaining a job in baseball. Most of all, be persistent and never pass up an opportunity to network with people connected to the game. I wish you the best of luck in your quest to work in baseball!
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