Touchpoints and Turkey: How the Holidays can be the Perfect Conversation Starter

This article is powered by the SMU Sport Management Program.

By: Jason Stein, @JStein209

Having touch points are crucial when reaching out to people in the sports industry. (Image via http://prorelevant.com/)

Having touch points are crucial when reaching out to people in the sports industry. (Image via http://prorelevant.com/)

In the executive search and staffing industry, the period between Thanksgiving and New Years can reveal just how volatile the professional job market can be. On one hand, many hiring managers are closing the books on the year and mixed in with time off and travel over the holidays, many new job hiring decisions are put on hold throughout the end of the year. On the other hand, many businesses find themselves with a surplus of funding and will allocate hiring managers an end of year budget to specifically be used for hiring, thus triggering a mad dash to staff up the team before the new year and the new budget kicks in. 

Over the past several years, personally supporting both federal and commercial based businesses of all sizes from start ups to companies earning anywhere from $100M to upwards of $1B in annual revenue a year, hiring trends are quick to reveal themselves. A fascinating part of working in the executive search industry, after talking with thousands of professionals across a variety of job verticals, is noticing the ability of how top tier talent can consistently differentiate themselves and stand out amongst their industry peers. 

At any given time, a good majority of professionals are reluctant to take even an introductory call on a new opportunity until they are truly considering making a change to find that next challenge. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with a professional who keeps their head down on their current workload and blocks out all the potential distractions. That said there are flaws to keeping the blinders on too tight or for too long towards outside opportunities. 

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Oftentimes people tend to get overly caught up in their current position only to find themselves in a more urgent circumstance to find a new position down the road due to a layoff, end of contract, unexpected personal relocation, etc. As we prepare to turn the calendar into the last month of the year, and while I’m sure everyone still has their belt one notch looser then usual after the Thanksgiving feast, below is some additional food for thought.

The premise here is to help people gain a new perspective on the ‘job search’ process and how this process should ultimately be viewed as a year round proposition. Over the next few weeks I will be providing additional commentary and suggestion points on how the final month of the year can be leveraged as a tool for you to use to advance your career and identify your next job opportunity, whether that be in 2017 or further into the future.

 ‘Touchpoints’

The end of the year is a time that blatantly creates a stable of opportunities for anyone to reach out, network and catch up with professionals across the board. In addition to the holidays, and specifically in sports, there are plenty of touch points you can use this time of year to reconnect with people you haven’t spoken with lately. It is naturally tough to keep up with everyone at all points in the year, but leveraging touch points is a simple way to ensure you are able to stay in touch with everyone, letting them know that although you may have not spoken in a while, they are certainly on your mind. 

With the NBA and NHL seasons now nearly a quarter of the way into the season; both the NFL and NCAA football seasons winding down; NCAA Basketball tipping off and MLB teams preparing for winter meetings in a few weeks, there are more then enough touch points for you to use to (re)-break the ice with professionals across the industry. Take this time of year to shoot over a congratulatory note to someone on a great season or, better yet, reach out and call someone who may be going through a rough stretch after an underwhelming year. 

While it is preached in sports business not to allow the team’s success affect your personal performance, there is always relevancy in business. Whether it’s someone in ticket sales, sponsorships, marketing, or PR, everyone feels the affect of a good or bad season.  While simply reaching out to someone to wish them a happy holiday may not land you your dream job, most people will remember theses small tokens of gratitude. Nobody wants to become the person that people recognize as someone that only reaches out to them when they are in need of a ‘friend,’ and a good way to avoid that can be to ensure you are leveraging year round touch points and making this a more consistent part of your networking routine.

In coming around full circle, the ability to leverage touch points is the perfect opportunity for you to become more subconsciously engrained in the minds of professionals across the globe.  This quickly can prove to become invaluable the more active you are in searching for a new position. Remember, while this time of the year during the holidays brings about many touch points, this is something you should be doing year round. And as the saying goes, “success is the sum of small consistent efforts repeated daily,” so go ahead and reach out and touch someone today, as they will likely one day be the person you are able to turn to in times of need.

Jason is the Director at Sports Business Solutions, a sports consultancy firm based in Phoenix, AZ that provides sales training, consulting, and recruiting services for sports teams, properties and college athletic departments. For more information on job opportunities in the industry, make sure you are keeping up with Sports Business Solutions. Have any questions for Jason regarding current job openings? Feel free to use this article as your 'touch point' and send him a note at Jason@sportsbusiness.solutions.

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