If you’re a recent graduate or tennis professional considering a career in the racquet sports industry, I’m here to say… “Why not!?”
Do you enjoy giving back to a sport that has brought you joy? Do you prefer an office that doubles as the courts? Do you want the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life by providing healthy outlets for recreation, teaching new skill sets, or hosting events that bring the community together?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to seriously consider taking on the role of Director of Racquet Sports.
While it’s no secret that a career in racquet sports comes with many rewards, it’s still important to know that the industry is going through a period of change. In recent years, “racquets” go further than the tennis courts. Both private and public facilities are now offering diverse amenities which include tennis, pickleball, paddle, pop tennis, and much more. With this modernization, and for the next several years, there will be consistent industry movement where Director of Tennis positions become Director of Racquet Sport positions, suitable for the next generation to assume leadership roles.
Here are five tips to position yourself to become a Director of Racquet Sports and secure a job that’s a good career “fit.”
- Job advertisements are road maps. Director of Racquet Sport job postings on career boards should be seen as gold. If you’re actively mapping out the next steps of your career, take careful note of the job requirements. Ask yourself if you have enough years of experience under your belt and can comfortably fulfill them all. If not, are you seeing any patterns where you might be falling short? And if that’s the case, methodically access the appropriate continuing education or new certifications. Additionally, if you’re currently in a role where you can take on extra responsibility and earn the experience that you need, raise your hand and go for it.
- Networking. Good jobs are like real estate - you don’t know about them until after they’re gone. Get involved outside your active community. For example, volunteer on sub-committees and boards within the racquet associations. These are great ways for you to expand your professional network and for others to get to know you and learn how you tick.
These professional connections may lead to your name coming up in conversations when facilities are looking for new leadership, and in best-case scenarios, Search Committees or Executive Search consultants will begin to seek you out for opportunities.
- Detective Work. When you see a job that has caught your eye, reach out to your network to learn about each program’s specific needs. Specifically, try to identify the program’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Each facility has its own DNA and you will find that these aren’t always spelled out in job descriptions.
Having a comprehensive understanding of job expectations, and aligning them with your skill sets, will help to narrow down opportunities that are a good fit.
- Interview Preparation. Think of interview prep work similar to match preparation – grooving shots to build confidence for when it counts the most.
Revisit your career journey and practice telling your story succinctly. Prepare to discuss career moves, and along the way, highlight what you are most proud of and what defines you as a professional.
Lastly, prepare for the discussion of career challenges and how that was navigated. Everyone faces career adversity, and much like a loss in a match, think back to lessons learn and the adjustments that made you a better professional.
- “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” Remember that the presentation of “you” is part of a Search Committees final decision.
Dress professionally! Although a Director of Racquet Sports daily attire is athletic apparel, it is a statement when you arrive in professional business attire. It shows you want the job and that you taking the process seriously.
Hand-written thank you notes are somewhat of a lost art, so do what you can to obtain the names and spelling of each Search Committee member prior to the final interview. Go the extra mile and hand them out at the conclusion of the discussions. Showing gratitude for being considered will definitely leave a lasting impression and could net you the job.