Step 1: Start Writing Reports Now!
Join Elite Scout School. Build a scouting booklet. This does two things: first, you begin to develop your evaluation and report writing and, second, you prepare yourself for a future interview. More on what an interview entails in a later blog but you will be asked to watch a player and be able to present your evaluation to leadership. This is one of the main reasons why I started Elite Scout School. To teach prospective scouts how to evaluate and write reports. You may only get one shot; you have to be prepared. Sign up here.
NOTE: If steps 2, 3, and 4 do not apply to your situation, do not fret. Hammer down on step 1. Work on your craft whenever you can. Develop your report writing using the tools available at www.elitescoutschool.com.
Step 2: Get A Job With Your College
If you are still in college, get a job with the football team ASAP. The most direct path to scouting is as a recruiting assistant in college. It allows you to develop your evaluation, interact with coaches and staff, and creates opportunities to network with road scouts. Recruiting jobs are coveted and not always available. Don’t get discouraged, contact everyone in the department. Stop by and speak with the recruiting director. Email equipment, trainers, and football staff. Get in anyway you can. This is what I did while at the University of Arizona. Recruiting wasn’t available but equipment was so I jumped on the opportunity.
Step 3: Put Your Head Down and Work
Once you have one of these jobs, put your head down and work. Do all that is asked. Soak up the knowledge of your superiors. Build relationships within the building and be opportunistic in your networking when scouts arrive on campus. Earn the recommendation of your boss through hard work, humility, and an eagerness to learn and grow.
Step 4: Get Coaching Experience
If possible, try and get some coaching experience. It certainly expedites your ability to transition into scouting and continues to grow your network. Could be your local high school or, if you managed to get that job in recruiting, ask to take on tasks that can lighten the coaches load and allow you to learn. Many of my colleagues with the Browns had some coaching experience that created a connection and ultimately landed them a job in the NFL.
Step 5: Expand Your Online Network
Aggressively expand your network online and avoid projecting a poor online image. Linkedin is a valuable source for connecting with those in leadership roles. While you’re at it, connect with me on Linkedin and Twitter and follow Elite Scout School on Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram. Be cautious of how you’re portraying yourself. The first thing every person researching a prospective employee is going to do is google your name. Is the image portrayed online how you want to be seen?
Step 6: Maximize Your Exposure to NFL Teams
Take every opportunity to maximize your exposure to these NFL teams. If possible, attend events where interaction with NFL personnel is possible. Try and volunteer for All-Star games. If that isn’t possible, try to attend regardless. Be in Indy for the combine. At the very least, you can sit in the hotel and hand out your resume.
Step 7: Contact NFL Teams
Be persistent in your contact with NFL teams. Send your resume, cover letter, and samples of your work. Trust me, your resume is looked at. Mail the packets to their practice facility addressed to the GM, Assistant GM, College Director, Pro Director, and any other person in a leadership position. Send them again and again. They are people too; who do you think they will give an interview to? Someone that sends a one-off letter or someone who is highly persistent in all avenues.
Final Scouts Note
You may be thinking that it’s a significant time and financial investment to execute the steps above. You are absolutely right. These jobs are coveted and the personal investment you put in gives you an opportunity to stand out. It shows you’re serious. Also, find a way to add value to an organization. That can be through quality evaluation, experience in data analytics to give the team a competitive advantage, or a way that is not yet clear to me. I will reiterate one of the most important points, gain experience writing reports. Utilize the resources that are provided with an Elite Scout School Subscription and be prepared when that opportunity presents itself. There is no one way to make it to the NFL but the steps above will improve your chances substantially. I got my foot in the door with the Cleveland Browns by working my tail off to earn a recommendation from my boss at the University of Arizona, Wendell Neal (AAD, Equipment Operations). I put in my time in equipment with the Browns and began to build connections within the building. In doing so I was able to sit in on film sessions and learn from the current scouts. All that created an opportunity to transition into scouting. But remember, be eager to learn, humble in what you know, and always perform your current role at a high level because, if you don’t, you won’t earn that next opportunity.