After months and months of preparation and visions of a future you desire, it can be incredibly hard to pick up the pieces after experiencing the disappointment and letdown of a team deciding to go in another direction. It’s discouraging, it’s painful, it’s scary. What now? What do you do next? The short answer: you can do a whole lot.
In the process of talking with hiring managers within the league, there is a sentiment that the quality of candidates is continuously improving. That you can no longer just learn on the job. That immense development is necessary prior to landing one of these roles. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? 32 teams in the league and 1-4 entry-level roles in the scouting department (with a few exceptions). Some teams have slow turnover in these roles. The number of available positions is highly limited (maybe 20-25 depending on the year). The demand for these jobs is immense. In college football alone, there are 130 Division 1 FBS football teams, each stacked with a football staff eager to make it to the profession’s highest level.
So, what are you doing to stand out?
If you got an interview during this cycle, congratulations! That is an awesome accomplishment and proof that you have done many things right in your journey toward your dream job. You’re probably wondering why you didn’t get the role, but did you ask?
Step 1: Gather as much information as possible from the team as to why you didn’t get that job and promise both yourself and the team that you are going to work to develop those areas identified.
- Follow-up conversations are commonplace after an interview. This is when you dive deep into what they thought of you and where you need to improve. Come with questions and seek detailed answers. If that opportunity has come and gone, it’s not too late to reconnect.
Step 2: Reach out to colleges, bowl games, mentors, and coaches and find opportunities that will improve your resume.
- One of the more common reasons for not getting a job is how your experience stacks up against others. That is filter #1. What is on your resume? Always seek to improve it.
Step 3: Identify areas of weakness in both your soft skills and hard skills and take active steps to improve.
- If improved presentation skills are needed: sign up for toastmasters or a similar public speaking group that helps improve your ability to confidently speak in front of others. This is critical to your success as a scout.
- If improved report writing is needed: sign up for Elite Scout School. From the intro to the summary, to closing statements, to one-liners, there is no better way to improve your overall report writing and create quality, evidence-backed evaluations.
- If people skills are needed: self-evaluation is needed. Being likable, easy to get along with, and personable is going to get you so much further in life than being difficult to be around.
Whatever skills you need to develop, create a detailed gameplan for how to improve. Beyond becoming a much better candidate, this creates an opportunity for you to show self-awareness and prove that you took concrete steps to address areas of weakness. Imagine how impressed you would be if a candidate that you did not hire, came back the following year and showed you a detailed plan that they executed to address areas that you thought needed improvement. You wouldn’t hire them?
Step 4: Write more reports. Nothing is going to turn a team off more than taking a hiatus from report writing. Your booklet of reports needs to be current and extensive. It proves that you have put in the work and know the hours and time necessary to succeed as an NFL scout.
It needs to be clear that you know what you’re signing up for. Teams don’t want to develop you only to have you decide this is not what you envisioned when seeking a scouting role. Putting in the requisite work proves that you’re prepared for the “grind”.
This hiring cycle isn’t the end of your journey, just the beginning. If you tried and didn’t get the role, take the advice above and work to make yourself a better candidate. If you haven’t yet applied but intend to, learn from the experience of others and ask yourself: am I doing everything I can from a development perspective to ensure that I am presenting as the best candidate for the job? One way to do that, of course, is by signing up for Elite Scout School. If you do, that is only the beginning. You must be self-motivated and eager to improve or else you’re just wasting your time.
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