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What are good ways for me to start networking with professionals who work at ESPN?

I'm a college student entering his third year at San Jose State. I am pursuing a major in economics and a minor in advertising. I would love to get an internship at ESPN in the marketing or sales departments. I heard it helps if you have people within your network who work at ESPN but I currently do not have any ESPN employees in my LinkedIn network. Can you anyone provide me some insights? Thanks! :) #sports #networking #linkedin #social-networking #espn

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Brie’s Answer

Hi, Ben!

You don't necessarily need to know someone to get into the internship program, although it helps. I applied for my internship with ESPN online and had a great round of interviews that lead me to be fortunate enough to participate in the program. Granted that was 9 years ago, so some things may have changed. I've also passed along resumes for friends who have not been hired for an internship or job. So it really is based on qualifications, interviews and candidate pool.

Your question is a little tricky because even though there are a lot of people that work in this industry, it's actually kind of small. Everyone knows one another and the business is built on reputation and word of mouth. A lot of people will work for multiple networks throughout their careers and still know people they have met through the many stages. Asking someone to be a reference for you who does not know you or your work can be a tough sell.

I think it is pretty likely that you have a 2nd or a 3rd connection through someone that you have worked with. It's always better to have someone vouch for you to someone who works for a company. Maybe you have a connection through an advertising agency or others you have connected with.

Don't hold back if you don't have someone that works at ESPN to use as a reference. Apply anyway! The worst thing to do is not try. I speak from experience that you don't need to know someone. I'm not sure how much this helps, but I wish you the best of luck!


Hi Brie! This answer was super helpful! I appreciate all the insights you provided me! Have a fantastic day!-Ben Ben L.

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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Ben, My best advice would be to introduce yourself via LinkedIn or email to particular people you may want to network with and offer to buy them a coffee. Showing that you're being proactive and that you're interested in learning more about them and their career path can go a long way to starting a professional relationship!

Thanks for the advice this was super helpful! Ben L.

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Monty’s Answer

Hi Ben -

Brie and Samatha are spot on and have some great advise here. Read their responses a couple times and digest it.

I am not on the ESPN production side but rather the events side of ESPN and am approaching your question as someone who administers and organizes a couple ESPN-owned college football bowls games and a couple other ESPN events. I'm not sure where you reside but if there is a college football bowl game in your area (obviously several bowls in California), contact the bowl office and volunteer to work during bowl week. Each college bowl game has committees of volunteers for the teams, for the school VIPs, media relations,game officials, transportation and many more committees. Offer your services and be flexible. You can oftentimes network with teams and/or media and/or bowl executives.

I'm not sure how much closer that will get you to an ESPN marketing or sales internship but it really looks good on a resumes, allows you to get a behind the scenes peak at bowl games, allows you to network and meet new friends and it's fun.

Hope that helps and continued best wishes.

Thank you Monty! This was super helpful! Ben L.

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Ken’s Answer

Sounds like you are on an interesting education/career journey. Based upon my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I am passing on what I deem to be a very important and informative link about the forming of networking relationships that will help you to reach your goals. First I would like to share a story.

Let me share an interesting story about internships:

During my daughter's senior year in high school, the highlight of the year (and of the whole high school experience) was to be a several month long internship program. Everyone signed up and indicated the type of internship that they wanted - all except for one girl. This girl wanted to become a doctor and wanted her internship to be with the local EMS unit at the local fire station. So, she talked to the head of the EMS unit and got his approval and made arrangements with the school to create her own internship. Of all of the students about which I heard, she was the one who benefited the most by her internships. My daughter's was definitely not the highlight of her school career. Her first choice fell through and her final assignment was not really what she wanted and did not give her the type of exposure that she had hoped for. 

This shows that you can create your own internship! Locate a company that fits the parameters of the type of experience and exposure that you are seeking and work with them and the appropriate people in your school to put it in motion. After all, if there is an internship program existing today, anywhere, it had to be created by someone.

Here is the link: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-arent-i-hearing-back-about-jobs-im-applying-for?bsft_eid=ce69fe67-a25b-6f0f-46a7-3ca16b93938e&utm_campaign=daily_20180604_full_post_22746&utm_source=blueshift&utm_medium=email&utm_content=daily_20180604_full_post_22746&bsft_clkid=d7ab3c79-d530-4bc5-b220-c198c70827ca&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=e099f609-6470-4917-8466-da23de939177

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Ben! In a way, you've already answered your question. Right now, you have a few ESPN people you could connect with simply by responding to the words of wisdom they shared on this thread. So definitely take advantage of this opportunity!

In addition, be on the lookout for any journalism conferences/conventions that have an ESPN booth where they screen candidates (ex: National Association of Black Journalists, NABJ). When I was a rising senior in college, I attended a career workshop with IRTS and met two ESPN recruiters. This allowed me to meet face-to-face with an ESPN employee and learn valuable information I couldn't find on a website.

Hope this helps!