Katie Conlon '24 and Brianna Kovit '23 heading to use the many tools that the Career Center has to offer. Photo by Ayden Levine '23

Ryan Smolko is the associate director of student engagement for the Career Center. His main objective on Muhlenberg’s campus is to help students with career coaching. He does this by assisting in developing resumes and LinkedIn profiles, helping students structure their job and internship searches and exploring different majors and career paths. 

Smolko wants students—particularly those who are interested in jobs within sports—to come to him with an understanding of what exactly they desire to be. “The biggest thing I try to do is help students with the kind of area they’re interested in; whether it’s journalism, marketing, where they see themselves fitting in. And then, starting to really understand the different layers when you think about sports opportunities.”

The scope of jobs within sports is vast, and Smolko believes that students need to direct themselves to more specific areas than just the broad term of sports. 

“A lot of times, people see the tip of the iceberg in terms of major professional sports. But then it’s looking at the different minor league affiliates, collegiate opportunities within the athletic departments as well as sports marketing firms and other organizations that also have these opportunities, both for internships and jobs. When you think about different marketing firms, equipment manufacturers or even different events—The U.S. Open or the PGA [Professional Golfers’ Association] tournament hires interns specifically for those annual events,” said Smolko.

With the competitive nature of sports jobs, just having good credentials is not good enough. Finding a niche area of interest for students can be crucial in boosting odds of obtaining internships and job possibilities. “No matter how good your resume or GPA is, you’re still facing an uphill battle,” said Smolko. “Sports opportunities are very competitive, probably one of the most competitive areas, because who doesn’t want an internship with a major sports team?”

Another big component of job and internship searching, in general, is utilizing the vast network and connections offered through alumni.

A smart and easy way Smolko suggested for college students to find alumni in their field of choice is to develop a basic habit. “It’s really establishing that 30 minutes to an hour a week that you’re working on this stuff, and then really looking at the three to five internships you can apply for every week, as well as the five people you can reach out to on LinkedIn who are either working there or just doing things that you want to do.”

Uniting with ‘Berg alumni through platforms such as LinkedIn can propel a student’s chances of grabbing their future dream job. Resources such as The Muhlenberg Network give students the chance to have direct contact to over 2,500 volunteering Muhlenberg alumni who are more than happy to help current Mules connect with jobs and internships.

Smolko encourages students to reach out to anyone and everyone, saying, “I want students to get in the habit of how they’re cross-referencing. You’re increasing your percentage chance—using a sports term—of scoring. And that’s what you’re always trying to do. The work you’re doing is resulting in more interviews and ultimately more offers.”

Taking the initiative and beginning the process of building a resume early on during a college career can certainly be proactive for students. They increase the chance of standing out from the crowd, compared to those who wait at the last possible moment.

For college students, devoting small and steady time to building their career network can get the ball rolling. “It’s the consistency around this that builds the momentum, whereas many times as college students (and I was the same way) you go in spurts. Then all of a sudden you’ll be like, ‘Wow, I should really get an internship,” and do a lot of stuff randomly and haphazardly and then sit on it.”

The concept of only upperclassmen being able to apply and participate in career developing internships is a common misconception. Muhlenberg students have the opportunity to apply for internships as soon as they step on campus. 

Sofia Eisenberg ‘20, made sure to capitalize at every conceivable moment during her time at ‘Berg. “I mainly applied my skills from the four internships I held over my four years at Muhlenberg. This brings me to my point that obtaining internships throughout your years at Muhlenberg will enhance your career skills as well as real-world experience.”

Her four internships included: marketing intern for MGH Modern Marketing Agency, social media marketing intern for The Daniel Witt Real Estate Group of Keller Williams Legacy, digital and social media intern for The Schiff Home Team of Keller Williams Legacy, marketing associate for Guide Social LLC.

Eisenberg, a former Muhlenberg tennis player, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in media and communication and a minor in innovation & entrepreneurship. Her interest in sports brought her to looking into marketing and retail internships. She eventually landed an internship with the Baltimore Ravens in retail after graduating.

“Over the course of my internship, I learned the value of dedicated teamwork: an inherent core value of the Baltimore Ravens organization. Working in a collaborative manner with everyone was crucial. Having a hands-on-deck approach and utilizing everyone’s unique perspective and experiences is something I will carry with me in my future roles as I continue to learn and grow professionally. Additionally, I learned how imperative it is that the retail department is fully equipped in order to ensure that game day preparations are to run smoothly,” said Eisenberg.

In the field of sports—or really any field of employment—the overall goal for students is to brand themselves. With the ability to connect to alumni and/or future employers in the click of a button, the most important thing a student’s resume can do is stand out.

“It’s how you’re telling your story in a powerful way,” said Smolko. “A resume or cover letter, or maybe a LinkedIn profile, these are kind of your life-like things, right? Those are all I have to go off of. So how are you building detail to those documents to create a powerful narrative and story? Because you have lived your life, the reader has not.”

Tom '23 is a Media Communication major who loves the world of sports. He is currently interested in continuing sports writing after his time with the Weekly. While not at the Weekly office, Tom enjoys sitting down and watching whatever is on ESPN and hanging out with his friends.

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