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Sports scouts work for both collegiate and professional sports organizations to find top talent. They evaluate players’ skills and make recommendations for what players teams should pursue. In college athletics, the sports scout is an assistant coach (often a position coach) who builds relationships with high school coaches and players to recruit top players. At the professional level, sports scouts may work for organizations or as a freelancer.
College Sports Scout
Obtain coaching experience in your sport. If you want to recruit football players, look for a football coaching job at any level. Build your resume by moving up the ladder from Pee-Wee football to high school football. Choose your focus—you might be an offensive mastermind or a defensive genius, so stick with your strong suit as you gain coaching experience.
Secure a position as an assistant coach at the college level. Assistant coaches in all college sports help head coaches recruit, and they often hit the recruiting trail during the off-season to visit players at home.
Talk to the head coach about your desire to recruit. Head coaches trust their best assistants with the important task of recruiting, so show that you know your stuff. Tell the head coach about your relationships with high-school coaches, and you’ll likely be visiting them in no time.
Attend high-school athletic events. Next year’s college stars are playing on the high school field today, so get to know the sport. Familiarize yourself with programs that produce top players, and watch them play so that you know what skills college coaches are looking for.
Build relationships with high-school coaches in your state. Recruiting, or scouting, requires networking, so get to know coaches in your area, and build strong relationships with them. If a coach has a good relationship with you, he’s likely to encourage his players to join you at the next level.
Professional Sports Scout
Know what teams want. A professional sports scout must evaluate the skills of collegiate athletes to determine their potential, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Study your sport in and out so that you know what type of players succeed and what traits are desirable in a player.
Get access. Scouts often attend combines or open practices to watch potential professional athletes. Attend college athletic events in your sport and watch as many events on TV that you can. Get to know top college talent.
Research scouting organizations. Since some professional sports teams outsource scouting, consider applying for a position with a scouting organization.
Consider freelancing. Build your resume by scouting on your own, attending open practice and noting players’ skills and abilities. Keep a record of your findings, which you can submit when you apply for scouting positions.
Connect with professional sports teams. Talk to other scouts about how they landed their positions. Ask for names of people to contact, perhaps a hiring manager or director of scouting. Put a package together of your scouting notes, and send it along with a resume and cover letter to the contacts you gather.
Apply for scouting positions when they become available. Check out professional sports team job boards, and apply for the right positions when you see them. If the application requires letters of recommendation, have fellow scouts or coaches at any level write them. Such letters will illustrate your scouting skills while showing your connections in the sports community.
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.