The importance of finding your niche
Brief article on why it's so important to discover what niche suits your skills and interests best (note: this is not static and can evolve and transition even) as early on in your career as possible.
Back in law school I had no idea what field of law I wanted to specialise in and Sports law wasn’t even on my radar. I remember not being particularly intrigued by any specific field of law, I enjoyed bits and pieces of criminal law, civil law, commercial law, international law, etc. but was unsure of what area to specialise in. Eventually I ended up choosing to major in International & European Law because I had always enjoyed the international dimension of law and didn’t want my future practice to be bound to the Dutch jurisdiction only.
The international law major allowed me to study abroad in Rio de Janeiro for six months and eventually, during one of my internships, I came across the discipline of Sports Law. That’s when I first discovered the combination of Sports & Law was even a thing and something I definitely wanted to look further into. This led to me doing tons of research on the topic, speaking to many sports lawyers about their activities and eventually pursuing further education in this field.
Nowadays, I receive many messages from students expressing to me their interest in working in Sports but being unsure of the exact field or niche they’d like to work in. Most are quite clear on why they aspire a career in the sector, mostly because of their passion for Sports and wanting to turn it into their profession, but they aren’t sure about the specific niche they would like to work in. Understandably so, because working in Sports is not your typical sector for which most university fairs have stands explaining what such jobs are like and where they can be found. It’s not a topic you can easily ask your parents or teachers about because it’s a very specific industry and rather closed off to the outside world.
Everyone more or less knows what an accountant or doctor does, and if you don’t know it’s easy to go online and just google it. There will be tons of websites explaining in detail what the day to day of an accountant looks like and what studies and requirements are necessary to pursue a career in that field. In Sports, not so much. There’s lack of resources available to get some insights into the different departments that Sports clubs, associations and federations consist of, the daily life of those working in Sports, and career prospects in general. In addition to that, it’s an extremely competitive industry where there’s significantly more supply than demand for jobs and lots of positions are (re)allocated internally. Hence why it’s even more important to stand out and differentiate yourself from others, so your CV doesn’t disappear in the big pile of CVs that were there already before yours or will be after yours.
I’ve found that the only way to stand out and reach your objectives, is by knowing your strengths and weaknesses and by identifying your niche. My niches at the moment are Sports and Law. I believe they can transition and evolve over time and you can redirect your focus if your interests change along the way, but it’s very important to know where you’re heading, at least for a specific moment in time so you can concentrate your energy and focus.
I hope that by sharing my experience, conducting free webinars with different industry experts and sharing all this information, I can contribute to shedding some more light on the different niches within Sports and that this may help you identify which one suits you best. I am soon launching a new program designed to help you identify your niche in Sports, if you're interested sign-up here for the email list here to be notified when it launches!