Industry Talk: Auto Racing

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Pursuing a career in the world of sports is on the mind of most recent public relations graduates. Despite the increased demand for sports related jobs, there are simply way too many applicants for the number of positions available. One industry in particular that is rising in popularity is auto racing. Be it NASCAR, NHRA, Tudor United SportsCar Championship, Formula 1, or any other racing circuit, jobs in this industry are in high demand. So what can you do to stand out in the crowd and ensure you get one of these awesome and coveted jobs?

Recently, I attended the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, which is part of the Tudor Championship Series, at Watkins Glen International in New York. Unlike a normal race enthusiast who attended the race purely for entertainment, I was there to learn. I had credentials that got me into each and every area of the track, so that I could experience a behind the scenes view of what it takes to make it in the auto racing industry. As a guest of ZF Motorsports, a large sponsor of the series, I was able to interview Andy Lally, driver for Magnus Racing, and see the journalistic and pr side of working for a large sponsor company. One of my professors also works in the industry, as the pr guy for Alex Job Racing, so I was also fortunate enough to see what his job entails before, during and after the race. But I also had the opportunity of meeting the director of public relations for Kansas Speedway and had the chance to ask her some questions regarding the industry.

Here are the tips I took away that will hopefully help me land a job in auto racing upon graduation.

Tip #1: Be persistent

This industry is in high demand among both recent graduates and seasoned professionals. If you are really (and I mean really) want the job, you need to be persistent about it. Volunteer your time and skills at the local track in order to gain experience. Didn’t get the internship with the track you wanted? Apply again, but this time, make your application stand out, so they have no choice other than to hire you. Just keep trying. Sooner or later, you’re going to make it.

Tip #2: Send hand written thank you’s

This should be a given with any industry, but it’s extremely important in auto racing. The industry is so fast-paced that if you actually get the opportunity to go in for an interview, or if you are provided the chance to volunteer and show what you’re made of, you need to send a thank you, in the form of a hand-written note. They will notice that you took the time to thank them personally and will enjoy taking a minute out of their busy day to read your praises.

Tip #3: Learn, learn, learn

If you learn everything there is to know about the auto racing industry, how can someone not hire you? During your spare time, research what you don’t already know about the industry, so that when you are given an interview opportunity, you know all the facts. The interviewer will see that you are passionate and will be intrigued to bring you in for the second round of interviews.

Tip #4: Know that there are several different job opportunities available

In auto racing, there are so many different circuits, meaning there are thousands of jobs out there. Remember that you can work for a specific track, a specific race team, a charity of specific race team, or you can even work for the governing bodies themselves, such as NASCAR or NHRA. Explore all of your options and don’t limit yourself to only one type of job. Once you make it into the industry, it’s a lot easier to move around to that certain position you’ve had your eye on. So don’t rule anything out just yet. Accept a job with a race team charity and you may just find yourself as a driver’s publicist and eventually, the director of public relations for NASCAR.

Tip #5: Know why you want to work in auto racing

Due to the high desire of jobs in this industry, interviewers almost always ask their interviewees “Why do you want to work in this business?” And simply answering because I love auto racing and I’ve grown up around it all my life is not a good enough answer. They want to see your passion and your drive to make the industry better than it already is. So think about it and think about it real hard. It could quite literally be the million dollar question.

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