December 11, 2009
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SRU job seeker gets national exposure at MLB's job fair
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Terry Rodgers, a Slippery Rock University graduating senior from New Castle majoring in communication, learned firsthand this week that being in the right place at the right time can get you national exposure when looking for a job.
Rodgers, who has taken the communication department's public relations track and graduates Dec. 19, is in Indianapolis, Ind., this week looking for a permanent job with one of the minor league baseball teams staffing the Professional Baseball Opportunity conference. He hopes to use the skills he picked up during his SRU studies and his internship last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates to land a position.
By chance, as he was dropping off a resume to a potential employer earlier this week, Tom Van Riper, a reporter with Forbes.com, was looking for jobseekers to interview. Rodgers agreed and found his story told in the publication.
"I really didn't expect it, I just happened to be in the right place," he said. The job fair is part of Major League Baseball's winter meetings. Most of the job openings at the convention are with minor league teams affiliated with the major league teams, Rodgers said. He estimates 500 to 600 job seekers are at the convention, all looking for the perfect, entry level job handling marketing, licensing, sales, promotions or public relations.
Van Riper's story explained that the annual meetings became a mecca for those seeking jobs in baseball's front office, so much so that Major League Baseball formalized the process and even offers seminars and workshops to help those looking to break into the field. Job candidates, such as Rodgers, who drove to the convention and paid the admission charge, even receive ID badges to lend support to their efforts. The fair is in partnership with St. Thomas University in Miami.
"In reality the job fair and convention is just an opportunity to network," Rodger said, explaining he has spent time standing in the lobby of nearby hotels looking to make contacts that might one day land him a job or steer him to a prospective employer.
"The fact that I worked with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season and still do some writing for the Pittsburgh Sports Report, helps me identify some of the people at the convention and lets me make contact - and start a conversation," he said.
He said while he was ideally looking for a position with a sports team, he had not yet totally ruled out looking in the hard news arena. "I love both sides of journalism, so I will look at all opportunities," he said.
Rodgers, who also interned with Pittsburgh Sports Report, a 150,000-reader, monthly sports newspaper focused on and based in Pittsburgh, continues as a reporter covering Penn State University football.
"After you submit your resume, you just sit and wait for a call hoping to get an interview. Some of the employers are actually here at the convention, others just have a box to collect resumes and will make contact in the coming weeks," he said.
By Wednesday, Rodgers said he had not yet landed a position, but remained hopeful. "There are lots of opportunities in all areas of baseball communication and community relations, and I am just looking for any opening."
And, he adds, "The media presence at the conference is phenomenal."
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.