Florida A&M University alumna Dayna Lee hosted an online seminar Tuesday to discuss some of the opportunities ESPN has to offer students at HBCUs.
After showing a video of some behind-the-scenes action, Lee and five other panelists, also on the staff at ESPN, gave advice and answered questions from audience members.
There is an array of different positions offered at the ESPN network, best known for its ubiquitous highlight news show “Sports Center.” There is a great deal of work that goes on behind cameras and a large staff that helps make what you see on TVpossible.
ESPN has employed a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life, Lee said, with most of Tuesday’s panelists being HBCU alumni. Many of the panelists spoke about how their HBCU experience prepared them for the role they play at ESPN today. Specifically touching on the importance of networking, and how that has become more valuable since the lack of face-to-face interactions due to COVID. In addition, the importance of having confidence, articulating yourself well orally and on paper, your experience with the equipment/software that you are using, and your resume.
“Your resume is always going to be a work in progress. You want to cater it to the position you are applying for,” senior recruiter Brittney Kelley said. “Your resume should not solely consist of previous jobs, but should also include soft skills like problem solving, creative thinking, and working in a team environment.”
They stressed the importance of using the career center on-campus to make sure you are properly crafting a resume that best represents you. The panelists also discussed the value in involving yourself in campus and local activities. Although some may not think much of your campus newspaper or TV station, they introduce you to the skills needed when working for a major network. Even if it is a skill set outside of journalism, think of how you can use those skills to your benefit, Lee said.
ESPN facilitates an environment for growth and for you to learn from one other while demonstrating your skills daily, she added. It is a cliché to say that within two years you are either in or you’re out, but that is not the case with ESPN. Because it is so large you can move up or around within the company.
“What I enjoy the most is the opportunity and the endless possibilities,” Lee said.