NetWorks Sports Career Advice: How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

NetWorks Career Advice: How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

Preparing an effective cover letter is equally as important as writing your resume.  The cover letter is used to sell your resume by communicating to your potential employer how your skills and experiences are a match for the position for which you are applying.  However, preparing a poorly written cover letter is worse than not doing one at all. This post will give you a few pointers on how to make your first impression a lasting one.


Cover Letter Do’s

  • Tailor each cover letter to a specific employer.
  • Type the cover letter in the same font as your resume.
  • Use paper that matches your resume.
  • Keep it short and sweet!  Three to five paragraphs maximum.
  • Use the recruiter’s name and title.
  • Market yourself as a good solution to the employer’s needs.
  • Highlight the key points of your resume.
  • Conclude with a commitment to action…tell employer what you will do next.
  • Fit the letter on one page with one-inch margins on every side.
  • Sign the letter using black ink.


Cover Letter Dont’s

  • Mention personal weaknesses or perceived shortcomings.
  • Say that you will do “any” job.
  • Forget to include your telephone number and e-mail address.
  • Use abbreviations.
  • Use a type font smaller than an 11 point.
  • Send form letters.
  • Forget to spell-check.
  • Exaggerate, brag or lie.
  • Forget to read, edit and re-read your letter for typos, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors.

If you have any additional advice for how to write an effective cover letter, please share with our readers by entering your thoughts in the comments section below.  We appreciate any additional advice for our readers.

To find out more career advice, follow us on Twitter @NetWorks_Sports

NetWorks Sports: In Their Own Words with Olympic Gold Medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Chief of Sport Performance – USA Track & Field

In Their Own Words profiles former student-athletes who have leveraged their experiences on the field, court, and in the pool to buoy their professional careers. They’ve had success in the classroom & in their sport, and now are enjoying tremendous success in various sectors around the world.

In Their Own Words with Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley - Chief of Sport Performance, USA Track & Field

A native of Northern Virginia, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley has leveraged her success in the classroom (majored in Industrial Engineering at the University of Tennessee) and on the track (as a student-athlete at Tennessee in addition to being a Gold Medalist in the 1984 Summer Olympics) to launch quite an impressive career where she has had widespread influence on a global platform.

Benita has always been a leader and influential voice amongst her peers, so it wasn’t a surprise that after participant on a committee aimed at assessing the current state of USA Track & Field, she was called to take the lead in helping to bring back the sport to the level of success we all had witness when she was wearing the red, white, and blue in Los Angeles back in 1984.

Her career now comes full-circle as she takes on a newly created role with USA Track & Field as Chief of Sports Performance.  A role that will undoubtedly play a huge role in the performance of the track & field team as we approach the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

What is your current title and how long have you been in this position?
I am the Chief of Sport Performance for USA Track & Field and have been in this position with USATF for two years.

Specifically what do you do in this role with your organization?
Lead innovation, strategy, programs and policy to boost the performance of the World’s #1 track and field team. Manage $10 million budget for all national teams and high performance programs to support the USA’s elite track and field athletes. Reporting directly to the CEO, areas of responsibility include: athlete services, coaching education, sports science and medicine, anti-doping, Team USA management, grants, domestic and international competitive opportunities, National Championships, training centers, and U.S. Olympic Committee and sponsor partnership liaison. Lead Team USA to the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan American Games, and other major international competitons.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Interacting with the athletes and knowing my hard work (and that of my staff) pays great dividends for Team USA at major international competitions like the World Championships and Olympic Games. 

What was your first “REAL” job?
I worked part-time as an Industrial Engineer for Tracor Aerospace in Austin, Texas while I was training for the 1988 Olympic Games.

Has being a competitive athlete helped you in your current role or during your career? If so, please tell us in what ways.
My ability to set high goals and focus on achieving them has been a great asset to me in my career. In my current role, my experience as a world-class athlete allows me to have an innate knowledge of what it takes to help our athletes reach their own goals and have successful careers.

What do you miss and what don’t you miss about being a competitive athlete?
I definitely miss that rockin’ body!!! I took it all for granted when I had it, and now as a middle-aged mom of two, it’s hard to believe I ever looked like that. I certainly don’t miss the difficult workouts, and the ice baths…yikes!!

What was your most memorable moment as an athlete? What was your most embarrassing moment?
Winning the Olympic gold medal was definitely my most cherished moment. My most embarrassing moment was in high school. Let’s just say I left it all out on the track at the end of a race at the state championships!

How often do you workout? What type of things do you do to stay active?
I work out two to four times a week, and I mostly power walk or jog. I like to feel the sun and breathe the fresh air…all those years running outside around that track spoiled me, so I don’t like to go to the gym.

Do you have a mentor (or mentors) who has helped you along the way?
Yes, my parents first and foremost, my husband of 15 years, my coaches, and my bosses at various jobs. There have also been people like Anita DeFrantz (Olympic medalist and IOC member), Gerry Laybourne (Founder of Oxygen and Nickleodeon), Decker Anstrom (former CEO of Weather Channel), Dr. Carole Stovall (Executive Coach) and many more that have taken a strong interest in me and have shared a lot of great wisdom and advice along the way. I also take advice from books, my pastor’s sermons, leadership seminars, etc.

If you knew then what you know now, is there anything that you would do differently in your career?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I think that my career has been guided by divine intervention and a lot of great mentors, and I’m blessed to have had a varied and fulfilling career path. Even the mistakes I’ve made and the difficult times I’ve endured have somehow better prepared me for the next challenge or opportunity.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
My parents. They’re amazing human beings and I love them dearly for laying such a solid foundation for my sister and me and for always being there to provide their support and encouragement.

Do you have any advice for young professionals and/or former student-athletes hoping to have a successful career after sports?
Student athletes should take advantage of the rare access they have to prominent alumni, school officials, community leaders, and the media and use it to their advantage. They should always represent themselves and their school in the most positive light so that when the need or opportunity arises, you can always count on their support. I call my gold medal “the gift that keeps on giving” because many of the good things in my life can somehow be traced back to my participation in sports. I was blessed with the talent to run fast, but it was hard work and good decisions along the way that have helped me achieve success both on and off the track.

Favorite Book: Too many to name, but the latest is “The Help”

Favorite Movie: The Game

Hobbies: Spending time with my family and friends, Reading

Favorite Place to Vacation: Hawaii, Outer Banks, any place warm

What’s playing on your iPod? Mostly R&B…I’m old school. I also like a bit of gospel, and some of the more popular songs by female artists like Beyonce, Adele, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, etc.

Android or iPhone? Definitely, iPhone

Mac or PC? Both…PC for work, Mac at home

Favorite TV Show: The Good Wife, The Sing Off

Favorite Restaurant: PF Chang’s

Favorite Quote: Ecclesiastes 3:1. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”


Find out more about Benita and USA Track & Field at the USATF website

To read more “In Their Own Words” on student-athletes doing great things after graduation, sign up for the NetWorks Sports “Changing the Game” Newsletter today!!

Follow NetWorks Sports Consulting on Twitter at @NetWorks_Sports

NetWorks Sports Book of the Month: “Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton” by Jeff Pearlman

This week’s NetWorks Sports’ Recommended Book is Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton by Jeff Pearlman.

This week’s book review is actually a “preview” for Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton, which will officially be released on October 4th.  Sweetness, written by New York Times bestselling author (and friend of NetWorks Sports Consulting) Jeff Pearlman, is sure to inspire sports fans, NFL fans, and anyone who wants to hear a story about a man, Walter Payton, who lead a legendary career on the field while carrying himself with so much grace.

Several books have been written chronicling Walter Payton’s life.  Most focused on his career and on-field achievements.  Others dabbled into his personal life.  But Jeff Pearlman has endeavored to find out more about this mysterious man who inspired many through his thrilling runs and awe-inspiring touchdown dives throughout the course of his career.

We could go on & on in support of Pearlman’s book, but we think there is no better way to find out about the content of this book than through the author’s own words.

Writing this book was obviously a meaningful journey for Pearlman, which is surely conveyed in the eloquent prose and honest insight into the true story behind the man we call Sweetness.  With that said, Pearlman has offered up some amazing tidbits about his journey through various video vignettes that you can find on YouTube.

There are about 10 videos for you to enjoy, but the one that struck a chord with me was “SweetSpot3: Jeff Pearlman on his book The Enigmatic Walter Payton.”  Here Pearlman gives us a little insight into what was so interesting about Payton…the fact that the wrong birth date is published in nearly every book or article about Payton.

Fascinating stuff!  Here’s my favorite clip….Jeff Pearlman’s Sweet Spot 3:


Check out the videos & then go to to order a copy of Sweetness for yourself!  You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffPearlman

Follow NetWorks Sports on Twitter @NetWorks_Sports

NetWorks Sports Small Business Profile: Athletes Chef

The NetWorks Sports Small Business Profile is a brief vignette that provides a closer look at companies founded by individuals who have been involved in the sports industry at some point in their career.  These business owners will share their journey as an entrepreneur as well as insight for those of you interested in starting your own venture.

NetWorks Small Business Profile on Athletes Chef LLC and its founder, Kyle Coleman

Kyle Coleman - CEO & Executive Chef, Athletes Chef LLC

Name: Kyle Coleman

Title: CEO & Executive Chef

Company Name: Athletes Chef, LLC

Company Website:



When did you start your company and what was your inspiration for starting it?
I started Athletes Chef in 2011. My inspiration for starting my business was to reach out to youth athletes in urban areas and their parents and introduce healthy yet affordable meal options that promote wellness and meal options that optimize sport performance.

What’s your Elevator Pitch?
Athletes Chef specializes in prepared meals for ahletes and those with dietary concerns. We provide healthy food demostrations to youth athletes, their parents, schools, organizations and adults with dietary concerns.

What is your company’s Mission Statement?
To promote healthy nutrition education to youth, collegiate, professional athletes, fitness enthusiast, weekend warriors and everyday Americans through cooking demonstrations with various organic products and hormone free meats, presentations and social media.

What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
I enjoy being able to make healthy food exciting and delectable to achieve the dietary goals required. I simply enjoy being a chef and being involved with sports at the same time.

Tell us about your career before you became your own boss.
At a very young age, I became intrigued with food while laying on the kitchen floor watching my mother prepare meals, and assisting my father with barbecuing in the backyard. As I grew older, I developed a passion for food as I experimented in the kitchen baking cookies and cakes and preparing meals. Because of this passion, I took an educational leave of absence from Ford Motor Company, and enrolled in Schoolcraft College’s Culinary Arts Program.

I graduated from Schoolcraft College in April, 2005 with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts with honors. I was a student assistant in the Culinary Arts Program and worked as a private chef for several families, and also catered private parties when not taking classes. I was part of a development team at Schoolcraft College, which worked with new oven technology and conducted testing for Subway. With the TurboChef Schoolcraft College partnership, I studied and taught oven programming, development of cook cycles, and product development.

After graduation, I became a full-time employee of TurboChef Technologies as a Corporate Chef. During my tenure with TurboChef, I was the company’s representative to Starbucks, Sara Lee, and Tyson to name a few, where I developed opportunities and supported numerous customers that remain with TurboChef to this very day. I also led the efforts to expand the customer base into U.S. Military Bases as they became familiar with TurboChef ovens and what this technology could do for them.

Later I served as a contract employee to Concerto Foods as Corporate Executive Chef where I developed 19 menu items and developed food service items for Hyatt Hotels and Tim Horton’s. I later was employed by Smoky Market Foods, and during this tenure I served as Corporate Executive Chef and Director of Foodservice Operations. I oversaw the building of the company’s pilot restaurant, authored the standard operating procedures, and developed training platforms among many other tasks.

After leaving corporate America, I decided it was time to refocus my career and combine my passions and joys which are food, sports, healthy nutrition and children. To ensure the highest nutritional meals for my clients I have become a Certified Fitness Chef, Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist and Certified in Kid’s Nutrition Specialist so I can assist them in performing at optimal levels on a daily basis. Additionally, I’m also involved with First Lady Michelle Obama’s child obesity initiative- Chef’s Move to Schools.

Were you previously involved in the sports industry?  If so, what capacity?
I played high school football.

What was your goal when starting the company?  Has that changed?  What is your long-term vision for your company?
My goal is to educate athletes on the meal options they have to help them meet their preformance goals.

What is it like running your own company?  Give us a “day in the life.”
I can’t put into words how rewarding it has been to go in the urban community and educate the youth on healthy food options and provide affordable meal options to the parents as well.

What are the greatest challenges of owning your own business?
The biggest challenge of owning your own business is owning the process of successfully marketing your own business and and growing the business.

What has been the biggest surprise you’ve had in being an entrepreneur/business owner?
The biggest surprise in being a business owner for me has been all the formal procedures required to proceed forth.

What are the greatest rewards of entrepreneurship & business ownership?
The greatest reward of being a business owner is follwing your dreams and passions and being compensated at the same time.

Is there a mentor (or mentors) that has helped you along the way?
I don’t have a mentor at this time. I am relying on a lot of research combined with a passion for the business.

Please share any advice for readers who are considering starting their own business.
I cannot stress enough to others considering their own business to do a lot of research and if you cannot find the answer seek someone that can lead you in the right direction.

Favorite Book: Mind Gym

Favorite Movie: The Blind Side

Hobbies: Attending various sporting events

What’s playing on your iPod: Various artists

Mac or PC: Mac

Favorite TV Show: Any Food Network shows

Favorite Restaurant: Too many to name

Favorite Quote: “Nothing fails you but a try”


For more information on Kyle & Athletes Chef, log on to

Sign up for the NetWorks Sports “Changing the Game” Newsletter today!!

NetWorks Sports Future Leader: Chris Chaney, Founder of Ivy Sports Symposium

NetWorks is committed to supporting young professionals looking to get their foot in the door in the sports industry.  Our team has received an extraordinary amount of support throughout our careers and are truly impressed with the generation of young leaders who are ready to help take the sports industry to all new heights.  If you know of any individuals like this, please let us know about them.  If you are in a position to hire or recommend these NetWorks Future Leaders, please contact us and we will put you in touch with them.  They are our future!

Today’s NetWorks Sports Future Leader is Chris Chaney


Chris Chaney - President & CEO of Chaney Sportainment Group

“I was introduced to Chris Chaney nearly 8 years ago by Jamie Zaninovich (currently the Commissioner of the West Coast Conference) and have been impressed by Chris’ drive, vision, knowledge, and work ethic ever since.  Chris is the consummate entrepreneur, someone who is innovative & willing to see his vision through from start to finish.  Over the years, through his leadership, he has created a number of very successful initiatives and has demonstrated why he will be an invaluable addition to lead any team to accomplishing its objectives in an effective & efficient manner.  His future is very bright.  Ten years from now, I won’t be surprised to see his name listed among the leaders in the sports industry!”

~ Angela Taylor, President & CEO of NetWorks Sports Consulting


Name: Chris Chaney
College(s): Princeton University
Degree(s):Bachelor of Arts, Sociology
Resume Available: Yes, upon request (send email request)

Tell us a little about your background.
I am originally from Germany and decided to come to the USA after high school to follow my dreams. I have been extremely fortunate to meet some outstanding people, friends, mentors and colleagues, in college and over the years since.

What type of work experience have you had?

I really started my career in college through internships, many self-starter projects and ultimately launching the Ivy Sports Symposium (formerly Princeton Sports Symposium). My first job after college was with the NBA in Global Marketing Partnerships servicing clients such as Coca-Cola, Haier and Nike, and I have been an entrepreneur ever since.

What type of job(s) are you seeking?
I’m interested in leveraging my extensive global network as well as sports and entrepreneurial experience for an outstanding and cutting-edge organization within the sports and entertainment industry. After a few exciting years in the entrepreneurial world, I am ready for the next step in my career.

What is your greatest strength?
I’m a DOER as well as an excellent relationship builder and high-level strategic thinker.

Tell us about a project that you completed successfully.

The project I have enjoyed working on the most and which has given me the personal satisfaction of helping others is the Ivy Sports Symposium.

It all started in 2006 when I was sitting in the office of one of the staff of the Princeton athletics department discussing the annual street basketball tournament I was organizing, and we somehow came across the topic of a sports business conference while in conversation. I immediately became fascinated with the idea of creating such an event on campus and decided to do it.

Five and a half years later, the Symposium is one of the global sports industry’s premier conferences. It has gained industry-wide recognition by featuring more than 180 unique speakers from around the world (literally as far as Dubai and China) representing all facets of the sports business, and welcoming student attendees from over 30 colleges and universities.

What experience (if any) do you have in the sports industry?

I’ve consulted for a variety of companies in the sports and entertainment industry on revenue enhancement and global expansion (e.g. lifestyle footwear company, mixed martial arts apparel company, Egyptian Premier League soccer club, worldwide obstacle racing series, postseason college basketball tournament, indoor American football league) as well as conceptualized a number of large-scale entertainment, basketball, golf and tennis event properties throughout the Middle East and the USA.

Why do you want to work in the sports industry?
The sports industry is a fascinating part of the business world that is an ubiquitous part of our daily lives. Sports has always been a passion but I am particularly intrigued by the competitiveness within the industry, the fact that it rubs shoulders with virtually all other industries as well as the unique and creative ideas and concepts that have come out of sports over the years.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
My mother.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Being a leader in the business world while also working towards positive change in our society. 

Anything else we should know about you?
Too many extracurricular leadership positions to list but I loved all of them. I was selected as young leader of the sports business by the industry think tank Partnership Activation in its inaugural Rising Stars class. I am inspired by Marcus Aurelius. 

For more information about Chris, read his bio.  To request a resume, please send an email to

Follow NetWorks Sports on Twitter at @NetWorks_Sports