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 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


NetWorks Sports Spotlight Interview with Joby Branion – Co-Founder & Executive Director, Athletes First (@athletesfirst)

NetWorks Sports Spotlight Interview with….Joby Branion – Co-Founder & Executive Director, Athletes First
By Tracey Savell Reavis

Joby Branion, Co-Founder & Executive Director at Athletes First

For Joby Branion, the route from athlete to agent was about as predictable as going undefeated for an entire season in the NFL. Youth football in his hometown of Wareham, Mass., led to a scholarship to Duke University, where he played four years and earned All-ACC honors. But when the former Blue Devil defensive back got cut by the Washington Redskins, what followed was 10 years in a school administrator’s job, grad school and law school, and a stint as a corporate lawyer.

It wasn’t until 1996 when a friend of a friend informed Joby of an opportunity to work with Leigh Steinberg’s sports representation firm.  His perception of sports agents up to that point had been that they were enablers who told their clients whatever they thought they wanted to hear. Since that was not his makeup, Joby initially wanted no part. It took more than a little research before he decided to give it a try. It was a decision that would turn out to be a wise one.

Today, Joby is Co-Founder & Executive Director of Athletes First, a bicoastal sports representation agency that opened its doors in 2001.  As the agency’s name suggests, they focus on personalized service. For Joby, that means not only being there for clients, but being honest with them. Even if it’s not what they want to hear. In addition to big name NFL players like Mark Sanchez, Matt Hasselbeck and Ray Lewis, Athletes First reps baseball and basketball players and a number of coaches. Among the services Athletes First offers its clients are contract expertise, a pre-draft training program, PR, and negotiating marketing/endorsement deals. It’s this work that gives Joby the opportunity to do something he loves – sharing his life experiences so that he helps young men navigate life’s minefield of important decisions.

Post-draft, post-lockout and, finally, post-season kickoff, Joby spoke with us about some of the benefits of focusing less on a specific destination and instead on enjoying the journey.

Can you describe what the atmosphere was like at Athletes First during the 135-day NFL lockout?
The biggest difference from normal years was that there’s usually more communication with general managers and teams. And we didn’t have that during the lockout. And we take our relationship with our clients seriously. We keep them informed, give them the best advice. It was harder to do that during the lockout. So for us it was a challenge, a new landscape.

And when it was over?
A mad rush of deal making that had to be done in an extraordinarily condensed period of time. Free agency was a very intense time with so many contracts being signed when normally there’s plenty of time to prepare. It’s not back to normal yet.

Were there any priorities your agency set as soon as the lockout ended?
No, no priorities. All deals were just as important – free agents, veterans. Every individual client believes their situation takes priority – so we do also. We worked around the clock to get everything done.

Athletes First client Von Miller of the Denver Broncos

One of Athletes First clients is Von Miller [drafted second overall by the Denver Broncos]. Can you talk a little about him being named as a plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit filed against the NFL by the Player’s Association?


He was approached at first, informally, before the lawsuit was even filed. It came up, if I remember correctly, at a cocktail party, in the abstract. Then there were follow up discussions. We talked to him about what the plusses and minuses would be for him. We pointed out that a general manager might look at this as a negative. But at the end of the day, Von was excited to join the other players. He was doing it as a way to keep the lockout from happening or to stop it if it did happen. Not anti-NFL, but saying I’m “pro” playing.

In the end it showed him to be a thoughtful man, who can take a stance on something. It turned out a positive, a good move on his part.

What do you think of the new, 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement? Which side made out the best?
Well, in any negotiation there are trade offs. But I think both sides are happy. There is a long-term labor agreement in place now. And I think that says stability, and it adds to the value of the sport from a fans point of view. I’m glad it’s resolved.

Do you think the play in the league this season will ultimately be affected by the lockout?
It’s hard to say. There was some rumbling before about players not being able to participate in offseason training, that they’d be out of shape, at higher risk of injury. I don’t think we’ll really know until the end of the season.

What importance would you put on sports in your life, and the role it has played in shaping who you are?
Growing up it was difficult being around a stepmother and with no father. Football became like a surrogate father. It was my source of self worth and confidence. Football helped get me from childhood into adulthood. It is such an intense feeling playing football – the cheering, coming out onto the field, being with your teammates. There’s nothing in the real world like that. I tell people all the time, ‘You will always remember the last day you play’. I can still remember the last time I put on a football helmet. It took me several years to get that feeling out of my life. It was very hard to walk away from the game.

Can you talk about the career decisions you’ve made that eventually led to you to being a sports agent and doing something that you love?
Well I wanted to play pro football. Everybody wants to be a pro – in sports, in music. But that didn’t happen.  I got hired as the Director of Minority Admissions at Duke. I had a lot of interaction with faculty and staff and students. I got to travel. I got to grow and learn. Then I moved to the west coast to go to grad school at UCLA, and the experience was dramatically different. But the move improved my network. Each step I’ve made was an effective way to improve skills that I could always use in life. I think I got a much richer set of life experiences because of the choices I made.

What kind of skills do you think are important to have in order to be successful?
Expose yourself to things. Network. I harp on the importance of networking. But it’s not to be hyper-focused on a specific number of friends on Facebook. The quality of relationships is more important. And challenge yourself. Those are the cornerstones to happiness and success, and to waking up everyday feeling good about what you’re doing.

What lessons about work and life have you learned that you share with others?
I would encourage everyone to have as many diversified experiences as possible. I counsel young people all the time, don’t feel like you have to make a permanent decision about your career early on. If people ask you what you want to do, or what your plans are, it’s okay to say I’m not sure. Don’t feel like you’re a loser at 22 if you don’t know what you want. Just whatever you do, always look to make decisions that will increase your options.

Is there anything you haven’t done that you wish you had, or anything you would have done differently?
Yeah, there is – that I didn’t take as much advantage of the chance to study abroad.

And in some ways I wish I could have done Duke without being an athlete, just to see what that would have been like.

Joby Branion



Favorit Sport after Football: Lacrosse
On His Nightstand: The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
Hobbies: Whatever my three young sons happen to be into at the moment – today it is Call of Duty on PS3!
Favorite Musician: Prince
In His Music Library: Aside from his majesty Prince, everything from Lil Wayne and Adele to Stevie Wonder and David Sanborn
Favorite Movie: Pulp Fiction
Daily Newspaper: The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post
Favorite Quote: “If you can be bought, you can be sold!” ~ Anonymous

Follow Athletes First on Twitter @AthletesFirst and find out more about Joby, Athletes First, and their clients on the A1 website

Follow NetWorks Sports Consulting on Twitter @NetWorks_Sports and sign up to receive the “Changing the Game” Newsletter today!

Let us know what you think of this NetWorks Sports Spotlight Interview with Athletes First Co-Founder & Executive Director Joby Branion, in the Comment section below!

NetWorks Sports: In Their Own Words with Michelle Yeager-Turner, Owner of charizYa Fitness

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 Michelle Yeager-Turner

Michelle Yeager-Turner, Owner of charizYa Fitness

After a successful experience as a cheerleader at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Michelle Yeager-Turner has taken her passion for fitness, competitive nature, diligent work ethic, and desire to help others to launch her own business in Louisville, KY.

The focus & commitment required to be a gymnast & fitness competitor have served as the foundation for Michelle’s business endeavors.

Fitness is in Michelle’s blood!  She grew up both a competitive gymnast and cheerleader and is currently a national level fitness competitor.  Her passion is helping others, especially getting them into shape.  She is a certified Zumba Instructor and Personal Trainer.  Find out more about what has lead to Michelle’s success in the business world and in competitive fitness.

What is your current title and how long have you been in this position?
I opened my own (primarily) women’s fitness studio in Louisville, KY twelve months ago. We specialize mainly in Zumba classes although we offer other strength and toning questions. It’s an amazing feeling to own my own studio and create a positive community of people that look forward to improving their lives. It’s been rewarding both to personally be able to reach and teach our clients but also to train other instructors to do the same.

What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of my job is looking in the mirror during our class and seeing a room full of diverse people both sweating and smiling. 

What was your first “REAL” job?
My first “real” job was teaching first grade. I was an elementary school teacher for seven years. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the youth, but also yearned to be my own boss. Being in the classroom with young children taught me patience, acceptance of everyone, discipline, humor and creativity.

Has being a competitive athlete helped you in your current role or during your career? If so, please tell us in what ways.
I believe that being part of a competitive team drives you to create a positive team atmosphere in your workplace. With my fitness clients, I want them to feel as if they are a part of a team and that we genuinely care about their development. We actually end each class in a team huddle and try to support each other both physically and personally.

What do you miss and what don’t you miss about being a competitive athlete?
I miss that surge of energy you get right before competing. I don’t miss the nutritional restrictions and lack of carbs.

What was your most memorable moment as an athlete? What was your most embarrassing moment?
I grew up a competitive gymnast which led to my cheerleading then professional dancer then competitive fitness competitor career. My most memorable moments were having my parents in the crowd (because they have both passed away). My most embarrassing moments were tumbling into the referees.

How often do you workout? What type of things do you do to stay active?
I workout five days a week. Having my own fitness studio…the opportunities are endless. I usually find myself making myself relax so that I have time for my body to recuperate.

Do you have a mentor (or mentors) who has helped you along the way?
I have looked up to many people along my path, including coaches along the way. Several of my high school coaches afforded me opportunities once I graduated college and helped me realize the benefit of leaving positive impressions on everyone I meet.

If you knew then what you know now, is there anything that you would do differently in your career?
I believe that everything in my life has happened for a reason and even the bad experiences have given me the insight to be successful in my current endeavors. I’m still growing as an entrepreneur and a business owner and hope to make connections to further my success.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
My mother, Dr. Lillian Yeager.

Do you have any advice for young professionals and/or former student-athletes hoping to have a successful career after sports?
Passion will only take you so far if you don’t have a successful business plan and the means to make it happen. Before you jump fully into a business venture seek a mentor (or 2) and learn both the benefits and struggles that you will encounter. There are some amazing opportunities out there – don’t be afraid try something different!

Favorite Book: The Bible

Favorite Movie: Love and Basketball

Hobbies: Spending time with my new husband, running website for urban professionals, volunteering

Favorite Place to Vacation: Punta Cana

What’s playing on your iPod? Luther Vandross

Android or iPhone? iPhone

Mac or PC? Both

Favorite TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy

Favorite Restaurant: Rivue

Favorite Quote: “The day you start living is the day your life begins.”


Find out more about Michelle and charizYa Fitness at her websites and or at Facebook!

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 Future Leaders: Patrick Henry (@CoachPatHenry)

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 Patrick Henry


Patrick Henry

“As evidenced on his impressive resume, not only has Patrick had an extremely successful coaching & administrative career in several capacities and at various levels in sports, but he has also had a monumental & long-lasting impact (on and off the court) along the way.  Patrick’s meticulous work ethic, unquestionable reliability, and overall commitment to excellence are quite evident to his managers, co-workers, former student-athletes, and peers.  He has a very bright future ahead of him.

— Angela Taylor, President & CEO of NetWorks Sports Consulting



Name: Patrick Henry
College(s): Ohio University (Undergraduate) and Mercer University (Graduate)
Degree(s): Bachelor of Science in Interpersonal Communications and  Masters of Education in Holistic Education
Resume Available: Yes, upon request (send email request)

Tell us a little about your background.
I’m a Georgia native, a long time coach who’s married to wonderful wife and expecting our first child.

What type of work experience have you had?

I’ve worked in intercollegiate athletics, primarily in the south and the midwest.

I’ve also had the opportunity to teach Social Sciences and Physical Education at the High School level.

What type of job(s) are you seeking?
I am looking for opportunities that will allow me to both add value to a collegiate program by using my extensive experiences being involved with championship collegiate programs and that will give me the opportunity to have a positive influence on student-athletes.

What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength would be my strong sense of professionalism. Regardless of the endeavor, whether it’s relationships, personnel development or project management, I approach any undertaking in a first class manner and with a commitment to professionalism.

Tell us about a project that you completed successfully.
The most recent project that I’ve completed has been some freelance work for institutions, providing feedback and consultation regarding recruiting organization, player skill development, and staff management and structure.

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

My experience in sports industry span an almost twenty year career involvement in men and women’s basketball. My career has ranged from coaching both high school boys and girls basketball while still a high school student, to serving as support staff at the BCS level as undergraduate, to being a on-the-floor coach the last thirteen years moving from a restricted earnings coach to an Associate Head Coach at the NCAA Division I level.

Why do you want to work in the sports industry?
Sports industry, specifically intercollegiate athletics, gives an opportunity to influence young people at a critical age before they begin their lives as independent adults.

I also really enjoy the planning and competitive aspects that being involved in coaching and management provides.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
My greatest influences have been my parents. They did a tremendous job of teaching me the importance of valuing both formal education and life experiences.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years, I see myself as a successful head coach of women’s basketball program at a four-year institution, making an impact on young women’s lives and the community where the institution is located and winning championships.

Anything else we should know about you?

I may be the only coach to have worked for 4 National Coaches of the Year, 2 Head Coaches who coached at the professional level and also to have been fortunate to have been part of four conference championship teams at four separate institutions.

I have also coached at the High School, Junior College and NCAA Division I, II and III levels and have coached both men and women.

For more information about Patrick or to request a resume, please send an email to

Follow NetWorks Sports on Twitter at @NetWorks_Sports