In the latest episode of the Digital Rookie Podcast. I sat down with Reuben Williams. If you’re looking for a career in sport then you’ll know who Reuben is, founder of career development platform SportsGrad and co-host of the very successful SportsGrad Podcast. Reuben was made redundant from his role at Cricket Australia following major turnover in alignment with the Covid-19 pandemic impacting the sports industry. Despite this, Reuben took the opportunity of having time on his hands and spent 8 weeks down at the beach developing the structure for what SportsGrad has now become.
My first key taking from talking with Reuben was the way in which he was able to make the most of the opportunities University provided him and how he used them to tangibly develop his career and build his skill set. Reuben was made president of the Deakin University Sports Society (DUSS) and as a result of his hard work, clever networking and persistence, was able to grow the society exponentially. In doing so, this gave Reuben a clear example of his proficiency in management that he was able to then take forward in job interviews as evidence of his skills and experience. On a personal level, this was something that resonated with me in particular as I feel as though I didn’t take full advantage of opportunities throughout my university degree. Thus, in agreement with the lessons I’ve taken from my discussion with Reuben, if you are reading this and are still enrolled in a university degree; make sure to put yourself out there and utilise the resources university provides as a career development pathway outside of your studies.
Another really important lesson from Reuben’s journey so far is the benefits of proactively differentiating yourself in the current professional landscape. Differentiating yourself is something that I’ve discussed in past podcast episodes, however I believe Reuben’s SportsGrad story really exposes the benefits that can come with demonstrating your passion and interest in the sports industry. SportsGrad started for Reuben as a solution to one of the issues that arose with DUSS as he was finding people were unable to attend some of the networking events put on by the club. As a result, Reuben began recording interviews with professionals in the sports industry. Consequently, he began building this brand as a resource for students who weren’t able to attend events, but also as a means of extending his own personal network. One of the extremely positive outcomes of this was the opportunity to interview the President of the FFA in Russia during the 2018 World Cup. In the time that Reuben was employed at Cricket Australia, SportsGrad was put to the side, however Reuben is now seeing the benefits of the hard work he did years beforehand as SportsGrad is again providing him with new ways of learning, exciting career opportunities, network growth and even potential income as a consultant to students looking to utilise his knowledge in career development.
I really appreciate Reuben allowing me insight into his career development strategies as I feel as though I am at a similar stage of the career pathway as he was when he first developed SportsGrad. With Digital Rookie, I am hoping that I can demonstrate my utmost passion for the sports business industry, while also learning new skills and broadening my skillset in an attempt to constantly increase my employability. There are so many benefits that come with putting yourself out there and having tangible evidence of your interests and skills and Reuben’s success with SportsGrad is a clear example of this. Even after only 4 months of building the Digital Rookie Hub I can assure you that I have learnt an astronomical amount about the sports industry and what it takes to be a professional. Knowledge that I simply wouldn’t have if I hadn’t chosen to be proactive and follow the learnings of those like Reuben.
If you haven’t had the chance to listen to my chat with Reuben then make sure to head to Apple Podcasts or Spotify and check it out. The SportsGrad Podcast is a great resource for young people and you can also find it on those platforms. Reuben and I are contactable on LinkedIn and I definitely recommend following @SportsGrad and @DigitalRookieHub on the socials!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next episode coming soon!