Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Who you know or what you know?

How does one move to a higher position in the A.T profession? currently i have been working at the Junior college level, for many years, and looking to move up to university level in my state. So recently i have been applying for A.T positions either it be head or assistant. My experience has been confusion, and frustration. Seems like head A.T positions are taken by the assistants moving up, or if the AT knows someone at that university.
Doesn't seem like H.R or head AT evaluate you on what you know, or years of experience. OK i understand Nata has this whole thing on networking, talking to others, rubbing elbows etc., but has our profession gotten to who you know rather than what you know?
any thoughts would be helpful.


  • Hi Joe,

    I think this is the case for most professions not just athletic training. I always tell students getting the job is often who you know and keeping the job is what you know. Which is also why I stress the importance of a variety of internship/mentorship opportunities as as student and then even as a professional.

    I also think it is important to not only network and get to know people but to also work to get your name out in the field by writing articles (not only peer reviewed research articles, but even things for magazines, online content, etc), participating in online discussions/forums, continuing education workshops, and other things that can help you create your own brand.

    Can definitely be frustrating, but as someone who has hired a lot of employees it is also very challenging to find the right fit for a job position. I always reach out to who I already know, who my trusted colleagues know and trust first. As when I can get a direct referral for someone from a trusted source it weighs heavily on my decision making. I also still look to the CV and references of those who apply and then look to commonalities in continuing education / philosophies before selecting someone for a phone interview.

    Anna J. Hartman MS, ATC, CSCS, PMA-CPT
  • Joe - great question that has implications for any Athletic Trainer at any level. I believe it's both who you know and what you know. I've always said "It's who you know that gets your foot in the door. It's what you make people think you know that moves you up the ladder. But it's what you actually know and do that makes you a success." Years ago I took a JC job because it paid very well. Very soon I felt it was not the level I wanted to work within for many reasons. But for years of trying to move on I felt I wasn't getting looks because I was "a junior college guy." A DI school isn't going to hire a head coach coming from a JC or HS, regardless of whether they can do the job or be's the impression that they aren't able to work at an elite level. (I told a Head AT at a major DI school that I appreciated getting an interview due to the fact that he looked past my employer and looked at my resume.) I call BS on that prejudice. So....I spent my time at the JC adding skills, adding knowledge, implementing new programs, philosophies, agendas, and made the Athletic Training department far better than it was when I arrived. I did finally get a job at a mid-major DI university with another Head that looked past my employer. That Head is now in the NATA Hall of Fame and having him on my reference list has definitely opened more doors.

    I am now working at a "major" university, but it wasn't that long ago that I was in your position. My advice to you....Network as much and as often as you can. Start getting other ATs at the JC level together and communicating with them often. That is a unique level of athletics that can't be grouped with 4-year schools; much different issues. Get involved in the State or Regional government. Add more skills and use them to become proficient; more-tools-for-the-toolbox will always benefit our student-athletes/patients. Refine and change your resume often; have others look at it. And continue loving what you do. Work with passion and objectively evaluate yourself, your path, and who you are competing with for jobs. It's always to the University's financial benefit to promote from within and hire a new-grad. Prove to them why you're their best candidate based on what you've done, and ensure you have no thoughts of slowing down!

    Hope this helps.
Sign In or Register to comment.