This is a question I get all the time. With dozens (hundreds?) of aspiring evaluators ready to descend on Indianapolis next week, I thought delve further into this topic, though I’ve addressed it in this space previously and on social media. I don’t have the answers, but here are a few things to remember that might be helpful.

Desperation is off-putting: If you give yourself an ultimatum about getting a job while at the Combine (or anywhere else), that sense of urgency is going to be written all over you. It tends to come across in a negative way.

It’s about more than football: If you can find a common bond with a scout, your chances of building a relationship are infinitely greater. Ask about a scout’s family, his alma mater, or where he’s from, and you’re far more likely to have a lasting friendship.

Play the long game: In the early days of ITL, I was pretty desperate to befriend scouts, too. Two decades later, I have friends on all 32 teams. It just takes time. Obviously, you may not have two decades to pursue this, but the sooner you get out there and start making friends, the sooner that “long time” gets a lot shorter.

Understand that there’s an element of luck: When I was a kid, I thought people who worked in the NFL got there because they were way smarter and harder-working than I am. These days, I don’t think that’s true. In most cases, they got a break, then took advantage of it. Not everyone gets that break. You just have to accept that.

Know when to go solo: You may travel to Indy with others who are seeking a job in scouting, and I recommend this. At the same time, you need to realize that you’re competing with your friends, as well. It’s rare that a team hires several people that know each other. Be a good guy, but you’re going to have to put your own goals first.

Develop your instincts, then trust them: This is an inexact science. At some point, you will have to use your best judgement. Don’t be afraid to trust your gut.

Take risks: At some point, doing the safe thing will not be the way. In fact, the best way may go directly contrary to one of the points I’ve made in this post. That’s life. It’s not always predictable. Trust your gut and make your move if you feel it’s time. To get a job in scouting, you’re going to have to beat the odds.

One more tip: Go where the scouts go. One place where many of them will be will be discussed in this week’s Friday Wrap. If you haven’t already registered for it, make sure to do that here.

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