Four Ways to get the Most out of Your Sports Internship

Sports Internship get the most out of it

Another benefit of a sports internship – free team gear!

The sweat starts at your brow, but as soon as you recognize its existence you feel it grow.

A small spot in your lower back, an area you aren’t used to feeling much of anything, now trickles with a slow stream of liquid nervousness.

The warm tingle of excitement is rapidly turning to a heart-beating, shallow-breathing, borderline anxiety attack where the best possible result is just getting through the next five to ten minutes without passing out.

If this is how you feel leading up to your first day at your sports internship – good.

Good?

Yes, good.

If you didn’t feel nervous you’d be cocky, and cocky doesn’t present itself well. When results matter we automatically feel nervous, and while women claim to glisten I’ll be the first to admit I sweat, my heart races and my breathing shallows.

It’s OK.

Sports internships are the first step in your future, where the journey really starts. Sure, classroom experience is important, but internships are more valuable because of the level of interaction. In an internship you aren’t just listening you are performing, and that performance can lead to a job after graduation.

In an internship you aren't just listening you're performing, and that can lead to a job #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

Now that you’ve brushed the sweat aside, regulated your breathing and slowed your heartbeat down to a normal pace – it’s time to make sure when you walk through the front door you walk back out with every possible advantage.

Gain Career Clarity

You are still in control – remember that.

Just because you selected this internship, went through the interview process and were accepted for the role doesn’t mean you are bound to this exact career path. The only thing you are bound to is working to the best of your ability while you are present – but if you hate the job, the environment, the pace or the actual work, you have the power to make a left turn in your career path.

Part of this entire internship experience is gaining your clarity, so if the only thing you gain is a deeper knowledge of what you don’t want to do – that is still a win!

Many people force themselves into a career because they think that have already gone so far down the road that they have to follow through. You don’t.

Don’t be afraid to change your route if the warning signs are there. If not, you’ll look back someday from the job you hate and wish you had.

Four Ways to get the Most out of Your Sports Internship #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

Network, Network, Network

Nothing is more annoying than an intern that ignores their assignments and instead focuses on hob nobbing with everyone in the building.

Networking is a secondary part of your internship role, the first is proving yourself and your ability to complete tasks of all shapes and sizes, well. That said, networking is incredibly important so we are going to teach you how to do it right:

  1. Identify who makes sense to network with: It may seem cool to go talk to the sports anchor or reporter, but if your dream is to be a director or producer that is probably a waste of time. Find out who the decision makers are and target them, even if they are lower on the cool factor.
  2. Learn the rhythm of the business: Your first week or two should be spent observing and figuring out the slow periods of the day which represent the right time to approach someone you have targeted.
  3. Prove yourself: If you build up a reputation of quality work, that becomes your warm introduction to someone who may not know you otherwise. For example, if you start small talking with the VP of Marketing your first week on the job they won’t have a clue who you are and it can get awkward quick. But, if you work hard and successfully deliver on a few projects, now when you approach a target they may have heard your name mentioned and the conversation gets easier.
  4. Be specific: Avoid cheesy small talk, “Hey did you see the big fight Saturday night?” doesn’t work. Your networking target has friends in the building that they small talk with – you aren’t one of them. Approach them differently – “Hi, I’m Brian I’ve been interning for a few weeks here and I was wondering if I might be able to discuss some marketing questions that have come up. I really want to learn as much as I can from this experience.” You’ve subtly flattered your target without slobbering all over them – this stuff works.

You should expect walk out of each sports internship with at least 3-5 well developed new contacts. Now it’s on you to keep those relationships alive. Stay in touch, not over-the-top, just touch base monthly with some valuable update or question they can help you with.

Experience and Resume Building

This is the ultimate goal. The whole reason you are taking this sports internship is to learn things you can’t in the classroom. It goes without saying you should work hard, perform your tasks to the best of your ability, show up on time, present yourself well… yaddy yaddy yadda.

What I want you to focus on is thinking of your achievements in terms of your resume. What things are you achieving that will look impressive during future job interviews.

This conversation happens all the time:

Person A: “I’ve just graduated and I don’t know how to build my resume, the only thing I have done is internships – can you help?”

Person Me: “Sure, what did you achieve on your internships?”

Person A: “I don’t know… stuff.”

Person Me: “I’m sorry I think we have a bad connection…we’re breaking up…I can’t hear you anymore…”

The burden is on you to gain valuable experience while on your sports internships and to take meaningful notes on your achievements – no one else will do this for you.

Sports internships are the first step of your future, don't waste the opportunity #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

Find Your Point-of-View

No matter what career path you decide to pursue you’ll have to determine how to approach it. An internship should help:

  • If you want to work in sports sales, your internship should help you decide your style for approaching and dealing with clients
  • If you want to work in marketing your internship should help you determine your methods for messaging, if you like digital or print, if you are more technical/analytical or creative etc.
  • If you want to work in broadcasting, your internship can help you decide if you are more comfortable with a “just the facts” style or a more glitz and glam over-the-top attitude towards presenting news and information.

Being exposed to various viewpoints will help you form your personal perspective about how you will approach the job when it is yours.

Final Thought

Internships are an external evaluation of what you learn in the classroom, they either contradict what your professor’s jam down your throat, or they validate it. Either way, sports internships are much more than just a requirement to graduate and an excuse to leave campus.

Take them seriously and they will help set you up for true success, blow them off and pay the price later.

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the sports media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently, Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, do it.

And if you want to know where our privacy policy is before you submit your comments below, it's right here.

Comments

  1. Christopher Collins says:

    Hello,

    My name is Christopher Collins from Shreveport, La I’ll be heading into my senior year at Wiley College as a Mass Communication major in Marshall, Tx in August, well actually I’ll be graduating next summer. Along with being a full time student I work at KSLA News 12 as an Assistant News Specialist. I basically run studio camera and audio for the show. My sophomore year I did a summer internship with the sports department since I’m perusing a career in sports broadcasting. With that I learned how to shoot and write highlights, along with properly doing interviews. After I completed my internship I was offered the assistant news specialist job and I took it. With that I really don’t have the hands on in the sports department like I would love to have since that’s my future career. During the heart of the sports season I go out & shoot high school & college sports in Northwest Louisiana and East Texas. Come back to the station edit the highlights and write the scripts for the upcoming newscast. That’s the furthest I ever get. I can’t ever practice outside of the newscast of actually being an sports anchor. I asked time and time again but I always get the same answer, I can’t even do a mini package if I would like. I know getting into this business you need a resume tape and I won’t be taking my broadcasting class until the Spring semester next year. How can I somehow get a good start on my resume tape even if it’s at my own home. I want to be well prepared for when a news station ask for my resume tape after i get my degree. Would do another internship help me as well? I’m willing to take any positive advice that’s why I’m a member of workinsports.com

    Thank You,

    C. Collins

    • Ok Chris so I gather your goal is to be on camera? Right now, practice practice practice – record yourself in your webcam and then watch it and critique yourself – write lead ins to stories, prctice in the mirror, keep a notebook of sayings you like. I’m shocked that your network won’t let you start a demo reel, I’ve NEVER heard of a network saying that – my suggestion, make friends with the director, they run the studio, get in with them and he/she can help you make it happen late night after the shows are done for the day. – Brian

  2. siddharth pandit says:

    Hello,
    my name is siddharth pandit. I am currently a student studying football studies with business at southampton solent university, England. I am a real football enthusiast. I have been into football for a good period of time. Therefore i wanted to get internships and work experience. The above article mentions some key points that are crucial for any sport student and that is what i want to achieve. I am looking to gain experience through internships which will help me grow my interest in the football industry and develop the right skills required in the sport and football industry. I have been trying to connect with people and organisations who can help me get work experience. I am usually looking for internships on the business aspect of football and player performance analysis. It would be great if i can get some more advice
    thank you,
    S pandit

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