Jobs in sports social media have increased by 52% year over year and now comprise an astronomical 8.5% of our entire sports job database, but most colleges and universities have been slow to develop social media curriculum.
According to Forbes.com, at the conclusion of the 2012 college year, 36% of the top 25 business schools did not offer a single social media or social business focused class.
Unless they take matters into their own hands and pursue social media internships.
Jeremy Ross from the University of Michigan is one such student, spending the summer as the social media intern with the New York Mets, a big change for a kid from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“New York City is a completely different beast from Ann Arbor,” says Ross. “But my first day was not as overwhelming as I expected actually. The team was on the road so it was just a regular 9:30-5:30 day. A lot of my time was spent learning about the history of the organization, studying their previous social media success and gathering a lot of analytical insight.”
Becoming the social media intern for the Mets was important to Ross because it gave him the chance to fill the gaps in his collegiate curriculum and gain the experience employers are looking for.
Here’s more with the University of Michigan’s Jeremy Ross:
Becoming the social media intern for the New York Mets sounds like a dream internship. Let’s start at the beginning, this role had to be competitive, how did you get it?
Ross: I saw the posting on a Michigan career website and simply applied for it. I didn't have any contacts within the organization or connections to help me through the process.
After the first round of phone interviews they asked me to create a social campaign to push a few Mets into the All-Star Game. This presentation secured my internship, as a week after I submitted it they offered me the first social media internship in the organization's history.
Out of all the internships out there what was it about this opportunity that stood out to you?
Ross: This internship stood out for a few different reasons. I really was interested in social media because it's a field with so many unknowns; lots of opportunities to learn and have ownership for different styles of managing content.
I also wanted a position that would allow me to be creative on a daily basis. With social media there are consistently opportunities to innovate. Within my first week I created the first infographic the social media team had released (pictured right).
Once you got settled in, what did you find out were the key expectations for your role?
Ross: My role really developed over the summer.
Towards late July and early August I was developing the social media content strategy, and measuring key performance indicators on a daily basis. A lot of my responsibility was covering/posting content prior to the game. Once the game starts, one of the other team members took over the live-game tweeting.
What have been your main accomplishments on this internship?
Ross: I'd say my biggest accomplishment during the internship was being a part of the 84th Annual MLB All-Star Game. That was an experience like none other.
I helped out creating content as well as kind of QB'ing the Mets social media efforts. Definitely a great experience.
I feel like that rule goes across other fields too, but social media stands out because it's such a new industry. There isn't a sports social marketing class available at the University of Michigan, so this position was really important for developing my own personal theories and expectations.
You also acted as the social media intern for the USGA at the US Senior Open in Michigan last summer – how have these social media opportunities differed?
Ross: The difference between the two social strategies is unique.
With the US Senior Open, you're trying to share as much high-quality content ASAP, the strategy is to be the exclusive live-look in for the brief time the tournament takes place.
Now not to say that you don't have a very similar mindset with the Mets, but in baseball there is a lot more content to share and post. With the Mets I like to look at growth rates over a long-term period versus the impact of a single post in the short term like with the US Senior Open.
Now that you have completed four internships - one each with a pro team, a pro league, a pro venue and a collegiate athletics department– do you feel like your internships have helped you decide what type of career you want to pursue?
Ross: All of my internship experience (New York Mets, USGA, Michigan Athletic Department and Michigan International Speedway) has really helped me determine what path I'd like to pursue.
Having a diverse work experience, from every end of the spectrum really allows for a feel in a variety of different environments.
I'm still debating what the best fit for me is, but having a lot of experience makes that process much easier.
Key Takeaways from "Becoming a Social Media Intern With the New York Mets"
If you want to learn social media and become qualified for the vast array of job opporutnities in sports, your best option may be procuring an internship
Don't be intimidated by the opportunity - it may sound daunting to get an internship with a pro team - but don't pull yourself out of the race before you get started.
Be prepared - during the interview process Jeremy Ross had to create a social media campaign for the Mets, once he did he became the first ever social media intern with the Mets
Don't settle for just one internship during college, you'r best bet is to do as many as you can to gain the valuable experience necessary to land a job after graduation.
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