How do you Land a Sports Internship if you are Early in Your Career and Don't Have any Sports Experience?
Hi everybody – I’m Brian Clapp, Director of Content for WorkinSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast.
I’d like to take a moment to thank facebook – you see we have this private group on Facebook
that is really cool. Lots of people in there discussing topics on getting hired in the sports industry and sharing their experiences – I love hanging out in there.
Well, for some reason Facebook kicked me out of the group on Friday and blocked my account, wiping my entire existence clean. It was like I was never there.
Well, as of this morning I’m back – Facebook confirmed that I am a human. Yippee! If you want to join our private facebook group just search for the Work in Sports podcast, answer a few quick questions, and get in the conversation.
Before we get to this Monday QA session – congrats to the Eagles and their passionate, dedicated, deserving fan base. Many of you know I was born and raised in Boston and have been a Pats fan for life… but the Eagles won that game fair and square.
The catches were catches, the illegal formation on the Foles throwback was inconsequential and the game was won by the Eagles. Congrats.
Man, that Brady guy is unreal though.
Alright – on to today’ QA question. I love when I question comes in that challenges me to come up with fresh thoughts and ideas – Chynna a sophomore from the University of Florida messaged me through Linkedin with a great question:
My name is Chynna and I am a sophomore majoring in Sport Management at the University of Florida. I have been listening to your material frequently since I was introduced to your existence, and you have already begun to help me with applying for positions in the sports industry and putting myself out there. One question that I have for you is- When submitting internship applications online, what can I do to make myself stand out, whether that be through my profile or my resume and cover letter?
I like how she phrased that – I’ve been listening ever since I was introduced to your existence. That made me chuckle.
Her question is really good – when you graduate from college you have internships and volunteer and other things you can put on your resume to help yourself stand out from the crowd. You have metrics you can share, stories from the workplace, references from internship coordinators… but what if you are trying to get an internship? How can you stand out without much of any experience?
First things first:
The first thing potential internship opportunities are going to look for is – are you majoring in a field related to their offering.
If you are trying to get an internship with a minor league baseball team and are majoring in international relations, you stand a lesser chance than someone majoring in sports management. That is the most basic criteria, are you studying relevant coursework that can help their business and make you a viable candidate.
You’d be surprised, but right there, that basic criteria, probably reduces the candidate pool by 50%. I remember talking to Colleen Scoles Talent Acquisition Manager for the World Champion Philadelphia Eagles
– that felt too soon, I’ve been handling this defeat well, but that one kind of hurt – anyway – Colleen said that only about 25% of the applicants they get for jobs with the Eagles are qualified for the job.
So bottom line – apply for internships that are aligned with your major. If you are a sports management major, right there that’s going to help you get sports internships.
#2: Unless you have some impressive connections or have already volunteered at sporting events a great deal, or done internships while in High School -- consider a smaller organization for your first internship.
Many high school programs are helping students land internships as early as their junior year of high school – and even teach sports specific classes. If you are one of those lucky people, your resume can already have some meet and you can start aiming high when you get to college.
If you have some industry connections – use them – land that big internship.
If not, you have to go about this a little differently.
I’ve emphasized many times over the podcast that as early as you can start volunteering at sports events. Get involved in a local road race, a golf event, a bike race – whatever – that is how you can start getting some experience on your resume and stand out for internships.
If you don’t have connections, didn’t do internships in high school, haven’t volunteered – well, you have to aim a little lower for internship #1. You probably aren’t going to be hired by the Miami Dolphins…but the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Daytona Tortugas, the Jupiter Hammerheads or the Fort Myers Miracle maybe just what you are looking for and ready for.
I love minor league baseball names.
Now, what else can you do to bulk up your resume. Highlight coursework, teacher recommendations, awards you have won, tell a story on your cover letter about where your love and passion for the sports industry comes from and your goals, explain how you can be a difference maker at their organization and that you are willing to take on all assignments, big and small, while working as many hours as possible.
I've hired interns before, and to be honest, what I'm looking for most is excitement, passion and enthusiasm...so be that person!
So to wrap this up – there is never too early of a time to start getting experience. If you are in High School start trying to do internships. Start volunteering at sports events. Start working every connection you have – friends, family, teachers, advisers, linkedin connections, private facebook groups, #1 rated sports jobs boards like workinsports.com.
And aim at the right target. Employers love talented, excited, young ambition people to infuse into their business…that come at a low cost. They want you – they just don’t know it yet, so make sure you show it to them.
Coming up Wednesday I have Dr. Robert Prior on the show – former Director of Media Relations with the Boston Celtics, Director of New Media with the MLS and currently a Professor in the Master of Sports Leadership Program, Northeastern University.
Dr. Prior has a ton of experience in the industry, has some great stories to share and incredible knowledge of what it takes to be successful in the sports industry. Until then, I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for Work in Sports.com…and that’s the end of this show.