Going Beyond the Basics of Sports Internships - Work in Sports podcast e153

Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for WorkinSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast…

Apparently I am one of the few people in the world actually quite satisfied with last night’s Super Bowl – yes I am from Boston, life long Patriots fan, and yes I enjoyed last nights game.

I don’t feel bad about this – people want me to feel bad – heck my wife was miserable that the Patriots were winning again. But I remember as a kid struggling though 2-14 seasons, going to games only to be cold and miserable for no benefit… but still cheering on the squad.

I know no one wants to hear this today, but I was thinking last night when the Yankees have had their dominant runs, and yes I hated that, it was different because they could just outspend people. My hometown Red Sox have done the same… baseball is different, have money can win.

In basketball, 12 man rosters – one superstar can change your entire team. Football is different 53 dudes. Injuries. Free agency. Salary caps. Draft position.

This run is incredible – developing a team without the benefit of top 10 picks. And there is the most important word – team. Somehow, someway, they work and perform better as a team than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.

Tell me before the game that the Pats get held to 13 points and Brady looks “meh” – I would have said Rams win 30-13. But the team survived, the team performed, the team was more important. There is something very inspiring in that even if you don’t like the Pats.

Alright – before we get to today’s question – this Wednesday on our podcast – Tripp Keister – Single A manager of the Potomac Nationals – he’s the winningest manager in Potomac Nationals history, but you know what is really cool – he considers himself in player development.

What blew me away from this interview, and I’ll get into this in more detail on Wednesday, was how you assume things work differently in professional team sports. They are managing elite athletes, and that has to be a different approach or process than managing recent college graduates, right?

Well, you’d be amazed at how similar they are. As I spoke with Tripp and peppered him with questions, it became clear that the principles of managing people and getting the best out of them and setting them up for success – is very similar whether it’s an inside sales staff or a bunch of baseball prospects.

Pretty amazing stuff – make sure to tune in for that on Wednesday.

Also, I’ll be back with Facebook Live on Thursday night at 7:30pm EST from the Work in Sports facebook page. I lost my voice and had to cancel last Thursdays event, but I’m back this week. I promise. So if you have questions about your sports career, come on and hang out for our live session and get tons of great advice.

Alright – today’s question comes from Linette in Georgia – hello Linette!

Hi Brian – I’m a college junior who has been following the advice you share on your podcast religiously.

[thank you linette!]

I’m in the midst of another internship cycle, and I’ve followed your advice to date. I’ve done an internship with a larger organization, which taught me so much about how things should be done, and I did an internship with a smaller organization, which allowed me to do so much.

I feel very confident right now and excited about joining the industry when I graduate.

But I still have another year and a half of school – and I want to get even more experience  on my resume, what do you suggest?!

Linette – this is fun, because when you finish the baseline expectations, the foundational elements of your plan, then you can get creative and look for new ways to enhance yourself. I have 45 ideas I want to share here on how you can push yourself to really pack in your resume before you graduate.

1: Self-audit

First things first – you need to do a self-audit. It is fantastic that you are getting experiences, bulking up your resume and following our internship strategy -  but now you need to make sure you have the right skills in your tool belt.

Remember – the ways you get noticed when you are applying for jobs is two-fold, experiences and skills. When someone in HR is skimming your resume, what they are going to be looking for is does this person have the skills the hiring manager for this role tells me they need.

The HR person isn’t going to guess, or try to predict – they aren’t going to say I like the format of this persons resume, let’s give them a shot.

No, they are going to have a list of skills the hiring manager for the job wants, and they are going to look for resumes with those skills. It doesn’t matter if your name is Frank, Judy or Paj – have skills will travel. I mean that honestly, not disparagingly, as I’ve said before sports is a meritocracy and so is the workplace, if you have the skills to do the job you’ll get noticed and at least get interviews.

Ok, so how do you know what specific skills you need. Huh, if only there was a resource where you could look through and endless array of sports job descriptions and really hone in on the exact skills employers want.

Ah ha! I figured it out – WorkinSports.com – yes this is a plug, but it’s rooted in 100% Fact. Your self audit starts with looking through job descriptions. Sounds boring right? Well if figuring out your future is boring then sure… I happen to think this is kind of fun.

Alright so here is what you are going to do. You’re going to go on WorkinSports.com you are going to pick out 10-15 jobs that sound interesting to you – don’t worry about location or salary or company – this is just research.

Read through the job description and see the requirements.

You may see things like expert in Facebook insights, excel spreadsheets, photoshop, final cut pro, social media promotion, budgeting, google analytics, pro tools audio, adobe creative suite

Write all of these skills down for all 10-15 of the jobs you look at. Now, figure out your owned skills, what you have, vs the skills you still need to earn, the ones you don’t.

Be honest with yourself. If you’ve looked at facebook insights once, that doesn’t mean you are really an expert in it.

Now, Linette, once you do this you have your from now until graduation plan. Acquire the skills you need. Watch videos on youtube, take a webinar or an online course – make sure you have the exact skills the world you want to enter, needs.

2: Intern with a Business outside of sports.

I know I know, sounds weird… but it isn’t.

This doesn’t necessarily apply if you want to do something extremely sports specific – like an athletic trainer, or a scout – but if not, hear me out.

Sports is a big business, and the principles that make it work are the same you see in standard everyday business operations. Sales, marketing, operations, promotions, finance, HR - getting hands on experience in another business outside of sports can be a powerful addition to your resume and set you up for the interview process.

I just talked about the skills you need to have on your resume – well, you also need important things to talk about during your interviews. Remember an interview is a conversation with someone who wants to hire you, the more you can be interesting and show smart decision making, and a desire to improve in a myriad of ways – the more impressive you come across.

Here’s a powerful addition to your conversation during interviews:

“I recognize that sports is  a huge business, so after interning with team x and agency y – I thought it could really help me expand my knowledge by interning with a business Z – in this experience I was able to see marketing, sales and operations through a different lens and I believe taught me successful skills I can apply to your organization”

Trust me – so many people in charge of hiring want people with a versatile skills set and a business focus – they don’t want fans – if you brag about how big of a sports fan you are and how you had season tickets growing up… that is nowhere near as impressive as saying you learned the things you learned in a business style internship.

3: Informational Interviews and building your network

You have time to focus on internationals interviews and building out specific angles of your network.

We’ve talked about the types of people you need in your network – now’s the time for you to start filling in those gaps in your network. Great way to do that is through informational interviews. Set up icoffee dates – go to them, make it worthwhile and then

Utilize the tools of your career center to find alumni in your field.


4: Volunteer at events

Again, depends what you want to do in the industry, but I believe there is nothing like being AT events. I volunteered during my college career at a boxing match at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Not a big boxing guy, didn’t really do anything that wonderful, but I felt that emotion of being there, I saw how things worked, I met some people..it was incredibly worth it.

The biggest thing I learned was the important of organization – these events are planned and managed down to the second. It’s like watching an orchestra… and it got me very excited about my future.  

5: get involved with athletic department on campus

You have tools right on campus – use them.


6: refine who you want to be

This is goingt o make me sound like a hippie, which is many ways I kind of am. But bear with me.

I was reading something from Bill Gates the other day and he said he never overloads his schedule because he likes to give himself time to sit and think with intention.

I love this. This got me so excited, in our overscheduled compact worlds we think the more we move and are doing things the more successful we will be.

Planning, thinking, breathing – all big parts of success.

Take some time to think and visualize your career. What do you want, what have you learned you don’t like, what do you see as your flaws, what still needs work. Think about this stuff.

Not to get back to the Super Bowl again… but I’m a fan, and in the first quarter I was nervous. Nothing I could do would changce the impact of this game, but I was nervous. Weird right? Well, then you look at Bill Belichick, calm as can be. No get back coach. No ranting and raving, no demonstrative displays. He’s thinking, observing, and going back to his preparation.

I admire this. The ability to slow things down and process information, really think about what needs doing. Linette and everyone out there listening – make this time. Make time to refine yourself, to think about your direction, your plan, your approach.

Trust me it will matter in the long run.

Alright – that’s it for today, thanks for listening – tune in Wednesday for Tripp keister and then Thursday for our Facebook LIVE!

By Brian Clapp | February 04, 2019
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