Impressing Your Way to an Entry Level Sports Job - Work In Sports Podcast

Learn how to present yourself in a favorable light to your internship coordinator and how it may help you land that entry level sports job you dream of. 

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning at and this is the work in sports podcast.

If I sound a little extra peppy today there are a few reasons for it:

Reason #1: A friend asked me if I’ve been feeling down lately because my tone on the podcast has been very serious. Well, no, I feel great, but sometimes I worry I’m a little too excited, and then I tone things down a bit and try to sound like professional guy… but in my heart of hearts I’m like a giddy kid all the time.

In fact, at Work in Sports they recently recorded my “giggle” during one of my interviews, turned it into a loop and play it often on our internal system -- we use basecamp - it’s pretty cool.

Reason #2: We are unleashing our online course this fall semester in many schools and it has me really excited. I’ve worked really hard building out our Sports Career Game Plan courses, and so far the reception has been great. 

Now if your school isn’t implementing our course as past of their curriculum - you have two choices. Tell your professors about it, and have them reach out to me OR you can purchase it as an individual - visit for more info. Or you can just hit me up and we can chat about it.

Reason #3 - it is summer and I love summer. I don’t care that it is hot, I don’t care that it is sweaty. I love it and summer makes me really happy. 

So if I’m in a particularly good mood today those are some of the reasons why. 

Oh right, also, my interview with james kimbal VP of Operations for UFC Performance Institute was awesome if you haven’t listened to that you should. 

And tomorrow I’m interviewing Reshida Gayle, who is the Director of Talent Marketing for GSE Worldwide - she works with top athletes like Devonta Freeman on their personal marketing. Super psyched about that - she’ll be the interview this Wednesday.

Alright, enough preamble - let’s get to todays question.

Jimmy from Massachusetts. Says here Jimmy is from Worcester, which is about 20 minutes from where I grew up in Bolton, Mass. Head right down 290 and boom you’re in Worcester.  

Ok, Jimmy asks -- 

Hey Brian, thanks for all you do with the podcast, I’m amazed at all I’ve learned and how it is so much more targeted than what I learn in school. 

I spent my summer interning with a local team, and it has been a great experience. I took your advice and really focused on building relationships throughout my internship. I’ll tell you I feel like I got more out of this internship experience than any prior because I had a plan, strategy and focus going in. 

One very interesting thing happened,  I went to my internship coordinator and asked her about full-time positions with the team and how I can make myself the best possible candidate. 

She responded with a smile and said “come back to me next week and pitch me on why I should be interested in you full-time?”

So I have a meeting set with her later this week and was wondering if you could help me pitch myself -- I’ve been struggling.

Ok let’s start with this. I love your internship coordinator. Don’t tell her I said that. But I love this idea.

You tell me why I should hire you. Awesome.

What is she looking for?

  • What you’ve learned
  • Confidence
  • Understanding of the big picture
  • Organizational Impact
  • Desire level

I’ll summarize this for you, she’s trying to see your heart. She wants to know how much this means to you, how seriously you will take this assignment, and how you’ve grown since you started the internship.

Now, let's dive into this a little deeper I’m not going to do the assignment for you, hut I am going to help you frame your mind so you can present yourself in the best possible way.

This knowledge is important to anyone who has had an internship and wants a full-time job, which is likely about 90% of you, so listen up. Whether you have an assignment like this, or are juyst looking to present yourself in the best possible fashion, always put yourself in the shoes of the other person.

What do they want? What do they need?

First step Jimmy -- what have you recognized about the business as you interned? Were there certain gaps in their staffing? Were they always short in the box office? Was there a lack of marketing work? Were there operational struggles? 

Identify that, becasue that could be your opportunity. 

Now take that one step further, and be able to speak to how you could help in these functions.

Think about that for a second -- what message have you sent by this discussion starter? It shows you observed the business as it functioned, identified what needed help and put together a personal plan to assist in that area. 

That shows maturity! That shows depth! These are the types of people I want to hire, someone who gets it and can see my business as a problem that needs solving, rather than just a job.

Employers get people all the time saying “I want to work for your company because it’s awesome! And I love sports!” 

Well, think of how powerful it is to have someone notice your business for what it is, not just a fun opportunity, but a complex problem, that’s what all businesses are, a system of complex problems and daily challenges. 

Present yourself as someone who sees the business at large and has an eye for where help is needed.

Next - confidence mixed with curiosity... 

Employers know that you aren’t going to have a fully developed skill set at this point of your career, but traits like confidence go huge lengths. 

Now, you always hear about the fine line between confidence and cocky - we don’t want cocky - and the way to present yourself as not being cocky, is by being curious. 

You see, the cocky person thinks they know it all, so they don’t ask questions, they don’t inquire, they don’t try to learn and improve - because they are already wicked smart. 

When you show your hunger for knowledge -- that shows confidence!

So have questions ready for her as well. 

Next - metrics!

It’s one thing to tell someone you are ready to make a positive change at their organization, it is quite another to prove it with data. 

Have data points you can share from your internship, or other internships. 

  • You increased twitter followers 23%
  • Year over year revenue for the 4th of July weekend celebration grew 8%
  • You decreased spending by 12% on this years summer fan festival, which increased profits by 32%

I’m making all of these up, but look for ways to articulate your value with data! Get creative.

Next - Share what you’ve learned from others in the organization.

If you were serious about building relationships with people during your internship, now is the time to show that off. 

Today write down the people in different departments you met with and engaged with and then write down one thing you learned from each of them.

Be ready to pull this out during your discussion wit your intern coordinator. This not only shows you retained knowledge duding the internship, but you sought it out. Showing that you learn from others and expand yourself is huge! 

Employers want to know that you can work cross-functionally, which means across groups. So if you are in marketing, you can work well with sales social media and operations on projects. Teamwork is important.

So as you talk about the big picture in the business, throw in that you worked with Gary in the marketing department and he taught you how important it was to see the whole business and understand that marketing relies on multiple other departments to see their ideas come to fruition. 

The sales team may come to them with a promotion, we come up with the creative, work with the social team to distribute, and the operations team to place around the ball park. 

Showing that you “get it” , see the whole picture, are willing and wanting to learn, and got a real benefit from being an intern there and learning the going to knock her socks off.

Good luck Jimmy -- and all of you trying to turn an internship into a job!

That’s it for today - remember to subscribe, share with friends and give us a good review wherever you listen!

Coming up Wednesday Rashida Gayle Director or Talent Marketing at GSE Worldwide...and don’t forget if you want in on our sports career game plan, tell your professors to call me, or sign up yourself - we’re going to make you a master at getting hired in the sports industry!

Alright - get back to work.

By Brian Clapp | August 19, 2019
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