Sports management is a growing, highly industrious field, which relates to the handling of the business aspects of professional sports. Sports management professionals also work with individually competing athletes, and within the world of high-profile academic sports. Their skills are widely applicable throughout the world of professional business, which makes a sports management degree a sought-after qualification. It’s so popular, in fact, that despite the continuing growth of opportunity within the field there is still a lot of competition for any open position.
Here are five ways in which the aspiring sports management professional can stand out from the general pool of qualified applicants:
Secure the Right Degree
Having a college degree is essential to securing a future in sports management. Many reputable, highly accredited schools now offer a mix of graduate and undergraduate programs in sports management. These programs combine a range of traditional business management and administrative skills with a strong lean on marketing, statistics and critical analysis. These degrees are not only vital to securing a job in sports management, however; their balance of executive skills makes them appealing to other organizations outside of the world of professional athletics.
Secure an Internship
The concept of the internship has come under fire in recent years, but the central idea is still sound: the intern learns the ins and outs of the business, and the industry, through direct immersion. In lieu of being paid a high wage (or, often, any wage at all) they gain valuable experience which could not be acquired in the classroom. The work they perform is for their own benefit. Within the field of sports management, many internships lead directly to job opportunities, and these opportunities typically offer a lot of potential for upward mobility. In light of this, the only real question to ask is which internship is the right one for you.
Use Social Media
With as frivolous as much social media content is, it’s easy to overlook its importance in landing the right career. Use your social media profile to post relevant job experience. Ensure that potential employers will have no trouble finding their way to your LinkedIn profile, or to your WordPress blog about Monday night football. Don’t walk the line between harassing potential employers with your opinions, and being a professional; stay thoroughly on the professional side of things. Social media’s involvement is limited, but crucial, and it will require some ongoing maintenance.
Follow a Sports Management Professional
You’ve already got that internship, but you have the opportunity to spend a day (or the duration of an event) shadowing a successful sports management professional. Do this — as often as the opportunity arises, and preferably with more than one person. The broader the variety of your experiences in this regard, the better prepared you will be to face a wide range of situations when you yourself are gainfully employed. This step isn’t so much for a line on a resume as it is intended to directly foster qualities which will help you stand out inherently over other candidates for a position.
Show Executive Potential
A career in sports management is all about having good leadership qualities and communications skills, two areas that many people neglect in favor of something that is easier to quantify numerically. The successful applicant will be one who has demonstrated their ability to lead, to sway others to follow their example, and to lay out a clear strategy that others are able to understand and to work with. A history of leadership initiative in every career, project and academic program undertaken will serve the sports management professional well when it comes to applying for jobs.
By following these guidelines, and general common-sense rules applicable to any modern business or industry, you can greatly enhance your suitability for a position above other applicants. It’s a lot of hard work (considering that other people are almost certaintly doing the same things you are, for the same reasons) but it’s doable. Realize the steps that you’re going to have to take to achieve your goals, and do them — however inconvenient or stressful they may be at times. A short-term period of dedication and self-sacrifice can lead to a long and richly rewarding career.