For individuals who don’t have athletic talent, breaking into the world of professional sports might seem impossible. As sports management pros know, that’s just not the case. Landing your dream job in management with a professional or collegiate sports team might require a lot of things, but athletic talent isn’t one of them. Here are five things you can do to improve the chances that you’ll land your dream job in sports management.
Get the Right Degree
The first step towards landing a management job in a sports organization is getting a degree in sports management. When you’re evaluating programs, talk to alumni. The professional success of a program’s students is one of the strongest indicators of that program’s ability to give you a cutting edge on the job market. In addition to considering the alumni network, you should also find out what type of internship opportunities the program’s students are afforded. Degrees in sports management are given at both the undergraduate and MBA levels, so find out what the organization’s you’d like to work for expect as well.
Work in a College Athletic Department
It’s true that having a degree in sports management provides a great foundation for landing your dream job, but employers want to see real experience in the world of athletics too. As a student, that means getting involved in your college’s athletic department. Get to know the athletic director and the coaches you’d like to work with, and let them know what your professional goals are. Successful alumni go a long way towards selling a school to prospective students, so it’s likely that key figures in the athletic department will be willing to mentor you.
Tackle an Internship
Demonstrating that you can work with a sports team or organization outside of your alma mater is also important. You’ll get the necessary experience by completing an internship. Your internship should be a structured part of your degree program, and it should add direct value to your particular path of study. Of course, it’s essential that you take your internship as seriously as you’d take a full-time job in the industry. It’s your opportunity to learn the ropes and earn great recommendations from sports insiders. If you’re interested in more than one area within sports management, do more than one internship.
Diversify Your Skill Set
Most people think of either team managers or sports agents when they hear the term sports management. For aspiring professionals in this field, though, it’s essential to remember that there’s a lot more to sports management than just these jobs. Within a sports organization, you can manage everything from facilities to advertising to sales. You’ll likely pick a specialty depending on your skill set, but it’s good to get your feet wet in other roles too. After all, sports organizations don’t turn down candidates because they’re too well rounded. Flexible managers who can handle more than one role land the best job opportunities.
Network Until You Drop
The world of professional and collegiate sports is a lot smaller than you might imagine. That means that being successful in the field means building a strong network. Attend events at your college with alumni and special guests from sports management, and ask those professionals if they’re willing to complete informational interviews. Make networking a priority during your internships. Remember that you should consider your classes a networking opportunity too. Your peers in school today could be the leaders in the sports management industry tomorrow. Of course, attending industry conferences and workshops is also a great way to meet fellow students and build connections within the sports world.
Like the professional and collegiate teams they work for, sports managers love a good competition. Getting ahead in this field truly means winning the competitive advantage. There are a sea of candidates out there, so now is the time to build the foundation you need to land your dream job.