Wouldn’t it be great to land a sports administration internship with the PGA, the NFL, or with the U.S. Olympic Committee? You can add a prestigious internship to your graduation resume if your timing is right, if you know how to apply, and if you’re prepared. Many sports organizations from a wide range of industry segments seek interns to help with their programs. The secret is that many of those organizations look at colleges to help fill those intern slots, because many colleges require students to participate in an internship to graduate from sports administration programs. Many sports management program directors and counselors encourage their students to actively volunteer with organizations or events to identify areas of interest and create professional relationships with potential employers. The possibilities for landing a career after graduation are increased with that internship, especially when building networks within organizations that hold those internship possibilities. Learn how you can increase your chances of obtaining an internship now, so you’ll be prepared.
Many sports organizations do not offer internships on their sites, and few offer those opportunities in job listings. From local to regional and from national to international levels, sports organizations often seek interns through school programs focused on sports management. This way, many sports organizations can get some assurance from colleges that the students hired have been vetted by the college program.
In situations where colleges and universities offer internship relationships with sports organizations, the student must complete a certain number of credit hours to obtain a certain number of credit hours for an internship. Also, many schools ask students to maintain at least a 3.5 GPA (grade point average). Often, colleges offer internships only to students who are in the final year of their undergraduate education to supplement their graduate year and to fulfill program requirements.
Check with your school counselor or with your department head to learn more about your particular school requirements for a sports management internship. Most internship opportunities are individualized and provide students with a real time, hands on, challenging experience to further develop professional sports management skills. Students usually get direction from experienced mentors who teach them how to apply their learned knowledge.
Students also enhance latent skills, critical thinking, and gain new knowledge while working alongside their mentors. Interns may have the chance to learn practical planning and organization, and finish their college careers with a clear idea about their abilities and career potential. An internship also can provide a student with networking possibilities, and a chance to gain a letter of recommendation from a prestigious athletic organization.
Another way to find sports administration internships is through job boards. Although these listings are sparse, they do exist. Search through sports-specific job boards for your best shot at finding those positions. Some resources include:
- Internships.com: Although not sports-specific, this site holds a number of sports management jobs and internships. You can search by career or by company.
- Jobs in Sports: This job site includes over 3,500 sports jobs and internship opportunities.
- TeamWork Online: TeamWork Online blends the best features of executive recruiters, job boards, applicant tracking systems, and online dating systems to help applicants find the right jobs. They also have access to internships.
- Work in Sports: This job site has worked for over a decade to establish a reputation of holding the most current and comprehensive job board — including internship slots — in the sports industry.
Another way to find jobs and internships is through organizations devoted to sports management. North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) provides academic career services. This career center is designed to assist universities in posting their academic openings, and for doctoral students and academics to seek positions. Internships and non-academic jobs are managed by TeamWork Online and sent to NASSM members periodically via email.
The only problem with self searches for internship programs is that these searches take valuable time and effort away from studies. Using a college internship program can provide more opportunities, as well as ways to hone your responsibilities while serving as an intern.
As mentioned previously, you need to learn more about internship possibilities through job boards and through your school. If you’ve been an upstanding student, it might help to have your school stand behind you when applying for internship jobs. Other than great grades, you also might think about developing the following traits:
- Personable: Interactions with management, sports figures, and consumers is a daily part of sports management. Your ability to communicate effectively and in a tactful and helpful manner is appreciated.
- Works Well with Others: Teamwork is essential in a career that emphasizes teams and organization. Working toward the organization’s goal is your goal as well.
- Leadership: Your ability to take on assignments and to seek out opportunities can help you with job assignments after you graduate. Show confidence in your abilities and in your willingness to learn.
- Motivation: Have passion for this career. An internship may reveal aspects that you wouldn’t encounter at school. You may even learn that sports management is not what you thought; but, if you love this career, show it. Be on time, be enthusiastic, and look for ways to help the organization.
You must also be prepared for an interview. Learning how to dress, eat properly, and conduct manners in public are part of the resources you’ll need in sports administration. Etiquette, along with other traits listed above, is a crucial skill in a career that calls for management and fund raising abilities.
The characteristics listed above pertain to any career, but they especially pertain to careers that encounter the public on a daily basis. If you have some business management and computer skills under your belt as well as sports management theory, you’re well on your way to developing a path for a stellar career in sports administration.