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How To Get An Internship In Sports
The thought of finding an internship in sports can be pretty overwhelming. There are so many different areas of sport, and not everyone has it figured out whether they want to work in professional, recreational or some other area of the industry. Giving yourself the opportunity to experience different positions in sport while in college will allow you to decide with confidence what you want to do after graduation. In order to give yourself the best chance at getting an internship, you should follow these tips when reaching out to potential supervisors.
#1: Utilize Your Alumni Network
You may not be aware of this, but you have a network as soon as you start classes in your program. Maybe the personal connections aren’t there yet, but if you hear about an alumnus from your school working in an area of sport you’re interested in or at an organization you want to learn more about, mentioning that you are a student at the institution they attended will more than likely give you opportunities that others just can’t get.
#2: Go "Old School"
Speaking of contacting alums… You need to call them. Seriously. Sending e-mails is easy; you write one, customize it for a few organizations, and then feel accomplished because you can tell everyone how you contacted 10 schools about working with them. I’ve received these e-mails (and even sent them out, with literally no responses), and it is so easy to skim them and move on with your day. I couldn’t tell you the names of anyone who has sent me an unsolicited e-mail. But I could tell you who has called me! A phone call requires complete focus and even some note taking, so if you are really serious about finding an internship, know that you are going to have to set aside the time to make some phone calls. It makes a personal connection and the person you speak with will be invested in your journey.
Why are you looking for an internship?
#3: Do Your Research
You need to know three things before you make any phone calls:
A) Have a general idea of what a person does before you call them. Don’t call facilities and ask them questions about marketing internships. Call the right person and have a general idea of what they do.
B) Have a general idea of what the organization does. If you’re calling about working with a high school track program and the school does not sponsor a track team, you will have a hard time bouncing back from that mistake.
C) Know what you want/need out of the internship. If it is just for experience, that’s great and they’ll probably be able to help you out. If you need 20 hours a week to earn credit for it, that’s important info that supervisors need from the beginning.
#4: Prepare For Your Interview
Look up common interview questions related to your field and prepare answers. You can write down your answers or just practice answering, but make sure you dedicate some time to this. Drawing a blank when asked basic interview questions (e.g., why do you want this opportunity?) will make you look like you put zero time into preparing. After you do that, look up one or two important people in the organization and figure out ways that you relate to them. Sharing that you want to know more about a committee that someone serves on shows that you are not only interested in the position, but already fit in with people in the organization.
#5: Hold Out For What You Want
With sports being such a competitive industry, it may be tempting to take the first opportunity that comes your way. Do yourself a favor and don’t stop searching even after you get an interview for a good organization. It could fall through, or you could find something better. In the end, know what you want and why you want it. Hold out for the perfect opportunity and you’ll never wonder “what if?” Failing to give the internship search your full effort could result in serious regret.
Following these tips will put you in a great position to get internships you truly want and enjoy. Do you have any tips from your own internship search that you think would be helpful for others? Share in the comments below!
Bonus: There are tons of websites that promote internships in the sports industry. Just do a quick search for your general interest and you’re bound to stumble across one or two. This isn’t the only place internships are listed though! Sometimes opportunities aren’t listed at all. Just because an internship isn’t listed doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Cold calling may result in less openings, but you’re likely the only one calling for an unlisted opening and you’ll have a better shot if this is your approach.
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