If you’re pursuing a job in the sports industry, one of the most frustrating things you will hear from employers—that is, if you’re not prepared—are those two dreaded words: “Experience Required.”
I always thought, “How in the world can I get experience, when the only employers hiring are those that require experience?” It never made sense to me. That is, until I started hiring college students and young professionals for my other business, an event marketing company (www.bangadvertising.com). With my company’s reputation on the line, we have to weed through hundreds of job candidates to find the right fit for my clients.
Whether we’re organizing an NCAA Final Four promotion for Staples, or a simple grand opening event for Wells Fargo, I have to make sure the people we hire will represent my clients (and my company) at the highest level.
EXPERIENCE RELEVANT TO THE JOB
One of the ways we’re able to rip through all the resumes we receive is by looking for specific experiences relevant to the job. Whether it’s for a Field Marketing Manager, an entry-level Brand Ambassador position—or any position for that matter—there are resume clues every employer looks for that help them find the best candidates. One of those clues can be found under the “Experience” header. So, if you’re like the thousands of others in need of “Sports Industry Experience,” there are three ways you can get it, even before you write your resume.
1. VOLUNTEER IN THE SPORTS INDUSTRY
That’s right, work for free. Find out when and where the next industry conference or sporting event is being held and call the event producer. Contact the sponsors, too! Let them know you’re ready, willing and able to help out any way you can. This also creates an excellent opportunity to network with potential employers in the sports industry. Ask lots of questions, work at a high level, and above all, make a difference.
2. ORGANIZE A TOURNAMENT
This is my personal favorite. If you’re a basketball junkie (like me), put together a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. If you’re a golf nut, a golf tournament. A football fan, a flag-football tournament. You get the idea. Even if you’ve never produced your own event, your instincts will take over and you’ll be able to get it done. Plus you’ll learn way more than volunteering because of all the mistakes you’ll make. Have fun!
3. EVENT STAFFING FIRM
Seek out staffing firms that specialize in sporting events. There are plenty of these companies. A lot of them partner with the IMGs and the Octagons of the world. If you’re not sure how to find them, jump on CraigsList.com and do a search under “Marketing and Promotions.” The key is to make sure to search in a city that hosts sporting events during the right seasons. Target events based on things you’re passionate about. Whether it’s tennis, or motorsports, or bull riding, or even major events like the Super Bowl, find events you love. You’ll always perform better working in a stimulating environment.
Another way to get sports business experience is through an internship. I didn’t include “Internships” because it’s common knowledge, especially for college students. However, because internships are highly competitive, it will be to your advantage to have some experience already under your belt before you pursue your internship. This will make you standout above the competition.
- Take pictures of the events/projects you work on.
- Get testimonials from event director, participants, and sponsors.
- Build your portfolio using the items above (this will be utilized in during the interview process)
Do you have any tips on gaining experience in the sports industry? Leave your comments below or tweet us!