While pro teams and minor league clubs may offer internships, understand that these are designed to help them more than they help you. Most teams need bodies, lots of them. The team’s HR personnel might not want to extend full-time salaries and benefits beyond a certain headcount. There is always far more demand for opportunities than supply, even with unpaid position.
Even with an internship, the odds are stacked against you. For every one intern that goes from writing stories on the team website, or handling donation requests to Team Reporter or Community Relations Coordinator, there are nine still looking to get in the door.
Here’s the good news for those nine individuals on the outside looking in. Your hard work will eventually be rewarded if you are persistent, creative, versatile and think outside of the collective box. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the startup industry, where a nationwide economic recession has eliminated old jobs and allowed those passionate thinkers who dream big the opportunity to thrive.
As they say about New York City, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” That isn’t only true in a startup situation, but it could accelerate your own career thanks to gaining experience in critical traits most in sports HR look for.
Working for a startup comes with a great deal of risk, a risk similar to that of someone who will move 2,000 miles away from home to take a sports job in a market they know nothing about. People who take risks aren’t afraid to fail, nor are they afraid to settle, a big plus for anyone looking to break into a competitive industry.
LONG HOURS / LITTLE PAY
Startups offer little in the way of pay and some very hefty hours to boot. Sports teams are very much the same way, especially in season. If you don’t know how a sports job can become your entire life, a startup position will give you first-hand experience of that.
HANDS ON EXPERIENCE
Mark Cuban recently told an audience that a Sports Business degree was the new “Rocks for Jocks.” Why waste time and money in the classroom, even one that has internship requirements, when you could be working with a fully operational business?
ALWAYS HAVING THE BRAND’S BEST INTEREST IN MIND
The thing about a startup business is that they are always one mistake between survival and failure. While chances are taken, often times encouraged, anyone who decides to start a company of their own, or who works for a startup, understands that the business is like a small child. You won’t do anything to put them in danger.
The easiest way to get a job in sports? Tell someone how you’ll make them money. If you work for a startup and have success, odds are that you’ll have real examples of growth that will wow any potential new boss in an interview.