How to Land a Sports Internship
Landing a sports internship is the perfect way for a student who is interested in sports to further their career and put some amazing experience on their resume. The reality is, though, these sports internships are incredibly competitive. The good news is if you land a sports internship you could be marked for great things. An example of this is Theo Epstein, he interned with the Padres, earned the respect of team president Larry Lucchino, and when Lucchino was hired by the Red Sox to be team president, he offered Epstein, the job of general manager.
In other words – sports internships are a great foot in the door. First, consider what type of work you’d like to do with a team. With sports management internships, you would be working on the operations side of the sports organization. In operations is where you’d learn about budgeting and how to keep a team running in a solvent way. This is the area where the team behind the team works. Sports marketing internships are all about reaching out and engaging fans. Marketing is about getting the team’s message across and connecting with the fans on an emotional level. Get fans in the seats, and your team is that much more secure. Finally, sports braodcasting internships are for people who want to cover the games. Whether you want to be in front of the camera or behind the camera, these internships give you hands-on experience in the field.
Once you’ve decided where you want to go, the next is to look into organizations. The most competitive are NBA internships, MLB internships, and NFL internships. The high competition is because these leagues are the most popular in the United States. However, if you love soccer or hockey, then MLS internships and NHL internships are the ticket for you. The key is to match the type of internship with the organization. For example, if you are looking to be an actuary and love basketball, then a sports management internship with an NBA organization is the way to go.
So, now that you have figured out where you want to go and who you want to work with, the next step is finding these internships and applying for them. The key is finding a good resource. For sports internships, a great website is Jobs in Sports. You will find plenty of internships there. The key is applying early. The organizations will stop taking applications quickly because these positions are in demand. Don’t fret if you aren’t the first, but if an internship has been posted for a while, it’s best to move on to newer internships.
Once you have found the internship, the next thing to do is tailor your resume and transcript to fit the internship. This is helpful for when you have to look for a job. Many headhunters bemoan the fact that their clients create a generic resume for every job and then lament why no employer calls them back. Your prospective internship wants to see that you are a go-getter. This means looking at the internship description and making sure your resume makes you the logical fit for it. For example, if you are looking to work behind the camera for a sports media internship, it is best to feature all your technical expertise and perhaps the fact that your YouTube account has lots of views.
Speaking of YouTube, let’s talk a bit about social media. Teams are very protective of their image, so make sure your social media shows you being an upstanding person. If your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat shows you doing and saying things that are untoward, it is best to rid yourself of those accounts before a team throws your name into Google and sees your posts where you are enjoying the college lifestyle a little too enthusiastically. The last thing teams want is to grant an internship to a careless person; these organizations are owned by billionaires, they are exhaustively protective of their franchises.
Now you’ve scrubbed your social media and tailored your resume; the next step is making sure your internship lines up with your major and your course load. Your internship functions as an extension of the classroom, so the goal here is showing those who are interested in bringing you on that you have skills that they can use. Understandably, your internship will consist of tedious work, and it is not at all glamorous. But these sports teams are looking for the best and brightest, so get that GPA as high as possible and make sure you can go to an interview and show various organizations how your classes have prepared you for the internship.
Finally, it comes down to the interview. Be sure that you arrive early – 15 minutes is always best. Everyone values those who are punctual, and you are no exception to this rule. Dress impeccably to show how serious you are about the internship, and be prepared for hard questions. Keep your answers quick but comprehensive. Don’t show off how much you know – the person interviewing you has seen way more pretentious college students before you and will see far more after you. Be sincere in your desire to work with this organization.
Finally, after all is said and done, prepare yourself for bad news. Not because you didn’t work hard, but because these internships are competitive. It’s ok to be disappointed, but don’t let your expectations get out of touch, these are very sought after positions.
If you don’t land an internship, don’t worry. You have time to keep working on your resume and improve your chances. Reach out to the people in charge of internships on the phone or by e-mail even when internships aren’t posted. By making a good impression, they’ll remember you when it comes time to select applicants to interview.
Overall, landing an internship is part luck, part science. Take care of the things that you can control and be ready because you never know when opportunity will arise – who knows, you could be the next Theo Epstein.