Our digitally connected world is full of social media tools that have created a share-share-share itch that’s only scratched with viral videos, retweeted quips and a 24/7 always-breaking news cycle. Tried-and-true marketing techniques mash against new school marketing trends demanding industry professionals that can handle both new and old ways of drumming up excitement. The buzz around sports marketing means demand is high for people that have some real experience and can learn while doing. A sports marketing internship is the perfect way to prove yourself while launching yourself down a career path that might make the guys on Mad Men envy. So, what makes marketing internships so great?

The real world experiences are invaluable.

Hiring managers expect degrees, high grade point averages and extracurricular clubs and activities from young, job-hunting professionals. Everyone trying to land a desirable job in sports will offer up those things. Gaining some real world experience doing actual marketing tasks within a marketing department is what elevates you from a crowd of applicants. Doing some internships—that’s right, I pluralized internship—will show you how the world of marketing really works. Copywrite blog posts and social media posts, give feedback on branding designs, update monthly promotional calendars and analyze metrics on marketing campaigns. Do real marketing work. You’ll have countless anecdotes and situations to share come interview time.

Interns make many, many connections.

Sports franchises pounce on opportunities to catch the attention of fringe fans. That means, all too often, campaigns are prepared in days, not months. Luckily for you, marketing interns pitch in everywhere. You might work under one or two marketing team members but you’ll do a little bit of everything throughout your internship. And that means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet brand ambassadors, digital marketing managers, writers, social media masters and creative directors. Marketing teams across professional sports are made up of dozens of people with dozens of focuses. You’ll cross paths with most of them; take advantage of those networking opportunities.

The experience makes your resume stand out.

Woah. Your 12-week internship is finishing up but you feel like it just got started. That’s a good sign that the world of sports marketing is for you! Most companies have a “plan” for marketing interns but, if you seize chances and voice your wants, you can rip up that plan and create a new one. Ask to work on specific projects that interest you, even if it means extra time in the office. Do world-class work on small tasks to get you first in line for bigger, better projects. Shadow your co-workers whenever you get a free few minutes. It might be easy to breeze through an internship, eating free donuts, sipping free coffee and making friends with your cohort. Don’t coast through it. Immerse yourself in spreadsheets, project plans, campaign schedules and PR releases to make the most of those weeks. You’ll fill the pages of your cover letter and resume with superb experiences.

Little to no pay now will pay off later. It proves your passion.  

A steady paycheck is nice, right? You finish up school and you’re ready for your own place, some extra spending money, health benefits and some savings. It’s an enticing proposition to grab a full-time job even if it isn’t a marketing gig or in the sports field. You’ll get back to your true calling soon enough, right? Maybe. But maybe not. A sports marketing internship might not pay as well a full-time job; it also might not feel as safe. Taking the chance on that internship will, however, lead you to your dream job much faster. You’ll get the experiences you need to land the next full-time marketing job that opens up. And you’ll have a story to share at future interviews that prove how important sports marketing is to you.

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