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You just graduated college with honors. As you’re writing your resume, you feel confident in the skills you possess, but realize you lack a very important factor — real-world experience.

However, a March survey from The Rockefeller Foundation and Edelman Intelligence found 73 percent of entry-level job seekers agree that a lack of relevant industry experience is a top challenge they face.

Sports internships are a good start, but there are so many more ways to gain the hands-on experience you need.

Whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time or switching careers, you need to know how to look good on paper and prove your value to prospective employers.

Here are the best sports jobs and how you can gain experience in them before earning job offers:

Management

The field of sports management is vast and offers a lot of unique opportunities. Once you earn a degree relevant to the field, start getting to know people.

When you meet colleagues, ask about what they specialize in so you can start to figure out what specifically you want to pursue. Find a niche that fits your skill set and interests.

Let’s say you like numbers and have a great mind for analysis. Start learning analytics and find opportunities in the industry.

Join relevant professional groups and attend their networking events. While you’re expanding your network, apply for sports internships that align with your goals.

As an intern, you gain a better understanding of what a career looks like in sports management. You also develop the confidence you need to earn job offers and manage your career.

Marketing

You have a unique opportunity to prove your value in sports marketing. As a job seeker, you can brand and sell yourself as you would for a product or service.

Start a personal website where you can establish your value and build a professional online presence. First, buy a domain with your professional name in the URL. Then, add content about yourself. For example, create an ‘About Me’ page where you can share details about your interests, educational and professional background, and goals.

Then, start a blog that you can link to through your website and social media platforms. Write posts that center on sports marketing trends and techniques.

When you establish an online presence and develop social proof, connect with local startups and try to get some experience working in promotions at a small company level.

Law

If you can’t find sports internships or entry-level positions in sports law, get some real-world experience by connecting with professionals and shadowing them.

Look for areas in sports law you want to learn about. For example, if you want to be a sports agent, contact local sports agencies to schedule an informational interview with an agent. If you can’t get in direct contact with an agent, find them on social media and reach out.

Then, as you build a professional relationship, ask if you can shadow them for a few days. Explain how you want to get a sense of their day-to-day so you know for sure it’s a profession that fits you. You can learn important aspects of the job, like how business contracts are drafted and negotiated.

Coaching

This is one of the best professions for those who want to freelance. Let’s say you’re an excellent golfer and want to help others hone their skills. Build your client base or use online services like CoachUp to connect with young athletes looking for your expertise.

As you coach, you learn how to communicate effectively and guide talent through improving their performance. This is another field you need to network in.

Start expanding your network in college by shadowing athletic directors on campus. Also, attend sporting events to connect and meet people in a field you’re interested in.

For example, if you want to become a pitching coach, go to spring training games in March and minor league games to meet other pitching coaches.

Additionally, use your social media profiles to connect with clients, share their successes, and prove your value as a coach.

Sales

You can start gaining valuable sales experience in any field. For example, find sales jobs while in college where you can develop the skills you need, like communication and client relations. This could be at a car dealership or an electronics store.

This kind of experience is valuable and can help you earn sports internships quickly. The more you can prove your value upfront, the more interested employers are in offering you a position.

For anyone entering the sports world, you need to gain valuable experience and prove yourself to start building valuable relationships with employers. Then you can find internship opportunities. The best part about earning sports internships is you can turn it into a full-time position.

How are you gaining experience for your favorite sports jobs?

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