If you’re as big of a sports fan, working in the sports industry is the opportunity of a lifetime. The problem is, many sports enthusiasts think their love and knowledge of sports will automatically guarantee them a position. While sports experience and knowledge is important, you should also be cultivating other skills and talents. This article will focus on helping you stand out from all those “sports fans” and instead, become a sport professional.

Not surprisingly, one of the best ways to get your foot in the door and stand out from everyone else in the industry is to have experience. I’ve found that one of the best ways to gain experience in the sports world is by interning or volunteering with sport companies. In addition to using a sports job board such as JobsInSports.com, consider contacting companies you’re interested in and asking them if they have any opportunities available. While most internships are unpaid, the amount of experience and networking you gain is priceless.

If you have a large amount of experience, your next step should be to compile a list of your skills. Many career advisors recommend this approach when first starting your job hunt. The employees who stand out the most in an interview are the ones who know themselves the best. If you can explain your skills, what you love doing, and your experience, you’ll definitely be a step ahead of your competition.

Don’t forget to look outside of your previous positions or areas of specialization, too. Many times your skill set can be transferred to different sports or positions. Plus, employers love those who are versatile. Broadening your horizons and gaining experience in many different areas will certainly benefit you in the future. For example, if you are a manager of a soccer team, make it clear that the experience you have and the skills you’ve learned can be applied to a wide variety of sports – not just soccer jobs. Your experience as a manager could also qualify you for a job as a scout, agent, or sports writer. Those who can bring something new to a profession will be given serious consideration.

Last but not least, learn everything you can about your prospective employers or job position. It’s a great idea to search the internet for a company you’d love to work with and ask them if you could come in and ask them a few questions. Try to get a good idea of what a typical day looks like for them, what experience or background they have, and how they got into the industry. Thank them for their time and if possible, ask if you can use them for networking purposes. I guarantee this information will help you stand out from the crowd. Setting yourself apart from your competition requires a great deal of knowledge about yourself. Being able to identify your strengths and apply them to different jobs is a skill not many people have. Once you can do this, gain experience and learn as much as you can about the area you want to work in. The title of sports professional will be yours in no time!