You just wrapped up your latest freelance coaching gig with your client. You helped her improve her dribbling techniques and refine her release point for her jump shots. While you like the flexibility of freelance coaching, you’re ready to find full-time sports jobs that fit you.

Given your knowledge of basketball, years of coaching experience, and ability to motivate your clients, you feel confident in the skills you’ve developed over the years. This is a huge advantage — knowing your value and understanding how you fit in the sports industry.

When you know what skills you need for the sports jobs you want, you are better equipped to market your value and make an impact on potential employers. If you don’t have the skills you need, you should know which ones to develop.

These are the must-have skills you need when looking for sports jobs:

Transferable Skills

These are the skills you develop throughout your career and apply to future opportunities. They can include basic abilities, like managing your time and organizing information, as well as technical skills.

Technical skills can give you an advantage. The ManpowerGroup’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey found that 38 percent of employers find it difficult to fill jobs, citing a lack of technical competencies and soft skills as the top reasons for this issue.

Your set of technical skills is what sets you apart. Let’s say you’re looking for a job in sports game operations, and you previously gained experience in database management. Your skills with Excel give you an extra benefit for employers who need help maintaining an archive of data, like photos, customer information, and promotional materials.

Soft skills are equally important. These include interpersonal skills, social and emotional intelligence, and communication skills. A LinkedIn study from 2015 found that communication skills are the most in-demand soft skill.

Being an effective communicator is beneficial in all sports jobs. You need to know how to express your ideas clearly, listen to oral instructions, and use positive body language in your day-to-day.

Time management, interpersonal, leadership, and organizational skills are other soft skills you should build. These set you up for success in all kinds of sports jobs.

Each specific role in the industry requires a unique set of skills.


To be a sports writer, your strengths should be expression and communication, observation, knowledge of language and grammar, reasoning, and problem-solving. Also, you need to be fearless. Creativity requires a flow of ideas, and you don’t want to stall your process with fears and insecurities.

Start a personal blog to get better at expressing your opinions and sharing information. Spend time in social situations to learn how to observe and interact with people on a personal basis. When you improve your oral communication skills, you become a better writer.


Sports jobs in law vary, but no matter the role you pursue, you need to have a strong understanding of sports law and legal procedures. Successful sports law professionals are also skilled in the analysis, logical reasoning, and teamwork.

To expand your knowledge of legal procedures, volunteer at law offices, take college courses and pursue a law degree if you want to become an attorney. No matter your role, either as a paralegal or clerk, you will succeed if you’re a team player. Get involved in projects that give you experience working with people who have perspectives different from yours.


Working in sports management can include a lot of different experiences. You could be a data manager, director of consumer goods, or even manage a professional sports team. What sets you apart from the rest? You need a strong ability to delegate and plan ahead.

If you don’t think long-term, you may make costly management mistakes. Many sports team managers make errors that become headline news. Get better at thinking ahead by pursuing personal projects that require long-term planning and ongoing effort.

To delegate efficiently, put yourself in team environments. If you’re not currently employed, volunteer as a coordinator for a charity organization or do group activities, you can lead.


Creativity and your ability to influence and engage with different audiences are the most valuable skill sets for sports jobs in marketing. Can you motivate different kinds of people to take action?

Build these skills by pursuing creative hobbies, and think about ways you can use your creations to engage with audiences. For example, self-publish books and build an audience of readers through your social media channels. Start an Etsy account and sell the arts and crafts you make.


To succeed as a coach in sports, you need more than just knowledge of a particular sport and exercise routines. You also need to motivate, remain detached emotionally while being involved with your client’s or team’s training, track goal progress, provide impactful feedback, and master the art of listening.

Coaching is similar to educating. Develop listening skills and learn how to provide feedback by offering tutoring services for one of your strengths, like writing or math, or by working as a substitute teacher. Get into the mindset that you’re qualified in certain ways, and you can educate and improve your coachee’s skills.

Do you possess the must-haves you need to succeed in sports jobs?