A Guide to Winning the Right One

Facilities, marketing, management, and media are examples of areas in the sports industry that are growing fast. As the industry broadens and as individual companies expand, opportunities increase for internships. 

Internships can be critical entry points to the sports industry, allowing you to make connections while getting on-the-job experience. College students do not overlook this value, 80 percent of whom get some form of experiential education (per World Scholarship Forum). 

This article looks at why sports internships are important, the types of organizations that typically hire summer sports interns, and five tips to landing summer sports internships.

Why You Should Consider A Summer Sports Internship

To get the experience needed to eventually land jobs in a competitive industry, students need to have high-quality internships. The internship will usually occur once a significant amount of degree work has been completed, so it should serve as an extension of undergraduate career preparation.

Sports internships are not merely resume-builders, though. They are powerful because they give you a chance to put what you are learning at school into practice. As you work the internship, you develop better knowledge of the range of available sports careers. You start to better focus your interest.

When you are getting out of college and wanting to make a name for yourself, it is all about opportunities – and those will often stem out of your network. Along with getting college credit and possibly a little bit of pay, internships will be valuable in helping you build a network.

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Organizations Hiring Summer Sport Interns

Here are a few types of companies or organizations that will often have summer sports internship programs:

  • Secondary schools
  • College athletic departments
  • Professional sports teams
  • Sports venues
  • Sports journalism organizations
  • Fitness and health companies
  • Recreational sports companies
  • Sporting goods companies.

5 Tips To Landing Summer Sports Internships

While summer internships can be beneficial, they are also highly competitive in sports. Hundreds of thousands of students vie for internships generally each year, per The Balance. We can infer from that number that applications for sports internships are in the tens of thousands. These opportunities can be invaluable, though. Roger Goodell started as an intern, for instance. 

Here are a few steps you can take to stand out from the field and score summer sports internships:

Tip #1 – Organize everything. Prioritize appropriately.

Collect your materials. Look over your resume and a cover letter template—review internship postings. See how you will need to adjust your materials for individual applications. Consider what professional contacts you might already know who could help you land a position. 

Tip #2 – Be open to all possibilities.

Being the local amateur baseball team’s towel guy is an opportunity, even if it is not your intended career. Again, along with the hands-on learning and the college credit, internships are powerful in allowing you to meet managers, players, coaches, and operations personnel. Those relationships can be key in developing your career. Lauren Berger noted that her brother Jonathan started building his sports industry network while performing operational tasks as an intern for the Clearwater Phillies.

Tip #3 – Plan and prioritize.

You will need a few hours to apply for every 5-10 internships, particularly when you are starting out and just crafting your materials. Figure out deadlines for applications. Block out time over the coming weeks to complete them. 

Also, apply to as many internships as you can. Not hearing back about positions should be motivation to apply for other ones. Generally speaking, maintaining drive and perseverance are essential to succeeding in the sports industry.

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Tip #4 – Make revisions.

To set yourself apart in the application pool, ensure your reference letters, portfolio, cover letter, and resume for sports internships are impeccable:

  • Resume – Include items that relate to the particular opening in your resume for sports internships. Emphasize any experience you have that relates to the position. Your college’s career center should be able to help. 
  • Cover letter – Again, you want to adjust your cover letter to perfectly fit the opportunity. Note where you plan to be during the summer, your current school semester, and the role you are seeking.
  • Online portfolio – Maintain an online portfolio if you want to get an internship in sports graphic design, public relations, editorial, writing, or advertising.
  • Reference letters – Get new recommendation letters when you start this process so they will be available when needed. Try to get three: one from a professor, one from a prior employer, and one character reference from a friend.

Tip #5 – Go to sports conferences.

Annual conferences and conventions are opportunities to network. You may be able to get student pricing for the event. You also might be able to get a press pass if you cover it for your college newspaper. See below for a way to network more consistently.

Pivotal to Landing A Sports Job

Are you taking your first steps to develop a career in sports? Sports internships can be fundamental to helping you get hands-on experience and build a network. It is important not to rely on internships for networking, though. At Jobs In Sports, our network for sports industry professionals is growing at an astonishing rate. Join today for FREE.