Breaking into Sports Marketing
by Chris Mallen
I have always been told, “Everyone wants to work in sports”. Not sure if that is the excuse for why they can pay you so little coming out of college, because you are very
replaceable, or if it’s because there really are a lot of people who want to work in sports. Either way unless you know someone very close, like family close, good luck landing a job right out of college without doing an internship first.
An internship is not a bad thing after all. Sure you are probably not getting paid,
which is no fun if you have to work two jobs to survive, but you are following your
dreams. That’s a key part of it, staying true to what you set out to do. Life is too short to
not go full out to land that gig. So, if you have to work one, two or three internships to
land a good sports job then make it happen. One thing is for sure, you will know early on
if the juice is not worth the squeeze.
Working just an internship doesn’t guarantee you a job though, especially in the
current down trodden state of our economy. People are happy to have you work for them
for free. The trick is giving them a reason to not lose you to someone else. Even if you
are working hard have an open line of communication with your boss so you can learn
new tricks of the trade and develop a relationship with your employers.
Relationships are very important to working in sports. Far and away building
relationships at your current position and through networking should be something you
really practice and work at. A lot of jobs in sports are posted but are really already filled by someone the employer has in mind for the position. So find a way to dig yourself into the inner circles of college athletics or pro sports by building relationships. This, by the way, also happens to be one of the most difficult things to do. But if you have an
internship it already opens a door for you. However, don’t make the mistake of tossing
that new found contact to the side once you are done with your internship. Make sure you
stay in touch with former employers.
At some point someone may even tell you, “You won’t really get ahead unless
you have a Master’s Degree”. This is true. I recommend getting your Master’s while you
are young, like almost right out of undergrad young. Get that thing knocked out quick so
you don’t have to worry about it later in your career. Especially now that having a
Master’s is rapidly becoming “preferred” for entry level positions. The employer might
as well say Master’s required because they are really looking for someone with that extra
degree. I recommend becoming a Graduate Assistant at a DI college because you will get
good experience to pad your resume and have your degree paid for by the school. This is
a great way to save money and make you more attractive to employers.
If working in sports marketing is your dream, don’t give it up. There are going to be many bumps in the road no matter what career you may choose and if your heart is in
it those bumps are not going to wear you down.