Hundreds of freshly-qualified sports management students will be competing for just a handful of internships around the world this summer. Will Lloyd, founder of GlobalSportsJobs, has a blueprint for getting a foot in the door.
Your CV and yourself. When it comes to a career in the sports industry, these are the two clear vehicles you possess.
Tailor your approach. We advertise a number of internships on behalf of organisations in sport and we still see far too many candidates stating that they “want a job in sport”, rather than tailoring their application to the organisation and for the role at hand. We’ve also witnessed many instances of candidates getting the job title wrong in their covering letter or saying they’re looking for experience in marketing when they’re actually applying for an eventsrole. It becomes instantly obvious that they’ve been too quick in firing out their CV and have forgotten to update their covering letter for this particular role. When you have a lot of experience looking through applications, you become an expert at noticing which have been sent without much thought or consideration. As an employer, I want a candidate who can demonstrate why they want to work for my organisation and this should show clearly in their application. Sending out generic covering letters or making silly mistakes such as the wrong date is an constant way to get yourself in the no pile.
Research the organisation. There have been countless times that I have interviewed candidates for a position to discover that they have no real idea what the company does, who their key clients are, what their last big success was and why they would fit well into the organisation. Experience in the sports industry and a great CV count for nothing if you haven’t done the research and don’t have the knowledge to support your application.
What you lack in experience, make up for in attitude. I truly believe in the saying “Hire for attitude, train for skills”. This is ultimately what employers are looking for in an intern, and it’s something you need to be able to portray at this early stage of your career. I recently interviewed someone who earlier in his career had decided to move away from financial headhunting but was then faced with the challenge of applying for sponsorship agencies without much experience. However, by demonstrating a good awareness and understanding of the sponsorship sector in both his application and interview, he was able to show his attitude as well as his enthusiasm for the role. He has now just won an industry award for his work at the agency.
Be proactive in your job search. Our LinkedIn group attracts many candidates posting about their experiences and asking if there are any opportunities out there for them. But in this competitive job market, it’s simply not enough to throw out the line and hope to get a bite. Volunteer your services with organisations and teams in your local area. Just because the internship isn’t advertised, doesn’t mean the opportunity isn’t available. But sometimes you need to go out and find those hidden opportunities. They won’t come and find you.
Don’t blend into the background. As well as being short, concise and relative to the job in hand, the layout, look and feel of your CV should be reflected in your personality and attitude. Previous experience is not necessarily expected for an internship, but a candidate that stands out from the crowd may be. Therefore, it is a strong positive attitude that is what needs to come across in abundance as this is what organisations are ultimately looking for.