You’re studying at university and will only have a set amount of time left before you’re set free into the working world.
Many students are led to believe that their university degree is the secret formula to a successful career in the sports industry. However, achieving a degree is in fact just the first hurdle among many that needs to be overcome. Historically in sport, the nature of the degree has never been that important in determining what happens after university. To some employers a degree is simply a useful filtering system for identifying potential candidates for a job.
Therefore, career planning in sport comes down to so much more than just where and what you studied, and preparation should start from year one of your degree. Similar to competing at a major sporting event, you wouldn’t rock up without thorough training or having not thought through the whole ‘what if’ process. Treat your career planning with the same dedication, resourcefulness, and determination
What do you want to do?
- Where do your key interests and ambitions lie?
Prioritise and order in preference what topics you’ve enjoyed or are enjoying on your course and which particular areas you’re interested in. This will give you the clarity and hopefully the motivation to understand where you should start your research.
- Where do your skill-sets lie?
Map out what you think you would be good at in your career. Look objectively at what you think you are good at and not so good at. You need to start to build on these positive attributes by putting them to the test (work experience etc.).
- Use this to create a career objective.
Combining your interests and your positive skill set will help you start to focus on what type of jobs you not only might enjoy but would be good at. You should start to look at job functions and industry sectors that are relevant to these interest and skills, research them – do they appeal?
- What next?
Seeking work experience is the next step to establish whether you’re right in your initial choices. As well as further developing and expanding your skill-sets and knowledge, work experience placements may also help you to build useful industry contacts for the future.
Don’t be afraid to admit you might have made an error in judging your skills and interests - mistakes are good if you can learn from them!
The key message
It’s tedious but it’s true – preparation is key. Achieving the university grade is only part of the battle. You should treat your time throughout university as preparation for your future career. It’s about researching the industry, knowing where your skills lie and knowing how you can use this to gain a foothold in a sector that is hugely competitive.
There is a self-filtering selection process in the sports industry based around preparation, determination and perseverance. Ultimately there are a wide variety of opportunities and career paths out there in the world of sport but it’s up to you to go out and get them.