Entering any jobs market can be a scary prospect for students and graduates, with a myriad of potential paths to pursue. The sports world is no different. So, what do you need to know and have in your armoury for taking the plunge from full-time studies to the wider working world?
At the Johan Cruyff Institute, with its headquarters in Barcelona, Núria Juan warns that entering a market can be “a slow and costly process” but argues that doesn’t make it a mission impossible. The institute’s main guidelines for graduates entering the sports business come in these easy-to-follow steps:
1. Academic qualifications: Have a good base of general sport management education and specialise with more specific qualifications.
2. Internships: Do as many as you can, thereby broadening your knowledge and gaining experience of the working world.
3. Volunteering: Offer your help to as many sporting events as you can for more hands-on experience, be it a local fun run or a triathlon.
4. CV: Make it functional with easily accessible information on no more than two pages, and don’t overload it. Write a cover letter designed to attract the potential employee.
5. Keep up to date: Follow the ever-evolving sports market across social media and content channels.
6. Road map: Make a clear outline of where you are and where you want to get to and start formulating a plan that can enable you to get there, however audacious.
Global Sports CEO Will Lloyd, meanwhile, advises people against thinking of the sports industry as the `Holy Grail' and instead says that the key is to focus on your “functional skills”.
“Look at the new skills that are taking most industries by a storm,
and sport is no exception. Digital, data, and AI, are all skills that
will continue to grow in demand.”
Every employee in the sports field has his or her own differing experience. Christian Fizia joined Sportcal initially on a one-year work placement scheme as part of his university degree, and then re-joined permanently after graduation. He rose up to become a sponsorship analyst.
Having taken the path from studying to the sporting work place, his advice for graduates is predominantly four-fold:
1. “When starting a new job, it is important that you display an eagerness to learn about the company from the get go, as well as the industry that you are working in.”
2. “Make an effort to interact with different departments to gain a better understanding of how the company functions. This will give you a clearer picture of the importance of each individual to the company.”
3. “As a junior employee, some tasks will seem trivial, but you should apply yourself in the same way you would for any task, this dedication will not go unnoticed and the more enjoyable tasks will follow.”
4. “And during the early stages of your role, don’t be afraid to get involved in discussions and voice your opinions on matters within the sports industry.”
INTERSPORT has 50 years of experience as a sports business, and Cristina Schneider of its human resources team believes the onus very much lies on the individual graduate or student scoping the work place.
She argues that “no one is responsible for your own development but you” and also that “they say successful people make their own luck...or rather opportunities”.
She adds: “Ultimately your development is an active choice you have to make. You will likely encounter different opportunities but what you do with them is up to you.”
In short, be proactive if you want to have success going from your studies to full-time employment, don’t be daunted and try to embrace as much advice and guidance as you can.
Global Sports: the world’s leading specialist careers platform for the international sports industry