Sports Internship Tips for Success

Even with a college degree, a sports internship gives you the added benefit of practical experience, potential references, an insider's look at the industry and an opportunity to make valuable contacts. With the ever increasing interest in sports and sports-related jobs there's a tremendous variety of emerging opportunities to work in the sports industry.

You'll need confidence, ambition and a passion for athletics to secure your spot in the sports world. 

Types of Sports Internships

A variety of sports companies, teams and schools will have opportunities for sports-related internships. Some examples include:

  • sporting goods stores,
  • health and fitness facilities,
  • recreational sports facilities,
  • college athletic departments,
  • kindergarten thru 12 grade schools,
  • sports journalism with papers and magazines, and
  • professional sports associations.

Options for Finding Sports Internships

The quickest way to find sports internships is through sports and athletic sites on the internet. You'll have the opportunity to apply, attach resumes and references all from the keyboard. The downside is that the majority of applicants will make online submissions so the competition will be high. You may not receive any response from your submission, unless the recipient is interested in contacting you for an interview. Be prepared to apply many times and follow-up.

In-person applications take more time and are far less convenient but infinitely more profitable. Take the time to visit school athletic departments (universities, community colleges, private and public K-12 schools), contact the human resources department of your local sporting goods stores or the HR departments for your local/regional newspapers and television stations. Ask them if they have an internship program or are accepting interns in any departments. If the answer is yes, ask for instructions on how you can apply. 

Networking with classmates, advisors, friends, relatives and neighbors can be a surprisingly good source also. You never know who "knows someone" who is looking for help or whose company has an internship program. Don't hesitate to get the word out and talk about what you are looking for in a job. Personal referrals are the best way to move your name to the top of an intern list.

Preparation for Internship Interview

Once you've been called back for an interview, you've reached a crucial stage of the process that demands professionalism and efficiency. Tips for preparing for the interview:

  1. Research the company - research basic information on the company and even the person with whom you're interviewing. Prepare a few questions to ask your interviewer that demonstrate your basic knowledge. 

  2. Practice frequently asked interview questions with an advisor or mentor to become confident and dynamic in your delivery. See examples below.

  3. Compile an organized folder of resumes, references and samples of your work (if possible) to leave with your interviewer.

  4. Prepare a thank you note that's already addressed and stamped to complete and mail directly after your interview.

Possible Interview Questions to Practice

What are you hoping to gain from this internship?

What kinds of projects or tasks would you like to be involved with?

What is your greatest strength and weakness?

If you are hired for this internship, how do you see it fitting into your long-term goals in this industry?

What interests you about working in this industry and for our company?

How do you handle conflict with co-workers?