Three Steps To Positioning Yourself For A Job In The Sports Industry

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Michelle recently contacted me about how she should pursue a career in college sports. She lives in a small city in the Midwest and her entire family lives in the region. She has an interesting situation and asked if I could provide some insight for her.

Her situation is such that she cannot relocate for a job within the near future and wondered how she might be able to work her way into a position within a local college athletic department. The city where she lives has a Division I university and two small colleges. Michelle had received her undergraduate degree at the university and she was now pursuing a master’s degree in sports management from the same institution.

When I asked her what type of job she wanted within sports she replied that she would take almost anything. She initially was interested in sports information because she was a good writer, but now she is possibly interested in coaching, fund raising, or even compliance. She even wondered if she should go to law school and then pursue a position in compliance.

I could tell that she was really confused about her future career and I offered some thoughts. I shared with her the differences between sports information, coaching, fundraising, and compliance. I explained the type of duties each position requires, and how each of these positions requires a different set of skills. I recommended that she conduct an informational interview with the directors within each of these four areas at the Division I university and then seek out an internship where she could begin to gain experience. I also recommended that she should contact someone within the athletics department at the two local colleges (either the athletics director or the associate athletic director) and see if she could have an informational interview with them as well.

Michelle asked me how she should go about trying to position herself so when a job does open up within one of these athletic departments, she would be considered. I recommended that she should do three things. First, through informational interviews and internships she needs to learn what type of position best fits her strengths and interests and consider pursuing this type of position for her career. Secondly, I encouraged her to work hard at building relationships within the industry. Finally, I encouraged her to seek jobs, internships and volunteer experiences within the area in which she intends to pursue a career so she gains relevant experience.

As we wrapped up our conversation, Michelle stated that these three steps made perfect sense and that to properly position herself she needs to: (1) Gain clarity in the type of career she wants, (2) Build relationships within the industry, and (3) Work hard to gain experience. These three steps will help you to position yourself within the industry so you’re ready when the right job comes along.

Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is best prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS! For more on the basic fundamental skills needed for the job search process, check out my book Getting Hired in College Sports at


Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at or his new book Execute for Success at


Helping You Get A Job In Sports

2nd edition Image

In Getting Hired In College Sports you will discover:

  • The types of jobs that exist in college sports
  • How to plan and navigate your career
  • How to create an effective job search campaign 
  • The proper way to create an effective resume, cover letter, and sales pitch
  • How to properly brand yourself
  • Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
  • How to properly prepare yourself for the five types of interview questions 
  • How to properly follow-up after the interview in order to influence the decision of the hiring manager

Only $23.95 Click Here To Purchase 

“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators.  A must read for anyone whom has a goal of working in athletic administration”

-Bill Fusco
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University




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