To Get a Job in Sports, You Need to Gain Experience

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

This is the third in a series of four blogs on “The competition for jobs in the sports industry is stiff, therefore you need to prepare accordingly.” The first blog discussed the need for mentoring in order to advance your career and the second was on effective networking. In this article I am sharing the importance of gaining experience in order to secure your next job in the sports world.

Remember that the reason that I am writing on this topic is a result of an article that Bill King wrote in Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal that shared that there are many more sports management graduates than there are job openings. Because of this factor, you will need to be very proactive in making your dreams come true about working in the sports industry. Now I’m not trying to scare you off, I’m trying to give you practical advice that will help you to be one of the people who becomes employed in sports and has a successful career.

In a recent article in Psychology Today, Katharine Brooks wrote that employers want proof of your job related skills. She shared that experience is imperative as employers are looking to hire job seekers.

Whether you’re a recent graduate from a sports management program, or looking to move up in the profession, experience is one of the main keys to getting the job. This need for experience was seen in a recent study by Millennial Branding, which showed that 91% of employers believe that “students should have between one and two internships before they graduate.” Of these employers, “87% of companies think that internships should last at least three months for students to gain enough experience.” But just because you’re completing an internship, don’t have false expectations that the organization you’re doing your internship with will hire you – most students aren’t hired on after their internship. Instead, focus on how you can gain experience, secure strong recommendations, and further your career.

And here’s one of the most disturbing elements of the study . . . for entry-level jobs, “42% of employers are turned off by how unprepared students are in interviews.” While I’m a bit shocked by this, I shouldn’t be. In my 25+ years working in college sports and 11 years as an athletic director, I’ve hired dozens (if not hundreds) of people and reviewed thousands of resumes. There are just too many people who don’t know the basic fundamentals of the job search process. You need to gain experience both within your chosen profession and on how to get a job.

The point I’m trying to make is that gaining experience is key to getting your next job. This experience might be securing a second internship. It might be volunteering your services to an organization where you’d like to work someday. Or it might be gaining greater knowledge and networking by attending conferences, conventions, or professional development activities. You either grow and gain experience, or you become one of those statistics from the Street and Smith article. There are just too many passionate people who want to succeed in this industry. You can too; you just need to have a plan and work hard to gain the appropriate experience and skills.

Good luck as you continue to grow and learn within the sports industry. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.


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


The #1 Careers Book 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



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s