Continuous education, academic internships, volunteering, a good résumé, a cover letter, a review of your skills and a good roadmap will help you position yourself and find that first job in the sports industry that you so desire
In the classrooms of the Johan Cruyff Institute we have a great diversity of students, who are at different stages in their professional careers and, therefore, require different types of support and assistance. However, all of them have a common goal: to educate themselves in order to obtain a first job in the sports industry or to achieve professional advancement within their career in the sports industry.
In this case, we will focus on students who do not have any previous experience in the sports industry and are looking to find their first job. This group of students can be divided into two types:
- Students with a junior professional profile: with no (or very little) previous professional experience. Generally, they are between 20 and 25 years old.
- Students with a senior professional profile: with previous professional experience, but not related to the sports world. These students have decided to make a change in their lives and want to work in the sports industry in the sports industry. Generally, they are between 35 and 45 years old.
Their previous experience, in most cases, will always be a plus. However, it is important to keep in mind that changing from one sector to another is not easy. They should therefore be willing to start working in positions with less responsibility than they might have been used to previously, since in some areas they will be at the same level as junior profiles.
Entering a market is often a slow and costly process, but not impossible. Therefore, it is important that the person has a series of guidelines to help them during the job hunting process. From our experience, we can indicate that there are some actions that can facilitate this process. Here are some general tips that we consider useful for all those who want to find their first job in the sports industry:
- Academic qualifications: Have a good base of general sport management education and specialize by acquiring more specific qualifications, according to your own interests (for example: digital marketing, data analysis programs, etc.). Maintain continuous education throughout your life.
- Internships: Do as many internships as possible. Through the internships, you will broaden your acquired theoretical knowledge, you will gain experience in different professional environments, you will expand your networking, and you will define the professional sectors that are most related to your interests (for example: sport sponsorship, facilities or sport event management, etc.).
- Volunteering: Participate as often as possible in sport events (for example: marathons, open sea swimming events, etc.). This will help you gain more practical experience and meet more professionals in the sector.
- CV: Write a functional CV with the information easily accessible and a maximum of two pages. Avoid writing an overloaded CV with long paragraphs.
- Cover letter: Write a cover letter that attracts the attention of the recruiter. It must be original, short and make the recruiter want to interview you. Avoid long paragraphs and repeating information that is already in your CV.
- Keep up to date: Follow the evolution of the sports market at all levels (education, work, requirements, events, LinkedIn, etc.). Use “digital alerts” so that you receive the information periodically.
- Review of personal skills and abilities: Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and analyze to what extent they will be needed in the job you are looking for. Strengthen all those that are essential (for example: public speaking, ability to organize, ability to work in a team, ability to work under pressure, etc.).
- Road map: Make a mental outline of where you are, where you want to go and what steps you should take in order to get there. Maybe you have to further your education in a specific field, improve some of your skills or create new professional contacts. To help trace your own road map, you may find it useful to review the paths followed by other professionals in the field.
- Proactivity: By being proactive you create your own opportunities, and not sit and wait for them to come to you. Being proactive is a basic and fundamental skill to find work.
- Networking: Take advantage of all opportunities to meet professionals from the sports industry and to make yourself known, through workshops, seminars or sport events. Follow up on your new contacts through LinkedIn.
- Effort and perseverance: Do not get discouraged, establish routines and be constant. Day by day, you will learn a little more about the sports sector.
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Núria Juan has a degree in psychology and in education, a master’s degree in psychotherapy and psychology, and is currently working on her PhD thesis in educational psychology. Passionate in both disciplines, she is part of the academic team of the Johan Cruyff Institute and heads the Career Services & Internships department, supporting the professional education and experience of the students and alumni of the institute. Additionally, she is an associate professor at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Barcelona.