Internships are necessary for pursuing sports-related professions. Sports organizations do not often hire applicants who only offer a degree — that degree must be paired with work experience.
While some sports professions require a different background, most professions in sports require applicants to have one five degrees that BYU offers — marketing, news media, advertising, public relations or business management.
Public relations and advertising are the only of these majors that require internships. Marketing majors are “strongly recommended” to complete an internship, but it is not necessary to graduate. The new communications sports media emphasis does not require an internship, but instructors will direct you to do so. Students majoring in business management are neither required nor necessarily recommended to do an internship according to the BYU majors catalog — but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.
Though it’s not made mandatory by each of these majors, internships are vital to starting a career in sports. Not only that, but working multiple internships is often just as vital, and settling for one likely won’t be enough. Professional teams in the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB and MLS are looking to hire people that have three or more years of experience in the industry, but it’s rare to find a single internship that runs that long. Getting experience as soon as possible — as a freshman if possible — and working as many jobs as time permits will offer the greatest chances of success.
Internships in sports should align with your post-graduation aspirations. For a career in sports marketing, do sports marketing internships. If you want to work as a communications coordinator for a professional sports team, get an internship with an athletic communications office. Working as an intern just for the sake of putting another job heading on your resume will not help you in the long run because the specific experience gained with an internship is imperative.
Searching for job listings in your desired field is helpful when deciding what type of internships you want to apply for. This will give you background on what skills you need to acquire before graduation and will also help you with choosing what career path you desire to pursue.
It’s important to know that getting a job in the sports industry is not easy, especially if you are looking to work for a professional sports team. In many cases, the people that get jobs in this profession are the ones who are willing to stick with it for a long period of time. Landing a job as soon as you complete your undergraduate degree is not as likely as most majors, but internship experience will be the difference-maker.