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Career Options in Sport & Recreation: Student

University offers tons of sporting action, allowing you to follow your interests and even put in the groundwork for a career in sport and recreation when you leave behind the team initiations (grim…), hard training and all other sporting shenanigans. What should you be doing as an undergraduate if you want to turn your love of a sport, or all sports, into your living?

Undergraduate opportunities in sport & recreation

- Sports scholarships

- University teams and societies

- Work experience

- Internships

- Graduate job applications

Of course, the types of experience you’ll need to gather during university are going to vary considerably depending on the career path you want to follow in this sector.

If you’re looking to develop a career on the playing sport or coaching sport side of things, it’s probably not going to be one of the biggest shocks going that it’s a good idea to sign up for a university sports team. As well as expanding your knowledge and skills in your chosen sport, you’ll be able to pick up experience in the organisational and managerial elements involved in organised sport at amateur or semi-professional levels. If you step it up a notch and become a member of your team’s committee, you’ll get even more of an insight into this. Why not step outside of the university bubble and get involved with a team in your local area too? This could be an advantage if you plan to apply for jobs focusing on sport in the community.

 If you’re a sports scholarship recipient, you will also be able to take advantage of the support network at the university for elite training for your sport and national or international competitions to build up your sporting career.

If you’re an engineering student interested in the highly competitive world of motorsport, it’s smart to get involved with any national competitions in this area that your university might be a part of, and to apply for summer work experience opportunities. Not an easy thing to do, but work experience will be essential to get into this industry!

If sports journalism is your dream, then you need to spend plenty of your free time becoming a mega-nerd on all things sport, engaging with sports coverage across various media platforms and getting experience where you can too. You could write for the student newspaper covering sports news there, set up your own blog, and apply for internships with websites, broadcasters, radio stations, magazines or local or national newspapers, to develop a portfolio and learn about how to report on sport. Again, this is a really competitive area to get into, so the more experience you can gain, the better.

If talent management and PR is more your kind of thing then, yet again, you’ll have your work cut out to get into the business. Again, involvement in sports reporting for the student newspaper or radio could be of some use here to start building up knowledge of media and sport in general. Internships are hard to come by, but there are some out there in areas like sports operations at agencies. There’s no harm in sending out some well-crafted speculative applications to agencies who represent sports professionals either – you never know what opportunities may crop unless you give it a try. Sport development officer roles also fall partly into a marketing remit, so you might want to consider shadowing someone in this role to get a further insight into how the industry works.

Aspiring physiotherapists, sports therapists and sports science researchers studying relevant degree subjects will also be able to take advantage of internship opportunities with universities, research bodies, sports clubs and medical centres.

Top tips

If you want a career in sport and recreation, you’re going to have to be shrewd, dedicated and realistic in the way you go about it. Work hard at networking on any internship, shadowing or work experience you do – who you know could still give you a foot in the door in this game!

Deadlines to consider

You will usually be able to apply for internships and work experience in areas like journalism and marketing at any point throughout your time at university, so start to apply as early as you can.

Be aware that you’ll have to give yourself enough time to apply for any summer internship opportunities, so check out your options at the beginning of the university year and don’t miss out!

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