To get things started I want to point out that I do not think I am an expert or that my resume would blow everyone else's out of the water. Trust me, I have friends who have had incredible opportunities that I am so jealous of! With that said though, I have more people than you would believe ask me how I got all of my jobs, internships, volunteering opportunities, etc. and how they can get them. It's simple, just go for it!
My experience has included working for a MINK League baseball team, the university conference office, a D-1 NCAA athletic department, three conferences, two case study competitions, three extended networking trips, multiple day trips/tours to venues and sport organizations, volunteering with anything from Special Olympics to Susan G. Komen for the Cure to toy drives for hospitals, and leading student organizations. This isn't a blog post to spotlight what I've done, it's a post to spotlight what YOU could do & how I've gotten all of the opportunities I've had. You have to keep in mind too though that even though all of the above seems applicable to the sports and events industries, I've had jobs just to make money too (doctor's office receptionist.. data entry.. retail..). We're in college, we have to do what we have to do right? Students loans and groceries don't pay for themselves!
Don't sit and expect things to just fall in your lap, that's not how gaining experience works. That's not really how anything works (unless you're one of those lucky ones who I wish I could be more like some day!) - I've gotten the chances I've gotten by just going for it. If you see the opportunity try to figure out how you can participate. Apply for the job, ask to job shadow, volunteer for events, join student organizations, whatever opportunity you see, do it! The worst you can be told is no, or, my personal favorite, receive no response.
Ask for help! - If you are anything like me you may view asking for help as bothering people or being needy, but that isn't necessarily true. If I've learned anything, it's that if someone doesn't want to help you they won't. Asking isn't hurting anything, but you do need to be considerate of people's time and, please, do not ask basically a stranger to get you a job. Again, this is not how this works! -- I got past my "oh I'm bothering people by asking for help or advice" when I started getting involved with student organizations. I had to be the initiator when I scheduled networking trips or asked about internship information for members. Sure, there were times when I didn't get a response or got a somewhat rude reply, but for every one of those I also got one (or more!) very supportive, helpful responses. I say ask for help because having a mentor or getting other people's point of view can help more than you know. The more you share your interests with people, the better chance there is that those people will tell others.. and then others.. and then others.. and an opportunity may come out of that, or you may apply to a job and someone may say "oh Mr. Jones told me he met her a month ago at an event." Which could lead to an unplanned recommendation or, if you aren't careful, could be a bad thing as well. Isn't networking awesome? Just a quick example, i once shared with a professor that i would like to learn more about venue operations and what that looks like on the day of a game. He emailed me a week later and said that a director of operations at Mizzou Arena would be open to students job shadowing and volunteering with them during a basketball game. Sometimes it is as easy as that!
A couple do's and do not's that go along with asking for help:
Be the last to leave, help before, during, and after the event, keep in contact, tell them you'd like to help again, ask questions while you're there, have a positive attitude, I could go on. Be excited to be there and put fourth your best effort. Leave a good impression and do your best, that's how to make the most of the opportunities you get!
Leave your thoughts or questions below!
I'd love to help or talk more about the topic!