On the Value of Experience…
The following was written by Matt Lynch, Assistant Director of Media Relations at Boston College and posted with his permission.
I was asked by my friends at Ohio University to comment on the value of experience when looking for a job in college athletics. Since this is the season that Spring graduates are looking for jobs, I thought this was a good topic to present and I feel it cannot be stressed enough to students. Now that I am in a position where I look at resumes of those trying to get jobs and/or internships, I have realized that many students do not set themselves up to be successful after they graduate. There are a lot of different ways to “break in” to college sports and one way is not any better than another, however one thing is constant; you must get experience in an athletic department! Merely having a degree in sport management, journalism, communications, or business is not enough anymore if you want to work in college sports.
I had the opportunity to work in the athletics communications office at Springfield College as an undergrad for three and a half years. My experience there provided me with the many tools I needed to gain a job upon graduation. Not only that, I was fortunate enough to intern for a semester at the University of Massachusetts to gain some valuable knowledge of how media relations works at a Division I level. After graduation, I spent a year as an intern at Syracuse University. A year long full-time internship is common in the field, so don’t let that scare you as get close to graduation. At Syracuse, I experienced what a big-time college atmosphere is like and put my previous experiences into practice. Finally, I parlayed that into my first full-time job at the University of Maryland.
Through my journey I have learned that nothing is more valuable than experience. Employers want someone who can step right in and take charge immediately so that a seamless transition can be made for everyone (office staff, coaches, student-athletes, other departments on campus). My advice is to OFFER your time and gain experience that will help you land your first job. You must be proactive and reach out to staff and coaches. They are very busy and will not know you are interested in helping them unless YOU approach THEM. Intercollegiate athletics is a time-consuming profession but when you make a difference in a student’s life, no matter how small, it is well worth it. Not to mention, you get a free pass to watch all the great games you want!
I hope I have reinforced what you have already heard from your professors, but the value of experience cannot be emphasized enough.
Springfield College (D3 in Massachusetts) – athletic communications assistant
UMass – media relations intern
Syracuse – athletic communications assistant/intern
Maryland – assistant director of media relations
Boston College – assistant director of media relations
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