A career in sport is for many people a dream occupation. This encourages young people to undertake degrees and diplomas in sport administration, sport development, coaching, event management and similar disciplines.
However, getting started with your first job in the industry is not easy for two main reasons.
Firstly there are more people working in a voluntary (unpaid) capacity in the sport and recreation industry than any other industry. The effect of this is that when a paid job become available, there is often one or more experienced volunteers pushing for the job. Volunteers are of course usually known to the persons whose responsibility it is to make the selection.
Secondly, organisations that offer paid jobs often expect and want greater experience than the average university/TAFE graduate can offer. If you have just graduated from a sports administration degree or diploma, you might be looking for an assistant administrator position in which you could learn the ropes. However such positions are rare. Smaller organisations can generally only afford one administrator while larger sport organisations tend to have a CEO with a number of specialist positions directly beneath. These specialist are also hard to win unless you have a track record of note.
Don't despair! There are tactics that you can employ to get a good job in the sport and recreation industry soon after you graduate from university or TAFE.
The most important tactic is to start getting some real live experience while you are still studying. The majority of students pursuing sport industry jobs are connected with a local sport club or association. The very best thing you can do is to get yourself elected to the club/organisation management committee. This is not all that hard. It is usually the case that clubs find it very hard to get people to volunteer for the management committee. You will not get paid but you will gain some valuable experience to put down on your curriculum vitae and a reference for your portfolio.
Your time involvement on a management committee will prepare you well for an administration job. It will develop your communication skills and give you an excellent understanding of the day to day work of running a sport organisation.
Even if the organisation cannot offer you a job, other sport organisations will respect the fact that you have already served on a management committee.
You should also aim to get other industry accreditations while you are studying. For example, it is very useful to obtain a coaching and/or an officiating accreditation. Many clubs also have a bar and so it does not hurt to get a Responsible Service of Alcohol(RSA) accreditation. Very importantly, you should also ensure that you go through the "Working with Children" check and obtain a "Suitability Notice" (also referred to as a "Blue Card"). If you do not do this you will definitely have an impediment to working in a sport and recreation organisation.
Ensure your CV is well prepared and contains a concise summary of all the 'real work' that you have done in a voluntary capacity. Too often, students fail to record
Volunteering is a great way to develop the skills and knowledge needed to win a job in the sport and recreation industry. However, volunteers with little or no formal training tend to struggle once they cross over the great divide to a paid job. There are several key reasons:
Nevertheless, working in sport and recreation is a whole lot less dreary than many jobs. There are numerous benefits and perks. There is a degree of freedom in the way you work that is less commonly found in 9-5 office jobs. The work is very varies and involves meeting people all the time.
For volunteers, a key factor in getting a job in a sport organisation is to show that you have undertaken some specific education and training that has prepared you for the role. Sports administrators ideally need to know much of the information that is available on this site. However you will need to prove your knowledge with a certificate or accreditation. While the average volunteer may not wish to enter into a degree or diploma program, it is possible to attend short courses and/or study online at home.