Fastest Track to Sports PR Jobs: Internships and Experience

Several regular readers have inquired about sports PR careers, so this week’s Culpwrit will carry three consecutive guest posts–the first by Christy Hammond, a senior at the University of Michigan, a sports blogger and an intern with the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. 

The posts appearing tomorrow and Wednesday are by Chris McKinney, a 20-year sports veteran who is president and publisher of Sports Career News

From the soon-to-graduate perspective of Christy, to the job search advice of Chris, you will get a good idea of what it takes to land a job in sports PR.  Christy is first up.

For the past two seasons, Christy has been interning for the Detroit Red Wings hockey team.  She also hosts an informative blog, Sports PR Blog, an impressive undertaking for a full-time student and intern.  Here’s Christy’s top five recommendations for students who want to pursue sports PR jobs:


•    The most important thing you can do in college if you want to work in sports PR is get experience. The people making the hiring decisions don’t really care about your GPA; they look to see what experience you have. It’s also not good enough to just get an internship in the summer. You need to intern year-round.
•    Individuals who have recently graduated and gotten jobs in sports PR typically have done multiple internships where they had different responsibilities. By working for your college’s athletic department, you will get a ton of hands on experience. If you intern for a professional sports team or league, it will likely be equally valuable but more because of the networking opportunities, the observations you made, and the fact that it makes your resume stand out.
•    You don’t have to be a PR major, but try to take at least some courses that will help you better understand the industry. I chose to double major in Sport Management and Communication Studies because it allows me to take a variety of sport classes ranging from Sport Law to Economics to Marketing, but I also get to take classes that cater to media.
•    Your extracurricular activities are a chance to strengthen your PR skills while giving you an opportunity to show that you are diverse and can do more than just sports. Working with a non-profit will also give you an advantage if you’re interested in community relations for a sports team, which is usually under the PR umbrella or works closely with the PR department. You can also join your school’s PRSSA or IABC chapter.
•    Read Sports Business Journal and PR Week to keep on top of the industry trends. A lot of college students hoping to get into sports PR tend to be obsessed with sports and know their sports news, but not so many consistently read SBJ and PR Week.

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