Many students looking for internships, whether it is for school credit or just for work experience, are many times ill equipped in not only procuring an internship but being successful at being an intern. There are five crucial skills that one needs in order to be successful in any internship/job they are in, especially in a sport marketing field. These five skills are communication, knowledge of Microsoft Office, knowledge of how to blend into different situations you are put in, customer service / sales support, and understanding principles. The mastery of these skills can be the difference between you being offered a job at the end of your internship, making great contacts for future jobs or not being successful in this field.
The first skill and arguable the most important one is communication. This skill includes both written (letters, reports, and E-mails) and verbal (presentations and everyday interactions). Written communication is extremely important because it shows how well you can convey your ideas to clients and your bosses if physical interaction is unavailable. A well written letter or E-mail will get more attention and respect if proper grammar and terminology is used. Oral Communication is just as important if not more so in the work/internship environment. Interpersonal oral communication skills are often the most prized by employers in the sport marketing world. Many employees are constantly in meetings and giving presentations to clients that could put millions of dollars into a marketing idea/plan. If the "salesman" does not have the adequate oral skills needed to close the deal then your company could lose clients as well as large amounts of revenue. In today's world you must remain cool under pressure and be able to think on your feet, because you never know when you will be called upon to prepare a presentation on short notice.
The second skill that should be mastered for an internship in sport marketing is being proficient in the use of Microsoft Office. This includes Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Mastering these three software programs can send you to the forefront of the interns in the office. Every day of an internship one will be called upon to use one of these programs for various activities, such as creating a database of people that attended a conference or some other event. Knowing how to use an Excel spreadsheet can make this database easy to create as well as make information easy to find if your boss asks for specifics. The Microsoft Word program comes in handy when asked to create an office memo or to create a flyer for an upcoming event. The last and most important program one should master in the sport marketing world is PowerPoint. PowerPoint is most widely used to give presentations. Once you master PowerPoint your presentations will be easy to follow and a well done presentation will impress any prospective client.
The third skill that will help be a successful intern is to do your best to blend in. Working not only independently but as a team with other interns to plan and implement a particular marketing plan will go a long way towards understanding the ins and outs of the sports marketing world while blending in with others in the company.
Another important characteristic/ skill one needs to be an effective intern in this field is to have exceptional customer service and support to individual customers. No matter who you are meeting or talking to, it is very important to show you are professional and have the expertise to convey to anyone you may come in contact with. A good way of doing this is giving them your personal cell phone number so they can reach you day or night for assistance.
The final skill is understanding principles. You must learn the core principles that drive the senior staff in the marketing and management side of the business. If you understand the principles, coming up with the right decision, having the right opinion, then developing the right approach will be easy. To understand what the principles are simply look at what choices are being made, what approaches are being taken, and ask yourself what is the underlying belief or principles that are the driving force. An example: Let's say I always put my seat belt on in the car. What is the principle I have that drives it, "driving is dangerous", or "tickets for not wearing a seatbelt are costly", or "my family would be devastated if I died in an accident". These are three very different beliefs with three different motivations. If you learned which belief it was that motivates that person then you would know exactly what advice to give if you were asked your opinion. The core beliefs behind the example are more important in the interning environment. If you believe you should wear your seatbelt because "tickets for not wearing seat belts are costly" then the core belief might be "never waste money". Put simply, principles drive decisions.
In order to be a successful intern in the sport marketing world the mastery of communication skills, Microsoft Office, being able to blend in, having good customer service and sales support skills, and understanding principles is necessary. If these five skills/characteristics are mastered there is no doubt that you will make a lasting, positive, impression on your bosses and a possible job offer on the table. At the very least you will gain valuable work experience in the sport marketing industry with great contacts and positive recommendations that can open doors to other ventures you may want to pursue.