Getting a Job in the Sports Industry

Sports Conferences/Conventions and Job Fairs

There are a large number of sports conventions and conferences every year, which are a great resource for networking and obtaining more information about potential employers. Most associations listed previously have an annual conference and many offer additional conferences.


Networking is one of the best ways to find a job in sports. Make a list of all the people you know in industries you would like to work in. Inform these people of your interests and stay in close contact with them while keeping them updated on your job search. Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter are great networking sites that will provide further opportunities for personal connections. You must have an account with the corresponding networking sites to access the following links:

General Sport Employment Sites

Job Search Tip

As a general note, stay away from the major career service websites such as and These sites are good tools for research but a very difficult means to find a job in the sports industry. Most sport jobs are filled through networking, conferences, and industry associations. Very few jobs are filled through these "mega" sites and your resume will often be one of thousands that may or may not be reviewed by software or a low level employee.

Salaries within the Industry

The following stats on salaries are derived from a survey of more than 2,000 individuals within the recreation, sports, and fitness facility industry for 2012. Numbers have changed over the years and these are samples and should be evaluated as a frame of reference.

Tipping, Emily (2012, July). Money and Happiness: Our Fifth Annual Salary Survey. Recreation Management, 13(7), 36-43.

  • Location: Midwest (28.7%); West (20.6%); South Atlantic (18.8%); Northeast (17.8%); South Central (13.6%); Outside of the U.S. (0.5%)

    Type of organization: Parks and Recreation (37.8%); Colleges and Universities (19.2%); Schools and School Districts (10.5%); Campgrounds, RV Parks or Private/Youth Camps (5.7%); YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCS or Boys & Girls Clubs (5%); Sports, health or fitness clubs (3.6%); Golf/Country Clubs (2.7%); Military Installations (2%); Resorts and Resorts Hotels (1.7%); Water-parks and Theme/Amusement Parks (1.6%); Ice Rinks (0.6%); Corporate Recreation or Sports Centers (0.4%); Racquet or Tennis Clubs (0.3%)

    Job titles: Directors (36.1%); Administration/management — administrator, manager, or superintendent (20.6%); Operations/facility management — operations manager, facility manager, building manager, or supervisor (16.7%); Program and activity administration — program director, manager, coordinator, specialist, coach or instructor (10.7%); Chairmen, CEO, president, vice president (7.6%); Services (0.6%)

    Education: Bachelor’s degree (39.8%); Master’s degree (34.9%); Some college with no degree (11.9%); Associate’s degree (5.9%); Just a High School Diploma (3.8%); Ph.D. (3.7%)

  • Average salary of all surveyed: $65,000 (rise of 1.9% from 2011 — $63,800)

    Average Salary by Education

    • Advanced Degree/Ph.D. — $88,400
    • Master’s Degree/Postgraduate Work — $73,700
    • Four-Year College Degree (Bachelor’s) — $67,200
    • Two-Year College Degree (Associate’s) — $57,200
    • Some College (No Degree) — $56,700
    • High School Graduate — $48,000

    Average Salary by Industry

    • Golf/country clubs — $90,100 ($96,800 – 2011)
    • School/School District — $69,800 ($68,900)
    • Military Installation — $66,500 ($71,300)
    • Resort/Resort Hotel — $64,800 ($57,100)
    • Parks and Recreation — $64,600 ($65,000)
    • College/University — $63,600 ($61,500)
    • Health Clubs — $62,200 ($50,300)
    • YMCAs — $61,200 ($61,200)
    • Community/Private Rec/Sports Center — $ 60,000 ($56,200)
    • Camps — $56,200 ($60,400)

    Average Salary by Job Title

    • Chairman, CEO, President, VP, Owner — $86,500
    • Director — $76,100
    • Administration Management — $66,800
    • Operations/Facility Management — $52,000
    • Program & Activity Administration — $47,700


  1. Employers want to see significant accomplishments rather than just a list of job duties. Therefore, you must provide solid, but accurate illustrations of your talent. Providing specific examples may allow a potential employer to relate your work with potential needs within their company.
  2. Use certain "key words" in your resume so it stands out from the rest. Use words such as "directed," "business development," "sales," or "marketing" instead of the often overused phrases like "team player" and "good communication skills." This is especially important with online applications where computers are programmed to search for key terms/phrases.
  3. Don’t sell yourself short. When writing your resume, don’t be modest. If you have a consistent track record of beating your sales expectations then say that. Make sure you are as specific as possible. Provide statistical figures if they are applicable.

The Top Ten Skills Employers Are Typically Looking For

According to The National Association of Colleges and Employers:

  1. Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization
  2. Ability to work in a team structure
  3. Ability to make decisions and solve problems
  4. Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work
  5. Ability to obtain and process information
  6. Ability to analyze quantitative data
  7. Technical knowledge related to the job
  8. Proficiency with computer software programs
  9. Ability to create and/or edit written reports
  10. Ability to sell or influence others

Try and identify examples from your past experiences that exemplify these skills to your future employer.

Contact The Program Director

Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D.
Phone: (203) 479-4561

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