You never miss a game, have been playing sport since you were able to grasp a bat, and your idea of news is the sports app on your phone. Dream career: to work with an elite sports team.So what does it take to land a job in one of the most competitive industries in the world?
We talked to someone who has collaborated with several professional teams to give you the best advice on how to get your foot in the door to the world of competitive sport.
Here are 5 tips from our Deputy Dean of Exercise Science, Dr Sean Müller. His research has seen him work with the Australian Test Cricket team, Carlton Football Club, Western Force, and Kookaburras just to mention a few, and he’s now heading up the new partnership between Murdoch University and the WACA (Impressed? We were).
1. Walk the walkYou’ve probably heard it before, but it can’t emphasised enough – any work integrated learning opportunities as part of your degree, or as an extra pursuit, are going to boost your skill set and make you more confident. “Experience with a relevant degree qualified staff member at a sports team or organisation is vital.” says Sean. “For example, Robert Chipchase, a former Murdoch University Exercise Science student, who completed his practicum with the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA), is now employed as one of their strength and conditioning coordinators”. For more information about work integrated learning opportunities you can be involved in, ask your lecturer or tutor and check in with the Work Integrated Learning team so they can assist you with finding a placement.
2. Hit your grades out of the parkWhile there’s a mixed consensus on whether or not good grades at high school and uni are that important, in an industry that’s so competitive, you need to make yourself stand out. This means demonstrating your strong knowledge base in Exercise Science as a starting point. Sean also recommends striving to complete a postgraduate degree to maximise your chances, “Very good undergraduate grades will give you the option to continue on to achieve a strong Honours or Masters research thesis in a sub-discipline of Exercise Science.”
3. Demonstrate your passionWhile strong grades will set you up for success, elite sports teams are looking for well-rounded people who are passionate about sport. You’ll need to be pretty driven to succeed in the industry and being able to communicate your dedication is really important. “Personal qualities that demonstrate you are passionate, enthusiastic, dedicated, persistent, and patient are going to let sports teams know that you’ve got the drive to succeed in the hectic and high stakes sport industry.” says Sean. Any involvement with local sports teams, leadership roles and volunteering are good places to start.
4. Be prepared to moveBecause positions in the sports industry can be hard to come by, it’s a good idea to broaden your thinking when it’s time to apply for jobs. Sean recommends keeping an open mind when it comes to location, “Be prepared to move interstate or overseas for further study, or to work with a team or organisation. There are more chances on offer if you broaden your scope.”
An added bonus of moving for work? You’ll get to travel and tick off some of those holiday destinations at the same time.
5. Network, network, networkLike a lot of industries, employment in elite sports is about both what you know and who you know. Not only can making strong relationships with your lecturers and tutors at uni strengthen academic performance, it’ll put you in touch with people in the industry who will hear about job opportunities first. “Maintain good relationships with Exercise Science staff – they often have links with sports teams and organisations.” says Sean. By building good relationships with your lecturers and tutors, you’ll have industry related people on your side who you can ask to give you a reference for any job application.
Interested in learning from pros like Sean? Find out more about studying Sport and Exercise Science at Murdoch.