Get Fit for a Career in the Sporting Goods Industry
Photo supplied by ISPO
The Canadian sporting goods industry is a growth industry. It is made up of over 9,800 businesses producing annually in excess of $15B at retail.
What career options do I have in the sporting goods industry?
The industry continually requires an increasingly diverse group of professionals to successfully fill the wide range of jobs available.
People that are interested in sports and healthy living find it very exciting and rewarding to work with sports products. This is the sporting goods industry versus sports business. This includes product brand companies like Nike and Adidas, wholesale distributors, agencies, and retailers that sell and market sport specific products.
How does someone break into the sporting goods industry?
Although there are many different routes to obtaining a position in the sports industry one ingredient remains critical; interpersonal skills and industry contacts.
You need to build up your resume by doing project work or internships. Be willing to work for free to get experience. Try to set up informational interviews and let people know that you are interested in getting into the industry and are willing to work for free. After 6 months of work experience in the industry, you’ll be in a much better position to get paid entry-level work, will have made valuable industry contacts and gained a working knowledge of the industry.
People need to know you so get out there and have informational interviews. Simply sending out a bunch of resumes to people who don’t know who you are won’t work.
Are there internships available? Where? How do you get them?
Yes, many sporting good industry companies have internships/co-ops in addition to contract positions. Internship programs are ultra-competitive so again, try to build your contacts and meet people before you apply/reach out.
What education/certifications/background is needed and/or most useful?
These days you’ll need at least a related post-secondary diploma/degree to get in the door. Additionally, specific courses in Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Analytics & Conversion Rate Optimization very beneficial. Retail selling experience is also a big plus.
Are there certain qualifications that help separate the best from the rest?
Be knowledgeable about sporting goods industry trends, insights, future direction.
Be an active participant, involved in your community.
Bilingualism (English & French) is a big asset!
Beyond that it’s more about who you know and being willing to work for free to get your foot in the door. If you’re good, people will figure it out quickly and want to keep you.