Overcome challenges when pivoting your career towards the sports industry

If your passion lies in sports, you may be considering turning that passion into a career at some point in your professional journey. Many people from various fields are drawn to the dynamic and exciting nature of the sports industry. However, transitioning into sport management or related roles can pose certain challenges, including a highly competitive job market. Still, don’t let these challenges deter you! In this article, we’ll discuss some of the common obstacles that people face when pivoting their career towards the sports industry and provide practical tips on how to overcome them. Whether you’re a former athlete, a business professional, a scientist, or coming from a different background, with the right approach and strategies, you can successfully navigate your new career path and achieve your goals.

Broad education and industry-specific knowledge

If you’re a sports fan, it’s probable you will be quite familiar with the sport terminology and culture, and up to speed with the developments and trends in your discipline(s) of interest. However, if you’re aiming for a managerial, organisational or administrative role, you will need broader education which includes the sociological, medical, legal, and organisational aspects of sport governance. Digitalisation and sustainability are also unavoidable topics in every industry today. A multidisciplinary educational program can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the sports industry, including its key trends, challenges, and opportunities, and properly equip you with the relevant knowledge for these roles. Industry recognition can also be important, so aim for a reputable institution and program, which can act as a valuable credential and demonstrate your expertise and commitment to the sports industry.

Relevant practical experience

Previous professional experience in a particular industry is often essential for showcasing your expertise and abilities to potential employers. However, if you’re transitioning into the sports industry from a different field, it’s important to identify your transferable skills – those skills and experiences from your past career that can be leveraged in a sports context. For instance, if you have a background in project management, entrepreneurship or marketing, you can utilise those skills in event management, or entrepreneurship and marketing in sport. To bolster your resume, try to gain relevant experience by pursuing internships or volunteer work, and taking on practical tasks and case studies in your educational program.

A female in a blue volunteering t-shirt. Volunteering can be a good way to gain relevant experience in a new professional area
Engage in internships or volunteering activities to gain relevant practical experience in your new career

Professional networks

Your networking capability is crucial to advance in any career, and especially when shifting industries. First, place yourself in the right environment, where things are happening for your field of interest. For sport-related roles, connect to sport organisations and academia, attend relevant sport events where you can get in touch with the organisers, and mobilise contacts in your network close to the field. Also, if you decide to pursue additional education in sports, look for programs that will provide access to a wide network of industry professionals, including its alumni, faculty members, guest speakers and partnering organisations. This network can be valuable in helping you to expand your knowledge of the industry, develop your professional skills and uncover the right job opportunities.

a group of young business people chatting in a cafe during a network event
To grow or pivot your career it’s important to keep active in networking activities

Career guidance

When transitioning to a new career, it’s crucial to have access to reliable career guidance. A top-tier educational program typically offers precisely this, by offering instruction on job search techniques tailored to the sports industry, providing expert recommendations, conducting thorough resume reviews, offering mock interviews, and hosting job fairs.

A female candidate shaking hands with an interviewer and smiling
Quality career guidance and support is invaluable when finding your way in a new professional area

So, if you’re considering entering the sports industry from another professional path, don’t let the challenges of the endeavour discourage you. Enrolling in a top-notch educational course, like a Master in Sport management or similar, or an internship or volunteering program, can prove a worthwhile investment for individuals who are looking to shift their career towards the sports industry. A well-structured program offered by a reputable organisation can provide you with specialized knowledge, practical skills, networking opportunities, industry recognition, and career guidance that can help you to succeed in your new career path.


The AISTS’ Master of Advanced Studies in Sport Management and Technology is designed to prepare the future leaders of international sport by providing a broad and multidisciplinary education in sports management. The program aims to equip students with cutting-edge knowledge and practical skills required to understand and address the challenges faced by sports organisations today. Situated in Lausanne, host to world-leading learning sport institutions, AISTS builds on this rich network, and especially thanks to its founding members, offers a programme taught by experienced and recognised sport experts and professors. The program also offers networking opportunities through its alumni network, site visits, guest speaker presentations, and the “Leadership and Career Development in Sports” module. Overall, the AISTS program provides a comprehensive education and support system for individuals seeking to develop their careers as leaders in the sports industry.

Experience the world of sport in the Olympic Capital

Participants attend several full-day workshops throughout the programme to experience sport. These sessions are delivered by the sport organisations and federations themselves and provide a unique hands-on experience and well as an ideal opportunity to connect to our alumni and experts working in the industry.