A candidate reviewing her sport management resume.

What should you include in a sport management resume?

Are you interested in entering the sport management industry? Or are you looking to apply to a new sport management role? Ensuring your sport management resume has the right information about your background could be the difference between scoring an interview and being on the cut list.

Curated Resume vs. Full CV

Before we start looking at the specific content sections we recommend for inclusion on your sport management resume, it’s important to consider whether to structure the document as a Curated Resume or a Full CV.

In the Canadian Sports Industry, the norm (and definitely the better option) is to go for a curated resume. Most employers spend only 10-30 seconds looking at an applicant’s resume before making a decision about whether to look deeper or put them aside. Therefore, curating your resume for the most relevant experience helps you put your best foot forward toward working in sports.

Note: If you are looking to apply for sports jobs abroad (specifically in the United Kingdom), you may want to have a full Curriculum Vitae (CV) at the ready. This may be preferred or even expected in other countries.

Chronological Resume vs. Skills-Based Resume

Another important consideration is whether to structure your resume chronologically or using a skills-based format. Chronological resumes list your various experience categories from most recent to least recent, whereas a skills-based resume organizes your experience into specific skill categories.

If you are currently working in the industry or have recent roles relating to the job you’re applying for, a chronological resume is definitely your better option. It’s what most employers expect to see and poses little risk of confusing them (which could yield a quick rejection).

On the other hand, if you’re looking to change careers into the sports industry and don’t have background experience that looks related (at least on the surface), a skills-based resume may be worth the risk. Pulling your related experience out into skill categories could help show an employer why they should take a chance on you, even if you would be an outside-the-box choice. Skills-based resumes can also be helpful for young professionals who are looking to break into the sports industry with little work experience.

Overall, this choice really depends on your background. If you feel like you look good when arranging your experience chronologically, stick with that. But, if you feel like the “why” you would perform well in the role is not coming through, maybe try a skills-based layout.

Want help making this decision? Take a look at our Services Page and see how we can help you land your next role in sports with a Resume Review or other services.

What Sections Should be in a Sport Management Resume?

Like the decision between a chronological and skills-based resume, what sections are best to include on your sport management resume depends on your background experience.

The No-Brainers: Work Experience and Education

You likely didn’t need to read this article to know that every resume should include both your background education and work experience. Any reviewer will expect to see these, so if you leave them off, they will question why (or think you don’t have any experience to show).

In terms of order, I usually suggest candidates ask themselves a few questions:

  1. What between my work experience and education is more impressive to the employer I’m targeting?
  2. What between my work experience and education is more relevant to the role I’m applying for?
  3. What between work and school am I doing currently (or have been doing most recently)?
  4. (If using 2 pages) What order or format allows for the most important information to be seen on the first page?

Your answers should help you decide which to put first. As stated above, employers tend to do a quick review of a resume first, and only go deeper if they like what they see. Therefore, if you have more impressive or related work experience, put that at the top. Alternatively, if your degree makes you stand out (or is an important requirement for the role) then put that first. As well, those currently in school should probably lead with education, so an employer won’t question why you currently don’t have a job. Finally, you may land on a resume format (more on that below) that allows you to present the best of both worlds up front.

Work Experience

Looking specifically at your work experience, you need to make a few decisions. First, what do you call this section? I tend to suggest candidates take into account their current career level when making this decision. If you’re a young professional just starting out, work experience or career experience makes the most sense. If you’re more senior in your role, you may want to call it professional experience or even a specific industry vertical (i.e. Sport Management Experience) if you are curating your included roles.

Next, you need to decide what of your past work experience to include. If you have a long career with lots of roles, you likely don’t need to put them all in. Remember to always keep your resume within 1-2 pages, anything more will likely be ignored by employers. Your first option is to just include your most recent roles (however many will fit your format and support your application). This is a safe option that tends to be the norm. However, it’s okay to break from this if you have specific experiences that better support your candidacy. As your career gets longer, you may have specific highlights that you want to draw upon. Just be aware that if your resume shows gaps, an employer may question them.

Finally, you need to decide how to structure each role of your included work experience. It’s expected you include your title, the company name, work location, and the dates you worked there. I also suggest including a short description of the role (1-3 sentences MAX) and bullet points (3-5) of your key accomplishments. Keep your accomplishments tightly worded and with measurable outcomes from your specific inputs.

Should you include volunteer experience in the work experience section on your resume?

Like many of the questions we’ve considered so far, this one also depends on your background experience. Usually, I suggest that candidates keep volunteer experience in a separate section from work experience (more on that below). However, I have seen candidates successfully integrate these experience categories. As long as you clearly label when a role was volunteering, you are safe to include it in with your paid work experience.


For education, I recommend including any post-secondary degrees you have earned, whether or not they are specifically related to the role you are applying to. Employers understand that not everyone knows exactly what they want to do when they start university or college, so having an unrelated degree is usually still better than having no degree at all.

If you are a young professional who hasn’t finished (or started) post-secondary education, it is okay to include your high school diploma on your resume. If you have finished a university degree or college diploma, then it’s likely time to take high school off your resume and use that space for something more recent or relevant.

The Wildcards: Volunteer Experience, Certification & Professional Development, Interests

With your main work experience and education sections set, we can now look at what supporting sections you can include. None of these sections are required or expected (in general), so the best guidance I can give you here is to take a look at your background and compare it to the job description. This should help you decide what is most relevant.

Volunteer Experience

Usually, a strong section to include – especially for those newer to the industry – is volunteer experience. If you’re interested in working in sports, chances are you’ve spent some time volunteering in the industry previously. Maybe you helped coach a sports team or organize a sports event. A lot of the skills developed through volunteering are relevant to many sport management roles. As well, sport industry employers understand the value of volunteers and appreciate when a candidate has taken the time to give back to their community.

Certification & Professional Development

Depending on the role you’re applying to, including relevant certification and/or professional development is a great option. If you’re applying to a non-profit organization like a Provincial or National Sport Governing Body, they may appreciate that you have related NCCP certification or have taken NCCP courses. This is especially relevant if you are applying to a role in sport development or program planning (as many of these roles work directly with coaches).

An employer may also see value in your commitment to bettering yourself and your sports industry experience through professional development. There are many free or inexpensive courses available online through the CAC and other deliverers that could sport organizations see your interest in and dedication to the industry.


A popular choice on many resumes is a short list of interests. To me, this section is always a toss-up. Some employers say this is the first thing they look at, as it is a way that candidates stand out among all the cookie-cutter experience sets they see. You could also luck out if you have a shared interest with a hiring manager. This makes for a great conversation starter. However, other employers may ignore this section entirely. All in all, I would say save the real estate for something more role-related, unless you have already included everything relevant or have some unique interests that are worth including.

Don’t Forget: Your Name, Contact Information

It seems silly to even mention this, but make sure you have both your name and contact information on your resume. Where these go will often be dictated by the format template you choose. For your name, if you have a different preferred name to your legal name, you may want to include both with your preferred name in brackets. I’d also recommend ensuring your name is displayed the same on your resume as on your LinkedIn profile.

For contact information, obviously include your email and phone number. It is also the norm to include your city of residence or location (full address is not needed). If you’re applying to a job in a different city, I suggest putting the words “will relocate” in brackets after the city name. Assuming you have a LinkedIn profile (get one if you don’t), also include that in your contact information section so employers can learn more about you.

Don’t Include: Your Picture, Contact Information for References, Skill Metric Bars

Yes, you heard me, do not include your picture on your resume when applying to the sports industry in Canada. Even though many popular resume templates include a photo, it isn’t worth the risk. Many employers have a policy that their initial candidate screening process cannot be based on discriminatory factors. Often this means that if a photo is included, they are required to put that resume aside. You aren’t applying to a modeling job, so your appearance should be much less relevant than your experience.

I also recommend candidates remove a section that lists references with contact information. While it isn’t going to land you instantly in the rejection pile (like a photo), employers don’t expect you to provide this in an initial application (unless they specifically request it). You should want to wait until the point in the interview process where references are requested anyway, so you can give your references a heads-up that they will be contacted soon. I don’t even recommend having the line “references available upon request” anymore (as this is obvious). But, if you prefer to keep that, I wouldn’t object.

One thing I see often in pre-built resume templates is a section where skills are charted in little metric bars (similar to a character’s stats in a video game). Don’t include these, they give employers no evidence to back up your claims and require you to highlight at least some self-rated deficiencies so you don’t appear to rate yourself perfectly across the board.

Choosing a Sport Management Resume Format

While this article is focused on sport management resume content, choosing a great format for your resume is also important. Oftentimes, your resume is your first impression with a potential employer, so ensure it looks professional and helps you sell your candidacy.

In terms of how “designed” a sport management resume should look, this depends on your own level of design skills and the role you’re applying for. If you’re looking at a sport marketing role, having a well-designed template from Canva or Adobe Illustrator may be your best bet. Be careful though, as an employer will likely assume you could create similarly designed documents when you’re in the role. If the role doesn’t involve any marketing or design responsibilities, I recommend choosing a template you feel comfortable updating that prioritizes looking “clean” and professional.

This again seems a bit silly to mention, but submitting your resume in a static format is important. PDF is the industry standard, so there is no reason to diverge from that.

In terms of layout, again this choice is up to you and your design comfort level. I’ve recently become more fond of resumes with a sidebar, as I think it allows for better section distribution. But, I see beautiful resumes all the time that use a single-column format as well. Play around with templates until you find one you like.

Should You Customize Your Resume For Every Application?

Short answer: Yes. While I don’t suggest customizing a resume as much as a cover letter for every new application, I believe making some light changes each time can help you achieve success.

Usually, the places you should customize are your supporting sections (i.e. volunteer experience, professional development). As these sections tend to be smaller and usually aren’t a reverse-chronological list, I recommend having a larger list for each at hand and pulling forward the most relevant ones to your resume. As well, while your role descriptions shouldn’t change, you can update the listed accomplishments for each of your work experiences to better align with what the employer is looking for (assuming you have other relevant accomplishments you can use).

Overall, your process here should be to review the listed job description and pull out any key lines they are looking for in terms of responsibilities or candidate competencies/qualities. Then, if you have experiences or accomplishments that support you as the right fit, ensure they make it onto your resume. Finally, if there are specific requirements in the job description that you have (related degrees, certifications, etc.) make sure you reserve the room to include them.


If you take into account the tips above, you should be able to improve your resume and feel better about applying to sport management roles. That being said, your resume is just the way you present your experience, so if you lack the background required for a role, you may want to focus on building up your resume rather than redesigning it.

As well, your resume isn’t the only thing you need to put together a great sport management job application. Check back soon for our guide to writing stand-out sport management cover letters and other great content to help you find and sign a sports job in Canada.

Want to know how your resume looks to someone in the industry? We offer Resume Review services completed by Canadian sports industry professionals. Take a look at our Services Page and request a review prior to your next application. Ready to apply? Check out our Canadian Sports Industry Job Board and find your next opportunity in sports.

Career Resources, Resume, Sport Management