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5 Reasons Why Athletes Make Great Employees

Kirk BaumannToday's post is written by Kirk Baumann (pictured), Director of Career Connections for SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) World Headquarters in Springfield, MO, an organization that brings together the top leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business. One of SIFE's visions is to become the leading source of effective, responsible business talent.  Many Fortune 500 companies have identified SIFE as a recruitment source for top talent. Kirk also works with students, alumni, and young professionals on career development. His blog, Campus to Career, is dedicated to job seekers of all kinds, with a particular focus on college students and preparation for their careers after graduation.

What sets you apart from the competition? How will your skills help an employer?

If you were an athlete in high school or college, you have several skills and attributes that would make a recruiter jump at the chance to hire you. But even if you weren't an athlete, you may have some of those traits and qualities that can help you in your job search and excel in the workforce.

Here are five that can help set you apart:

  1. Teamwork — From day one, you're working as part of a team. You know how functional and dysfunctional teams operate, so use this knowledge to your advantage. In the job search, reach out and help others. After you land the job, continue that spirit of teamwork in your duties.
  2. Leadership — As a member of a team, you may have the opportunity to serve as its leader or captain. This is your chance to work with senior leadership (or coaches), calling the right "plays" to succeed. Employers need people who will work with their bosses to achieve the organization's greater vision. Possessing the skills to call the play and function as part of a team can be mutually beneficial.
  3. Communication — Whether you're the captain or not, you must be a good communicator in sports and business. If you have a great idea, speak up. Ask questions even if they may seem stupid, because they could help the team function more efficiently and effectively. And in the job interview, always ask questions.
  4. Execution — Athletes work as a team, using leadership and communication to win. But that's just part of it. A great play requires flawless execution. This applies to both your job search and the time you spend working the job after you get it.
  5. Dedication — You'll never hear athletes complain about working an 8-to-5 job. In most cases, they're used to getting up early, running drills, and preparing for the big game. The dedication athletes possess carries over into the professional workplace. Winning the big game is their (and your) success.

If you've been a student athlete and you're a recent graduate, highlight these skills and attributes on your resume. You may not have had traditional employment experience, but you've had a full-time job: your role on the team. List this as experience, quantify the results, and show you're more than just a jock.

Recruiters and HR managers: What are your thoughts on hiring athletes?

Job seekers: What challenges are you facing in your job search? Let us know how we can help!


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