Shooting hoops in basketball. Tackling in football. Home runs in baseball. Spiking in volleyball, slap shots in hockey. Hurdles in track, putting in golf, dribbling in soccer, and the backstroke in swimming all have a few things in common.
Those things include working as a team, having competitive drive, and the ability to take initiative.
Those things are also great skills to have in other areas of life, including your career. While you’re looking for a job, it’s necessary to convince your prospective employer that you’ll be able to do the job you’re asking for better than anyone else who wants that job.
5 Ways Being Athletic Accelerates Your Success
For those who have a background in sports in high school, college, or otherwise. You can utilize that experience to help make yourself a better candidate in your job search.
Here are 5 ways that having experience as an athlete often accelerates your success:
1. Natural Team Player
When you play a sport you have to learn to work as a team.
Even if the sport you are playing is a singular person game, you’re still a part of a team of peers in one way or another. This is an example of one way that a skill you’ve gained while playing sports can aid you in your job search.
Not only will you have this skill, but you’ll be able to showcase it on a resume and in an interview; along with proof to back up your claim.
Many people add that they work well in groups, that they are a team player, or that they are a natural leader. However those who have a background in sports can show those skills by including their sport on their resume.
It’s important to be a good team player at work because many companies rely on teamwork for their business to run smoothly.
Many projects are one-man operations, sure, but being reliable in a team environment shows that you are not only concerned with yourself, but also the company as a whole.
2. The Ability to Handle Failure
Losing is hard for everyone, but it takes on a whole different meaning for those who have played sports.
It can be argued that those who play sports have a more competitive nature than others. Therefore failure is harder on them. Although it can also show that they have more experience with that type of failure than others.
For those who have played sports, they understand that losing is as much a learning experience as winning is. Coaches discuss what can be done better, what went wrong, how to make up for weaknesses, and what went well that can compensate for the weaknesses the team has.
It’s all a learning experience and it’s a useful way to look at losing.
Businesses fluctuate frequently and for those that take risks. Sometimes the results are unfavorable. Whether it’s losing a sale or trying a different advertising angle. Creating an unsatisfactory product, or implementing a system that doesn’t work, failures happen.
Big risks usually mean big rewards or big failures and many businesses value employees who know how to dust themselves off if they experience failure.
3. Competitive Drive
For sales positions, especially, employers love an employee with competitive drive. What better to prove that you know what it takes to compete and to win than to include your sports background on your resume or during your interview?
A competitive drive doesn’t just mean an ability to beat your opponent, but also to be better and work harder. Even if the person you’re beating is yourself, always striving to be better.
Businesses just want a valued employee who will do their best and provide great work for their company.
Those with a sports background, whether it was super successful or not, can prove to that employer that they understand how important it is to do their best.
They spent time pushing themselves to be their best in the same way that a valedictorian or high-ranking professional can: with tangible proof in experience.
Football players are prone to many injuries but push their bodies to the max for the sport that they love.
Basketball players risk their legs. Baseball players risk their shoulders. Hockey players risk their teeth, and soccer players risk their shins. But it’s all done for a sport they love and a need to do their best.
The amount of drive it takes to succeed at extracurricular activities as students is not overlooked by employers. It shows how competitive and hardworking a person is by looking at their background in sports.
4. Taking Initiative
Athletes are hardworking and focused individuals.
Sometimes practice is at 5 A.M, sometimes you have to study on the bus between away games, and sometimes you sacrifice time with your friends in order to train for a few extra hours on a weekend.
Many athletes go above and beyond for their sport, which shows employers what you’re willing to do for something that’s important to you.
For those who have played sports, they take direction well and show initiative because it’s what is expected of them in a sports environment. They know they have to train, eat well, work hard, and focus in order to succeed in their sport.
They also know that any lack of training or hard work will stick out like a sore thumb and their coach will step in if they don’t take initiative themselves.
In a work setting, initiative is important because it’s important to be a self-starter, to stay motivated, go above what’s expected, and to do your work without the aid of another.
Having an employee who values these aspects of their job means more work is being done without asking – that they can trust that employee to make decisions and do what needs to be done.
Employees like this are highly valuable and tend to be promoted into higher positions if they are showing they understand what is important and take the initiative, take on a leadership role, and be independent.
5. A Connection to Others
Applying for a job is not only about showing how qualified you are. It’s also about proving to a prospective employer that you’ll be able to make friendly relationships with co-workers.
As qualified and great for the job a person is, doesn’t mean much if they are toxic to the other hardworking people around them. So employers also look for someone who is personable and good to work around.
Competing in sports means working around teammates, meeting players from other teams and travelling to different places. All of which help your ability to communicate with others who are above you. As well as your equals, and those who you are competing against.
Being interested in sports has always been a way for communities to unite. Utilizing your sports knowledge is a great way to connect with the person you’re interviewing with.
Perhaps they have a favorite sport, favorite team, or their child is playing a sport. It’s a great way to connect with the person interviewing you. And to let them see the personable side to you, not just the professional side.
In an interview setting that can cause nerves and feel very professional, sports discussions can be a great way to break the ice.
Having a sports background is not the only way to relay your teamwork. Your ability to handle failure, drive, initiative, and welcoming personality to an employer. However, it is one way to use your background in sports to aid in your job search.
The skills you obtain while playing a sport are not limited to shooting a free throw or catching a ball. You also learn many other valuable life skills that translate into a career.
By understanding how those skills relate to your career, you’ll make yourself a more valuable and sought after employee by prospective employers.