Four Things You Did As an Athlete That You Can Do in Your Career

Four Things You Did As an Athlete That You Can Do in Your Career

Meshanda King

You found success playing sports throughout your college career. Your work in sports taught you a lot.

However, once you cross that stage and receive your diploma, you face the toughest play in your life -- joining the workforce.

Let’s say you want to find work in sports business. This is especially difficult because niche industries like sports have less opportunities and more competition. Fortunately, you can apply your skills and athletic experience you gained in college to your job search and your career.

Let’s take a look at how you can use your experiences as a college athlete to manage a successful sports career:

Studied Game Footage

Sports teams gather after games to review videos and study their opponents’ strategies. They also look for what they did right and what plays can be improved upon.

This kind of research is equally crucial when you’re managing your career. Dig deep when you’re looking for potential employers. Learn about what they stand for and what kind of talent they hire.

My company, JobsInSports, conducted a survey to better understand how niche industry employers evaluate their candidates. Our research found that 17 percent of employers say the most important aspect of their company they want candidates to understand is their core values. Other aspects they want candidates to know about are the company’s vision, their products and services, and their mission statement.

Start researching companies you want to work for. Begin on their own website, then visit their Glassdoor company page to get more insights. Employee reviews give you a more personal look at what it’s like to work there.

Identify how you specifically align with companies of interest. LinkedIn company pages can give you more information about their culture. This helps you better understand your industry and focus on finding work with employers that are meaningful to you.

Became a Self-Leader

Athletes need a personal leadership capability to push themselves to train and get better. In your career, you must guide and manage yourself when you set goals and seek growth opportunities.

There are several benefits to developing self-leadership. In fact, a June 2016 study published in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies looked at self-leadership. The term is defined as one’s ability to lead themselves to overcome obstacles to reach goals.

The research found that employees who lead themselves behaviorally, mentally, and emotionally will be harder workers, more persistent, and experience more job satisfaction.

Companies like Buffer, a social media software company, encourage their employees to become independent thinkers and self-leaders. They found that accountability motivates their employees more.

Just as athletes do with their training, give yourself a short-term action plan. Determine what strengths you want to build and what specific career path you want to follow.

Earned Positions You Deserve

Athletes know how to strike up agreements. For example, if you’re a pitcher who gets in a bind, you may have to negotiate with your coach to convince him you’re able to stay in the game.

You can apply negotiation tactics to help you earn a higher salary when you start a new job or to earn more responsibility in your current role.

Let’s say you work in sports business at a talent agency. Your team starts to sign several new clients, and you know you earned the right to represent higher profile athletes.

Address leadership privately, with a respectful, assertive tone. Then, explain how you’ve proven your skills and insist you’re prepared to work with bigger clients. Leadership will respect your enthusiasm and should be open to making changes.

Built on Your Strengths

Individuals in an athletic career found what they’re strong at and pursued a position that was right for them. They didn’t try to force an unnatural fit. For example, a big lineman would never succeed as a wide receiver.

Similarly, you’re going to face a time when you need to weigh career options and decide on what role best fits you and your career path.

If you decide you want to pursue a facet of business that isn’t client-facing, perhaps work in sports event management aligns with your skills and would be a better fit for your personality and strengths. Follow your strengths and you’re bound to find success.

Athletes earn more than just glory from their work in sports. They develop several unique skills and learn strategies they can apply to life off the field.

How are you using your experiences as an athlete to manage a successful career in the workforce?

Meshanda King is the Digital Marketing Coordinator of JobsInSports, the one place with all the tools, statistics, and information needed to connect job seekers with employers for sports employment openings at all levels. Follow JobsInSports on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Career Topics