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Student-Athletes: How to Sell Your Athletic Experience to Prospective Employers

By July 28, 2016 November 19th, 2020 No Comments

Student-Athletes: whether you realize it or not, you’ve developed an impressive set of skills during your time as a student-athlete—skills that are seriously desirable to prospective employers. Among these skills are your ability to effectively communicate, work in teams, lead others, face adversity, and manage your time. In addition to these skills, you have one other very useful trait going for you—you’re incredibly coachable.

The same skills that you’ve developed as a student-athlete are among the most sought after skills professional recruiters look for today. Employers surveyed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) for their 2016 Job Outlook Report cited leadership, the ability to work in a team, communications skills, and a strong work ethic as the attributes they look for on a candidate’s resume. These are skills you have in spades as a result of your athletic experience, and this gives you a serious leg up when it comes time to begin your professional career.

However, it’s not enough to simply have these skills. You also need to sell these skills on your resume and during interviews if you want to to stand out when applying for an internship or job.

Here are some examples of ways you can articulate the skills you’ve gained through your athletic experience to really sell them to prospective employers.

Time Management:

Balanced a rigorous work-load of full-time athletics, travel, and school– all while maintaining a sound academic standing. Developed a set of productivity habits that allow me to get more done in less time.

Ability to work in Teams:

Focused on maximizing team effort toward unified goals, casting ego aside to improve team collaboration and camaraderie. Consistently met goals for personal and team achievement/improvement.

Strong Work Ethic:

Developed a resolute belief that hard work and determination pay off through persevering under adverse circumstances and sometimes pain or illness. Focused effort, sacrifice, and self motivation toward achieving personal and team goals.


Able to comprehend and retain information quickly and apply that knowledge to the task at hand. Developed the ability to receive and give constructive criticism in a way that breeds results, not resentment.

Ability to Face Adversity and Learn from Failure:

Learned to view every mistake as a learning opportunity in order to move forward. Developed resiliency and the ability to bounce back while letting go of the negative emotions that typically follow failure.

Articulating the skills you’ve developed as a student-athlete in a way that really sells them can help to make your resume, cover letter, or answers to interview questions, stand out to a prospective employer.

Advisors, recruiters and student-athletes—what are some other transferable skills that student-athletes have in common and what’s your tip for how to talk about them with prospective employers?

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