Many factors play a role in what makes you a strong job candidate. Your job candidacy depends on your skills, education, professional experiences, and extracurricular activities that help you to become a well-rounded professional. Playing sports is a top extracurricular activity that helps you to stand out in the job market.
Playing sports is useful for getting (and staying) in good physical shape, filling your time productively, and introducing you to diverse groups of people who become your teammates. After surveying leading business executives, Ernst & Young reported that female job candidates that played sports prior to entering the job market were believed to have sturdy work ethics, determination, and a team-player approach to work.
In addition, your sports experience demonstrates to employers that you have developed a specific set of skills that not only serve you on the court, field, or track but in the job market as well. Whether in organized teams or intramurals, playing sports can show employers that you have maximized your college experience by participating in valuable skill-building activities. Focus on skills you learn playing a sport that translate into professional skills (or the seeds of them).
Here are five highly desirable skills for the job market that you pick up playing sports:
Teamwork is a central part of team sports and the world of work. No matter what industry or role you find yourself in, teamwork is a necessary part of it. You may have to work with colleagues to complete a project, come up with a plan, or deliver a presentation. The functions that you are required to fulfill alongside co-workers are similar to those you complete with your teammates. They draw upon your ability to consider the opinions of others, make decisions that benefit the team instead of just yourself, integrate ideas, and communicate with others.
When most people think of strategic planning, business comes to mind. It is true that strategic planning is a key function of the business industry, but it is also a key function of playing sports. In both business and sports, strategic planning involves identifying a goal then defining and executing strategies to meet that goal. As an athlete, you take part in strategic planning every time you support the team’s efforts to win a game, carry out a play, or strategize ways to use team resources to meet a common goal.
When it comes to essential skills needed to thrive at work, there is a lot of talk about communication. However, the key to success in sports and work is effective communication. Effective communication happens when two colleagues or teammates have a rapport and feel comfortable enough to listen to each other and share their responses without repercussion. Effective communication builds relationships, which is also crucial in both sports and work. By demonstrating effective communication in sports, you can also exhibit a sophisticated approach toward giving and receiving messages in professional settings. Employers value this and will note that your sports experience has enabled you to develop this skill.
In sports, things can change quickly. Perhaps the ball is suddenly moving down to the other end of the court, or the weather is threatening to change the dynamic of your outdoor sport of choice – either way, it is important that you are able to adapt to any changes that occur. The same is true for work. When you can adapt to unforeseen changes in leadership, operations, or structure, you reflect keen critical thinking, professionalism, and maturity. This also shows employers that you have the flexibility to endure change and remain productive despite adversity.
When playing sports, timeliness is vital. After all, you are at the mercy of the clock throughout the activity. You must remain mindful of how this factor impacts the time you have to bring your team to victory. Timeliness is also a reflection of your accountability – if you show up late to practice, the entire team may be penalized. Mastering this as an athlete will yield several advantages in your professional career. Employers value professionals who are punctual and consistently produce timely work. Colleagues will also appreciate you being respectful of their time and the care that you take in producing quality work while still meeting deadlines will show.
Ultimately, your college years are a prime time to take advantage of an array of activities and opportunities. Getting involved in organized or intramural sports is a great way to do this. For the best results in your job search, consider pursuing a leadership role on your team. Maximize your involvement in sports by noting accomplishments and deliverables that you can report while sharing your job-specific accolades with employers. Also, don’t forget to have fun! Playing sports helps to make you a stronger job candidate but also makes your college experience more engaging and memorable.
Written By Kaila Kea