Academics Beyond Athletics Career-Match Recruiting Responsibility

How to Get the Best Jobs for Former College Athletes

get advice for the best jobs for former college athletes

(Flickr – Gangplank HQ)

Some graduating classes have already turned their tassles. Others are looking forward to their graduation day. But for every senior student-athlete graduating this year, the biggest question is how they can get one of the best jobs for former college athletes.

Whether you’re in this boat yourself, or know someone who is, or are just really looking forward to the future, I have great news for you: employers want athletes.

I recently read this interesting excerpt from baseball analyst Nate Silver’s book, The Signal and the Noise, that describes traits successful baseball players have to help them advance in their careers. And I thought: Why stop at just baseball players?

As a student-athlete, you possess an intrinsic skillset that came from the lessons sports have taught you to this point, the lessons that can’t be learned anywhere else. And this puts you above any competition when it comes landing that summer job, internship, or career.

Are you properly marketing yourself as a student-athlete, and all you have to offer from the awesome fact that you are or were a student-athlete?

Let’s review the overall qualities that you should be promoting about yourself so you can get the best jobs for former college athletes you can.

You know what it means to work hard

As a student-athlete, you’ve done it all on and off the field.

Two-a-days in the dead of summer, playoffs and midterms the same week, staying late to get as many reps in before the lights turn off, meeting your friend or tutor at the library after practice to make sure you’re ready for the big exam. Whether you realize it or not, day-in and day-out, you’re working hard than most other kids at your school or in your class. You put the time and work in because to you, there’s no other option. You know what it means to work hard.

You know how to manage your time

With morning practice and afternoon practice, Grandma’s birthday and your season opener, your group science project and creative writing homework, you have had to learn how to juggle a tough schedule and manage your time over the years.

Have you been able to find time to do it all?

Probably not.

But in turn, this means you know how to prioritize the important things and assign the correct minutes and hours to the right things. You know how to manage your time.

You show up early and are prepared

What happens if you’re 45 minutes late to the team bus for the away game? It’s pretty simple: the bus left without you.

Some of us have watched this happen, and some of us had to learn this the hard way. Similarly, being late to practice was never, ever an option, was it? For most, if not all, it meant extra sprints, extra pushups, or worst of all, meant you were sitting on the bench watching. Early is on time, on time is late, and if you’re late?

Well, you know the drill. You show up early and are prepared.

You are coachable

Being a professional, just like being an athlete, means being able to check your ego at the door, take direction from a coach or manager, and learn how to better yourself to better the team.

Not everyone knows how to take coaching, but as a student-athlete, this has been a huge part of your life from the moment you picked up the bat, ball, club, or racquet.

Have you always agreed with your coach? Probably not, and that’s okay, but you’ve had to learn to trust the person leading your team, and respectfully agree to disagree.

However, I’d be willing to bet, more times than not, you’ve learned the value of your coach and have learned to say “thank you.” You are coachable.

You know how to be part of a team

There are more than 300 former student-athletes who are team members at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. (Shameless plug: We’re always looking for new talent.)

We have a rocking culture and a ton of fun working together, and do you know why? We all love being part of a team and know how to work with others because being a teammate is all we’ve known or entire lives.

There are many young adults who don’t work well with others, and it’s because they never had to manage conflict, spend countless hours with others on the road, constructively work through glitches, cheer someone on, or push someone forward the way you have as an athlete. You know how to be part of a team.

You want to win

Plan and simple: You do all of the above because to you, losing is not an option. You will take on any challenge and work above and obstacle, because at the end of the day, you just want to win.

Keep these in mind. You never know which you’ll be able to use to describe your talents in an interview. We hope you get the gig.


If you’re still working toward becoming a college athlete so you can learn these life lessons from sports, our scouts are here to help you. Get started by building a recruiting profile.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.