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How To Get A Job As A Former College Athlete

two students receive awards as they learn how to get a job as as a former college athlete

Thousands of student-athletes will don a cap and gown this graduation season and head out into the real world come summer. Leaving your college or university with not only a diploma (YAY!) but years of collegiate athletics on your resume is a truly remarkable feat.

The excitement and joy of hard work paying off and walking across that stage on graduation day is a feeling second-to-none. The time for celebration, however, can often get clouded with fear and anxiety over what lies ahead. Moving out of the four-year bubble you’ve grown accustomed to, and onto a career, most likely a different city then many of your friends, and a new life can be downright scary.

But we’ve got your back.

As an office of over 300 former student-athletes, and a network of thousands of current student-athletes, we’ve got the whole “athlete to awesome professional” thing down pat. Check out our list of Dos and Don’ts while you get a job as a former college athlete and take the world by storm.

DO list college athletics on your resume.

This is a major factor setting you apart from anyone else going after the same position. Employers want to hire athletes.

Additionally, your dedication to the same team, and the lessons you’ve learned from it for the last four or five years, are just as important for your professional development as what you might have received from holding a job for four years.

DON’T list irrelevant work experience.

Clouding your resume with every single job you’ve worked can land you in the “pass” pile.

Managers and recruiters will understand that your professional career is just beginning. Be honest, pick the top two most impressive past work experiences and move along.

DO create (or update!) your LinkedIn profile.

Make sure to include your graduation and degree, your collegiate athletics and accolades, relevant work or intern experience, interests, and any unique qualifications for your desired career path.

DON’T use an unprofessional photo on LinkedIn.

This site is a networking dream. You just need to be careful about how you present yourself. Blurry photos, group shots, or your face cropped from a bar scene are a big “don’t”.

On the topic of social media, DO clean it up.

I’ve written before about how important it is for you to keep your social media profile as presentable as you want your coaches, friends, employers and grandparents to see you.

Clean up any and all social media profiles you may have: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine. Even Snapchat. I don’t want to harangue you on this.

Just be careful. Anything questionable or that could potentially be received poorly will hurt your job search.

DON’T post on social media about your job hunt.

Don’t write about where you’re interviewing, good, bad or neutral. Again: potential employers will be watching your profiles. If one company sees you favoring or trash-talking another company, your name will get pulled stat.

DO ask questions at an interview.

Be prepared! I like this list from The Muse. Just like you asked college coaches questions about their school during your recruiting process, make sure an organization feels like the right fit for you, instead of leaping at the first job opportunity you receive.

DON’T show up to an interview late or inappropriately dressed.

Make these two possible infractions non-factors in the process. Bonus: you’ll feel much more confident and relaxed if you’re on-time and looking good.

Best of luck in the job hunt. (We’re always hiring!) If you’re still looking to get to a school where you can play your sport and earn a degree, we can help with that, too. Get started with 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.