Being an NCAA athlete is tough. The demanding practices, workout schedules, traveling to away events and managing a full academic course load, it is very challenging. With those challenges come great rewards in championships, wins over rival schools and acknowledgement from your classmates. But the rewards don’t just need to last while you are in college. NCAA athletes bring characteristics to the table that other students lack. Every athlete should be making an effort to communicate the following attributes in an interview to make them stand out from the pack.
Work Ethic: To play any sport at the NCAA level, it takes years of hard work along with a healthy dose of dedication. Regardless of your talent level, there were times when you had to put in extra hours in the gym or one the field to push yourself to become a better competitor. Every college athlete has spent countless hours fine tuning their craft and improving their skills. Employers would be thrilled to bring that same work ethic into the fold of their organization.
Self Starter: Often times student athlete’s schedules with travel games cause athletes to miss class or miss out on study group. This requires the student athlete to teach themselves the materials in a hotel room or on the team bus. If you are a student athlete you know exactly what I am talking about. The feeling of getting on the bus after an away game knowing the last thing you want to do is your homework due tomorrow. The motivation and self discipline that it takes to learn on your own is something that organizations would really like to have in their team members.
Teamwork: Yes, even if you played Golf like I did. Every college sport requires you to play nice with others. It is an expectation that you cooperate and thrive in a team environment. The same holds true in many industries of full time employment.
Time Management: Rarely in the workplace are you ever working on just one project. In many roles it is critical to be able to manage many different projects going on at once. This comes easy to a student athlete. They have had to manage practices, away games, workouts and classes during their college tenure. The ability to manage your time and resources allocated to each project can help make for a great intern or employee.
Don’t be shy in expressing these skills that you have learned as a result of the sweat put into your sport of choice. It is what could make the difference in getting the offer. Play to your strengths. But who am I kidding? You already know that. You have been doing it on the field your whole life. The same holds true in the workplace. Be proud of being a student athlete.