5 Traits NCAA Athletes Need to Highlight in Their Job Search

The life of an NCAA athlete is a difficult one. Time is expected to be split between their sport and academics, leaving little time for anything else in between. Often what ends up getting lost in the shuffle of this sport and school balance is relevant job experience.

Where most college students are afforded the luxury of internships or on campus and summer jobs, athletes often have to pass up these opportunities to meet their immediate responsibilities. Before NCAA athletes know it, graduation has arrived and they need to put together a resume for potential employers.

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What should be on this resume though if you’re an athlete who has no relevant job experience?

Yes employers value relevant job experience, but job responsibilities can be taught. What can’t be taught are the traits that fulfill job responsibilities. Traits like coachability, competitiveness, confidence, discipline and persistence cannot be instilled by employers. Yet these very traits have been bread into athletes from their childhood and every athlete should be aware of their importance in the working world.

In this week’s motivation Monday, we want NCAA athletes to learn that their time spent in sports is just as relevant as job experience. Whether it is your resume or on a job interview, athletes should make sure to highlight the following traits.


Athlete Coachability
Being able to be coached is key.

Every athlete has been coached in their lives. From a young age, athletes learn how to take direction and criticism. By learning those skills, they are able to make improvements to their game–which ultimately helps them become better competitors and help to achieve their goals.

Companies want employees who are able to listen and learn. Managers do not want subordinates that disregard their advice. They want people who are willing to learn and take instruction. Athletes are already used to being coached, so it is easy for them to demonstrate this trait.


Behind every successful athlete is the desire to compete. Athletes are constantly competing, whether it is against an opponent or against themselves. This drive is not something that can be taught. The desire to compete is simply built into athletes.

While looking for employment, athletes need to be mindful that their competiveness goes hand in hand with any business. Businesses are always looking for ways to separate and rise above their competition, and the only way to achieve this is to have employees who want to do the same. This desire to compete is a natural instinct for athletes, and they should find ways to show potential employers how their competitiveness can translate to success within their company.


Confident athletes get the job done, no questions asked.
Confident athletes get the job done, no questions asked.

Athletes trust their abilities. Rather than wasting time doubting whether they can do something, they tell themselves they can do it and then figure out how to make it possible. Athletes know how to stay optimistic and produce under pressure even when the odds are stacked against them.

Employers want employees who face adversity with confidence. When there is a problem that needs to be solved, they want workers who say “I can” instead of “I can’t.” Athletes understand how to trust their abilities and that is an extreme value to companies.


Discipline is essential to athletes in practice and in competition. Athletes need discipline in order to train properly both physically and mentally for their sport. They also need discipline in the heat of competition when things are not going their way, or if they need to maintain a lead.

Athletes can easily transfer the discipline they learned in their sport to the office. Employers value workers who are organized and keep a schedule. They want workers who have demonstrated the ability to balance multiple responsibilities, and student-athletes do this every day of their lives.


All athletes fail at some point in their lives. However, it is those who persist and learn from their failures who end up being the most successful. Having a never give up attitude is essential for athletes if they ever want to win and stay ahead of their competition.

The same never give up attitude is extremely valuable to businesses. Potential employers want to know how a candidate handles failure. Athletes can draw from numerous experiences in their respective sports and show businesses that they are able to persist through adversity.

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