USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Fred Bastie, the owner and founder of Playced.com. Playced.com identifies appropriate colleges for potential recruits and delivers an online DIY college planning experience for student athletes of all talent levels and ages.
The life lessons learned from athletic competition are many, and apparently they pay big dividends. For most college athletes, the ultimate goal is to make a living playing the game they love. If that plan doesn’t work out, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lately, there have been a number of studies indicating that the vast majority of businesses want to hire college athletes. Most employers associate college athletes with the traits they are looking for in prospective employees. They want hard-working leaders that put the team first and are goal-oriented. In fact, a large number of CEOs either played high school or college sports and they would prefer to hire a student-athlete, rather than a non-student-athlete.
Prospective employers are looking for employees who go the extra mile. Participating in college sports is viewed similarly to other extracurricular activities such as being involved in student government, volunteering for charitable organizations, or even working part time. Balancing the hours of practice and games while going to college is difficult, and it is an indication of a student’s work ethic. It can be argued that sports has a direct correlation to higher incomes, promotions, and better jobs. There is no question that the leadership skills, development of teamwork, time management, and determination of many athletes surely help prepare them for the working world.
Here are five reasons why employers are interested in hiring college athletes:
College athletes are goal oriented
Most college athletes started playing their sport at the age of four or five. They have been competing their entire life. They know how to set goals and they work hard to achieve them. Most athletes talented enough to play in college have set goals every year, every season and every game. Being goal oriented is a mindset and is a trait employers look for in prospective employees. College athletes generally know how to ignore distractions and focus on the task at hand.
College athletes are hard workers and good time managers
Zig Ziglar once said, “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.” Every college athlete learns this lesson, the hard way. Let’s be honest; playing college sports is like having a job while you are going to school. It is a commitment. You have to be disciplined, work hard and manage your time or you won’t make the grades necessary to stay eligible. Student athletes have many responsibilities including attending class, homework, strength training, conditioning, practice, travel and games. In addition, they have to find the time to eat and occasionally catch Sports Center. Any student that can pull all that off and maintain a good GPA has to be an excellent candidate for employment.
College athletes are self-confident
The dictionary definition of self-confident is “trusting in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment”. Most athletes develop this trait early on and to be honest some athletes take it too far. However, a self-confident, mature student-athlete who isn’t arrogant or overbearing can be a great find for an employer.
College athletes are good teammates
Good teammates make good employees. The ability to work with others toward a common goal as a team is the definition of a good teammate. It is also a great attribute for an employee. Part of being a good teammate includes being coachable, respectful and having the attitude that the goals of the team are more important than the goals of the individual. Most college coaches will drive this point home with all their athletes.
College athletes know when to be a follower and when to take control of a situation. By the time they graduate from college, most have been a member of a team for 16 to 18 years and being a good teammate has become a habit.
College athletes tend to be leaders
Right or wrong, in today’s society athletes tend to be looked at as leaders. 14 of the last 19 United States Presidents participated in college athletics. To be a good leader you have to be confident, resilient, a strong communicator and willing to put the team’s goals ahead of your own. Many athletes tend to have those traits and they most likely know how to be a leader. Employers want to hire employees that have the potential to become leaders in their company.
There is no better place to learn the skills of selflessness and leadership than on the playing field or court. Certainly you don’t have to be an athlete to be successful in life. Ask Donald Trump! But, if you have the talent and desire to play your sport in college then I would encourage you to pursue your dream! There are many benefits.