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 college planning experience for student athletes of all talent levels and ages.
Every college recruit (except for the top 2%-ers) should approach recruiting as if he or she is looking for a job. Realistically, the process is the same. You are looking to play in college and college coaches are looking for players. Once you find a match, it’s just a matter of negotiating the details and deciding on the best situation for you.
So, if you were looking for a job what would be the first thing you would do? Well, one of the first things would be to prepare an appropriate resume detailing your qualifications for the specific position you are pursuing. You should take the same approach with college recruiting and prepare an athletic resume detailing your qualifications for a spot on a college roster.
Here are some ideas on how to build and distribute an effective athletic resume.
What your resume should include
Your resume should include all the academic and athletic facts a college coach needs to easily determine whether or not he or she is interested in finding out more about you. There are many ways to organize your profile/resume, but it should at least include the following:
- Your personal information,
- Your academic accomplishments,
- Your athletic statistics and honors, and
- the contact information for your current coach.
Consider dividing the above topics into separate sections, so the information is organized. Your personal information should include name, primary position, email address, telephone number and club/select team name. Also, a simple profile picture can’t hurt.
Your academic information would include high school name, graduation date, cumulative GPA, desired major (if you have one) and your SAT and/or ACT score. By clearly summarizing your academic information it allows coaches to quickly determine if you are a good fit academically for their program. Remember, you have to get into the school to play for the school.
Your athletic information is a little trickier. Every college coach evaluates players a little differently and the important metrics and statistics are different for every position in every sport. For example, an offensive lineman is evaluated completely differently than a linebacker and a shooting guard is graded differently than a power forward.
You want to include the statistics that are relevant to your sport and position. If you don’t know which statistics to include, do some homework. You can research online, ask your current coach for help and/or look at the recruiting questionnaires for your sport on a few college websites. If you take the time to include the proper stats for your position, it simplifies the evaluation process for the college coaches. In addition to your statistics, in the athletic section of your resume include a link to your highlight video and attach a copy of your upcoming game schedule.
Finally, you need to include your current coach’s contact information. This is critical, because your current coach’s opinion about you can be a difference-maker in your scholarship search.
You have to make it easy for the coach to make a decision quickly or your resume won’t even be considered. There is a fine line between too much information and not enough information. A one page resume would be preferable if that leaves you enough room to include all your important information.
Online or On Paper?
While an online profile can be helpful in your recruiting process, you’re mistaken if you believe you can post your profile online and wait for the scholarship offers to roll in the door. Most college coaches don’t spend their time searching through thousands of online profiles to fill their rosters. And even if they did, what makes you think your profile will stand out from the others?
The most effective way to use an online profile/resume is for you (the recruit) to share a link to your profile with the coaches you have identified as realistic possibilities. Don’t wait around and hope the exact right coach accidentally stumbles upon your online profile. It’s probably not going to happen.
If you aren’t interested in using an online profile, you can prepare your own recruiting resume. It’s not that difficult and the recipe for an effective resume is above. A well-organized “recruiting resume,” coupled with an endorsement from your current coach can be as effective as any online profile.
How to send your resume to college coaches
The best way to send your resume to college coaches is simple. Send an email! If you’ve created your own resume, attach it to the email. If you have an online profile, include the link in your email. That being said, here is the important part: Your email needs to express specific interest in that coach’s program if you want them to pay attention to it. Taking the extra time to write a personal email can be the difference between a coach responding to you or ignoring you.
To write a personal email you really need to personally address it to the coach. Using the coach’s name in the salutation starts the communication process off in the right direction. Then show the coach you really want to play for them and actually know something about their program. Mention some aspect about their team, a recent team accomplishment, or even that your grandfather went to college there. Personalizing the email is on you. That shouldn’t be hard!
Finally, copy every coach on staff that might have a say in recruiting you. For example, if you play defensive back, send the email to the recruiting coordinator and “cc” the other defensive coaches. You never know which coach might like what you’re selling! Either way, you want to hear back from the coaches you send emails to, good or bad.
Here’s the deal
A recruiting resume is helpful because it organizes the information a college coach might be interested in. However, the resume is only going to be effective if you make the effort to get it in the hands of the right coaches.