Recruiting Column: How to build an effective college recruiting résumé

Recruiting Column: How to build an effective college recruiting résumé

Recruiting Column

Recruiting Column: How to build an effective college recruiting résumé


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 is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and their recruiting experts provide a recruiting experience that is backed by a money-back guarantee.

If you really want to play your sport in college, an organized, comprehensive college recruiting résumé detailing your athletic and academic qualifications/accomplishments will put you a step ahead of the competition.  A well thought out résumé makes it easy for a college coach to quickly decide whether he or she is interested in you as a potential recruit.

At Playced, we feel so strongly about the importance of a quality recruiting résumé that we constantly update our online version. In fact, we’ve recently spent the better part of a month talking with college coaches in numerous sports about what information they want to see. Based on those discussions, here are my thoughts on how to effectively build and distribute a quality recruiting résumé.

What your résumé should include

An effective recruiting résumé includes the academic and athletic information a college coach needs to make an initial assessment of whether or not you might be a fit for his or her program. There are a few ways to organize your résumé, but all college coaches would agree that at the very least it should include the following:

  • Your personal information,
  • Your academic accomplishments,
  • Your athletic statistics and honors, and
  • An easy way for a coach to verify your stats and evaluate your abilities.

Like a professional résumé, you should consider dividing your recruiting resume into separate sections, so the information is organized. In my opinion, the above four categories could be your four sections.

The logical choice for the first section is your personal information. That should include your name, hometown, sport, primary position, email address, telephone number and club/select team name. Also, a simple profile picture can’t hurt.

Your academic information might come next and should include high school name, graduation date, cumulative GPA, NCAA core course GPA, desired major (if you have one) and your SAT and/or ACT score. Concisely summarizing your academic information allows coaches to quickly determine if you’re a good fit academically for their university. No matter how good an athlete you are, you have to get by the academic admissions office if you want to play at any school.

The third section should be your athletic information and that might take a little thought. Every college coach evaluates potential recruits a little differently and the important metrics and statistics are different for every position in every sport. For example, a corner infielder is evaluated completely differently than an outfielder and a point guard is graded differently than a post.

You need to include the statistics that are relevant to your sport and position. If you aren’t sure which statistics and metrics are critical for you, do some homework. Ask your current coach for help and take a look at the recruiting questionnaires for your sport on the college websites in which you have an interest. A careful review of the recruiting questionnaires will tell you the information college coaches are most interested in. Providing this information in your résumé allows a college coach to make an initial assessment almost immediately.

In addition to your statistics, the athletic section of your resume should include a link to your highlight video and your upcoming game schedule.  For a coach to make a realistic initial evaluation, he or she will have to see video. In fact, video is so critical that you might want to include the link at the top of your résumé. After they review your video, if they are interested your game schedule becomes important.

Finally, in your résumé you need to include a way for college coaches to easily verify your stats. In this section, include your current coach’s contact information. This is important, because your current coach’s opinion about you can be a difference-maker in your scholarship search.

You need make it easy for coaches to make a quick decision or your résumé won’t even be considered. There’s a fine line between too much information and not enough. A one-page résumé would be preferable if that leaves you enough room to include all your important information. 

Online or On Paper?

While an online résumé can be helpful, don’t get caught up in all the hype about college coaches filling their rosters by “shopping” for players online. The most effective way to use an online resume is for you (the recruit) to share a link to your résumé with the coaches you have identified as realistic possibilities. Don’t hope that the exact right coach will accidentally stumble upon your online résumé. It’s probably not going to happen.

If you prefer not to use an online résumé, then don’t. You can create your own recruiting resume using the above recipe. A well-organized “recruiting résumé” that includes all the pertinent information, coupled with an endorsement from your current coach can be just as effective as any online option.

How to deliver your résumé to the right college coaches

The best way to deliver your résumé to college coaches is simple. Send an email! If you’ve created your own résumé, attach it to the email. If you have an online résumé, include the link. Just remember that 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 personalize your emails can be the difference between a coach hitting “delete” or “reply”.

Show the coach you really want to play for them and that you actually know something about their program. Mention something about their team, a recent accomplishment, or even that your Uncle Mel went to college there. Anyone can send an email to a college coach, but the key is to get a response.

Finally, I believe you should copy every coach on staff that might have a say in recruiting you. For example, if you’re a quarterback, send the email to the recruiting coordinator and “cc” the offensive coordinator and the quarterback coach (if they have one). You never know which coach might like what they see! 

Here’s the deal

A recruiting résumé can be an extremely helpful tool in finding the right college. Take the time to get it right and then send it to the coaches at the colleges that make sense for your abilities.


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