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 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.
For most college athletes the ultimate goal is to make a living by playing a game they love. If, however that doesn’t work out, you better have a backup plan! That’s where a college education comes into play. The reality is that a career in professional sports is probably not in the cards for most college athletes and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Over the last several years there have been several studies indicating that many businesses want to hire college athletes. Most employers associate college athletes with the traits they are looking for in prospective employees. Participating in college athletics is viewed similarly to other extracurricular activities such as student government, volunteering for charitable organizations, or even working a part time job.
Let’s face it, being a college athlete isn’t like having a part-time job, it’s like having a full-time job, while going to school. Managing the hours of practice, team meetings, homework and games while going to class is difficult, and is a clear indication of a student’s work ethic. Additionally, there is no question that the experience of being a college athlete and balancing all that it requires helps to prepare every athlete for the working world. As you can see, there are many reasons employers want to hire college athletes, but here are my top six.
1. College athletes are goal oriented
Most college athletes started playing their sport as a toddler. They’ve been competing their entire life. They know how to set goals and work hard to achieve them. Most athletes who are talented enough to play in college set goals every year, every season, every game and sometimes every day. Being goal oriented is a mindset that prospective employers are looking for in their employees.
2. College athletes are mentally tough and resilient
To get to the college level, most athletes have failed as many times as they have succeeded. That said, they always move on and continue to compete. College athletes learn to be mentally tough every day, even on days when they don’t feel 100 percent. For an employer, this translates into an employee who can be counted on under any set of circumstances.
3. College athletes are hard workers and good time managers
Being a college athlete is a commitment. You need to be disciplined, manage your time and sacrifice many things other college students enjoy. A student-athletes’ schedule includes class, homework, strength training, team meetings, conditioning, practice, travel and games. In addition, they need to find the time to eat, sleep and occasionally watch Sports Center. College athletes cram 25 hours into a 24-hour day. Any student that can pull all that off and maintain a good GPA is an excellent candidate for employment.
4. College athletes are self-confident
The dictionary definition of self-confident is “trusting in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment”. Most athletes develop these traits 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 any employer.
5. College athletes are good teammates
Good teammates make good employees. That’s a fact. The ability to work with others toward a common goal as a team is the definition of a good teammate. 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 starting in the very first practice.
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.
6. College athletes tend to be leaders
Right or wrong, in our society athletes tend to be looked at as leaders. Many of our 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. Most athletes tend to have those traits and they usually know how to be a leader. Employers want to hire employees who have the potential to become leaders in their company.
Here’s the deal
Most college students have no real employment experience, but the character traits and experience a student-athlete develops bodes well in the workplace. Certainly, you don’t have to be an athlete to be successful in life. But, if you have the talent and desire to play your sport in college, then you need to pursue your dream. You will have an incredible experience and it might help you find a job!