Updated: Feb 8
Caution: Use of the term “athlete” in this post is not limited to those named Kobe Bryant or Rhonda Rousey. In fact, anyone who considers him or herself an athlete or someone who is active and values fitness falls into the “athlete” category in this case.
Everyone knows an athlete. Whether that is you, your sibling, partner, best friend, roommate or neighbor, that person is very dedicated to their craft in the world of athletics. There are so many happy moments, achievements and opportunities for celebration for athletes throughout their career. But on the other spectrum of things, it is common knowledge that an athlete’s peak performance typically ends much earlier than other career paths. So what’s next for these folks?
This is where transferable skills jump in. These are skills, attributes and characteristics every athlete has that can be an asset both on and off the field. While there are many more, here are a few to start thinking about:
1. Dedication There is no doubt that every proud athlete has dedicated a large amount of time and energy to their passion for athletics.
Why this is important in the workforce: Nowadays, recruiters are often weary of a potential employee’s dedication and loyalty to the company. As an athlete, you have proven your consistency to stick with something through its ups and downs.
2. Communication Most sports are team sports, or at least there is someone else involved, like a coach or trainer. When you are so dedicated to a physical activity, your body often needs you to speak up. The ability to do so is ingrained within every athlete.
Why this is important in the workforce: Every employer is looking for someone with the ability to communicate effectively. Athletes prove to be great at communication, as it is generally required to succeed in any sport.
3. Perseverance Patience is a virtue. Perseverance is the ability to remain patient while continuing to push through any and all adversity coming in your way. Athletes are put in positions where their perseverance is tested constantly, whether it be during practice, a big game or managing all other responsibilities.
Why this is important in the workforce: In every work place, there will be demands and challenges. Perseverance is key and something not everyone is capable of.
4. Discipline This is a special one because young adults often don’t realize how important discipline is until they have been negatively affected by their own lack of discipline.
Why this is important in the workforce: Waking up for work, meeting deadlines, taking initiative when appropriate, doing so without an attitude. That is what every employer is looking for and what athletes demonstrate.
5. Teamwork Obviously.
Why this is important in the workforce: Even if you work alone, you will have colleagues and a supervisor (or two). Being able to make decisions that benefit more than just you is something many people have a very hard time with. As an athlete, you are used to thinking on behalf of the whole.
6. Leadership Being a leader does not mean you have to be team captain or win MVP. Rather, every athlete is a leader in his or her own way. Some are in the frontline at all times, others step up when needed most.
Why this is important in the workforce: While others might be uncomfortable leading their colleagues, athletes will have no problem as they’ve had plenty of practice. This skill makes you someone others can count on to lead the troops, even if you’re not in a leadership role.
7. Resilience We are all born with resilience, but it is also something we can build. Through the experience of an average athlete, pushing yourself to the limit in a workout or recovering from an injury teaches you to pick yourself up no matter how fast your heart is beating or how much trouble you have catching your breath.
Why this is important in the workforce: There will surely be disappointments at work and in life. Athletes with resilience are likely to come out of a fire stronger than they were before. Employers can count on those with resilience not to give up.
The next time you hear an athlete say he or she doesn’t know what to do with life after sports, remind them of their valuable transferable skills and that make athletes treasured in the work force. Whether you are an NBA All-Star or a flag football league champion, you are an athlete. Be proud of how far you’ve come and take those experiences and skills on to another successful career.