With only 2% of college athletes going pro after graduation, former sports stars must find a way to channel their successes from the field into a drastically different industry than what they are accustomed to. Yet many of the skills that athletes learn on the field are highly sought-after credentials among employers, as sports teach students real-world skills that can’t be taught in the classroom. Athletes are focused, driven, goal-oriented and disciplined, as well as able to thrive in a tight situation or under pressure. Additionally, team sport experience implies cooperation, interpersonal and communication skills.
The discipline, commitment, and persistence of athletes translate well into sales-oriented jobs. Much of the mental characteristics that allow athletes to thrive in their sport also are coveted sales skills. Salespeople must be ambitious and goal-oriented, both of which are traits athletes possess.
The financial services industry is a great realm for former and current athletes to take advantage of their fine-tuned quick decision-making, strategy development and game plan execution skills. Sean Hecker, former lacrosse captain at Loyola University in Maryland, has been excelling at his work in the international steel trading industry for the past four years. Today, with a leadership position at Redstar Industries LLC, Hecker utilizes his skills obtained as an athlete in both the sales and financial realms.
It’s a fallacy that an athlete only gains physical skills from intercollegiate athletics. As a student balancing a full course load as well as games, competitions, practices and workouts, the skills these students learn on and off the field are invaluable in the workforce. Regardless of continuing their respective sport after graduation, athletes can channel these techniques to lead them to success beyond sports.