Career Advice Blog

Your Resume is Your Calling Card

Competitive athletes who are accustomed to doing rather than telling find it difficult to take an assessment of their skills that transfer to the work environment. But this important step in the job search process, the resume, is the most important step you will take as you begin the transition from sports. While there is no one right way to present your skills in a resume format, there are plenty of wrong ways, and everybody has to go through the step of preparing an effective resume that will help you get your foot in the door with a job interview.


Many students and athletes feel they are too young to start working on a resume. On the contrary, even for college freshmen, it’s not too early to begin your resume. If you have not prepared a resume, the time is right to get one started and begin to build on it with each passing semester or year. If you make an effort to constantly update and refine your resume, you are guaranteed that it will be a complete and effective document by the time you leave the world of sports and head off into the working world. Your resume has one goal: to get you interviews. It has to make the strongest possible case for your candidacy and create an image that will make people want to meet you.


Potential employers are looking for people who have clear ideas about themselves and what they do best. You need to prove with evidence that you have provided value in the past that is consistent with the value you will provide your new employer in the future. Initially, this is the job of a good resume.





Two Persistent Myths About Resumes


There are a couple of persistent myths about resumes.


The first myth is that a good resume is a key to getting job. This is simply not true. The resume is merely your calling card; it provides a prospective employer with a snapshot of your background and skills. While resumes play important role in the job search process, they are often overrated. The key to getting a job is a job interview. A good resume is the key to getting the job interview– not getting a job. The bottom line is, if you don’t get a job interview, you won’t get a job, good resume or not.


Another myth about the resume is that you should emphasize your work history. Again, not true. Employers are interested in hiring your future rather than your past. Therefore, your resume should emphasize the skills and abilities you will bring to the job as well as your interests and goals. Letting prospective employers know what you are likely to do for them in the future will set you apart from your competition.



Explore These Possible Networking Contacts


Expanding your basic network will necessitate getting outside your comfort zone and contacting an extended list of individuals and groups. Here are a few ideas where you can certainly identify potential network members if you spend the time and effort!


  • Friends and family
  • Athletic alumni associations
  • Former athletes from teams you’ve been on
  • In-laws and distant relatives
  • Neighbors (current and past)
  • Social Acquaintances (golf, swim, tennis, social clubs)
  • Classmates (from any level of school)
  • College Alumni (get a list of those living in your job search area)
  • Old roommates, dorm floor pals, sorority or fraternity alumni
  • Clergy and church members
  • Former teachers, professors and administrators
  • Parents of your teammates or children’s friends


Anyone you wrote a check to in the past year or saw for services:


  • doctor
  • dentist
  • pharmacist
  • optician
  • lawyer
  • accountant
  • insurance agent
  • travel agent
  • repair or trades person
  • Real estate agents
  • Financial consultants
  • Stockbrokers
  • People you’ve worked with as a volunteer
  • Manager of your local bank


Be sure to use the college career development and placement services, even if you only attended that college a short time and did not graduate. Many colleges keep a list of alumni who have agreed to assist current and former students in the job search process. Using this list to identify contacts in a desired target area can save you much time and greatly expand your network.


Don’t be afraid, and don’t dismiss anyone from your list just because you have not talked to them for some time. It is common to lose touch with family, friends, and colleagues as life situations change. If the original relationship was valued, your contacts will return your calls, and they will want to help.



Building a Base of Contacts

The following are some basic steps that will help you meet people in your field and network with them successfully.


It’s important to remember you are trying to get information from these people, and not necessarily a job. Coming right out and asking friends or associates for a job can put them off and make you sound over-anxious or desperate. Ease into your building your network by:


  • Start talking with friends, your coach, and close teammates. Even if they are not interested or employed in your chosen career, they may have information and contacts that can be useful.


  • Base your approach on how well you know and trust each person. Let him or her know you are looking for a job and you would appreciate advice, ideas, and suggestions. Bring up the subject of your job hunt in general, then ask if you can sit down to discuss it later. This is to enable your friend/acquaintance to prepare in advance.


  • Don’t be afraid to call people you have not talked with in a long time; most people are flattered when asked for advice.


  • Be open and go into details about the kind of work and organizations that interest you.


The more people included in your network, the greater the chance that you will hear about job openings. Likewise, the larger your network, the greater the chance that employers will hear about you when they have job openings.



Building Your Network


In today’s new work economy, successful job seekers and networkers have navigated the break from old-school, passive job search roles (like  searching job boards, advertising posts, and random cold calling employers) by orientating themselves towards face-to-face action. Smart athletes now know that it is a first-move requirement in today’s job market that they present themselves to their network before anything else– to get a feel of what’s going on from many different perspectives and potential introductions that can save valuable time and trouble.


Everyone’s initial network consists of interacting with individuals whom they are closet to and feel most comfortable around. When you decide it is time to put the word out that you are looking for new or renewed career opportunity, you begin by calling your friends, family, teammates, and coaches.


Networking is increasingly taking on new communication forms in today’s high-tech world. Job seekers can take advantage of several websites and electronic databases conducting a job search, gathering information on the job market, and disseminating resumes to employers. The Internet also allows job seekers to network for people, information, advice, and job leads. Several websites will help you develop networking skills, as well as put you in contact with them for employment-related opportunities. These sites include a wealth information on the networking process. As an athlete, you should be certain to register with and consider opening an account at