Being in a sports team is a unique experience that gives you a very specific and valuable set of skills. You can put these skills on your CV or include them in your cover letters, and if you demonstrate how these relate to the job description then your sports team membership can be as valuable as work experience.
Below we’ve put together a short list of possible attributes you will have developed in a sports team, and how these are relevant to employers.
1. You put in the hard work
Employers don’t want a new starter who isn’t willing to start from the bottom. When you’re first entering the workplace from studying, you might need to photocopy some things for your other colleagues, or occasionally do jobs that you might feel are not what you worked so hard in your degree for. However, sometimes these tasks are essential while you’re showing your worth in the company.
If you’re part of a sports team, your employers will know that you know the benefit of hard work. You’ve done the boring and repetitive work that is necessary to be where you are now in your team, and the same rules apply in your career. Work experience is the same as practising, and so showing you’re willing to put in the practice can go a long way.
If you’ve been in a sports team, you know how important it is to work as a unit instead of trying to take on everything yourself. You understand that different people have different strengths, and to make a project a success everyone needs to have their part.
This knowledge of a working team is integral to your career. Whether you’re just getting started or onto managing people, having an insight into your colleagues’ (and your own) skills helps you make the right choices, and if you’ve been on a sports team you’ll have good experience of this already.
3. You’re fun
If you play sports, chances are you’re a fun person to be around. Team sports players tend to be energetic people that enjoy working with others, and they know how to turn hard work into fun.
Employers will see this drive and energy from your application, especially if you reference the positive impact being on a team has had on your life, so mention these experiences and show your enthusiasm!
4. You can work towards long-term goals
If you play sports for LSE then you’ll have put in a lot of work knowing that it will eventually pay off. This type of attitude is essential for your career as it shows you have vision and motivation.
You can show employers your approach to long-term goals by how you broke down your team’s and your personal progress into smaller goals and individual targets to demonstrate your understanding of how to make long-term projects achievable.
5. You know about timing and strategy
Whether it’s in one moment during a game or part of a longer league strategy, you’ll know the benefit of timing your moves and strategising your approach to achieving success.
When talking about this to employers, you can tell them how you plan your games or any wider strategies you may have made during tournaments etc. This can also lead into how a strategy you planned may have failed and what you learned from this, but more on that in the next point.
6. You understand failure
One question at interview that everyone seems to dread is ‘What are your weaknesses?’ or something similar about times where you have not succeeded. As a member of a sports team, your team will not have won every game. You will not always have been 100% happy with your performance on the field, and equally you will not always have been 100% happy with the performance of your team on the field.
These failures are crucial to communicate with employers, specifically how you dealt with them. If your team lost and you screamed at everyone that they were really bad, maybe don’t tell them that. However if your team lost and you rallied everyone together, practised really hard, and won the next game then that shows that you learn from your mistakes, and are a person worth investing in.