The Impact of Including Athletics in Your Resume

Source: Business Today

By Grace Cordsen

A good resume highlights one's ability and achievements and is simultaneously eye-catching and memorable. This fact is hardly groundbreaking. The art of curating the perfect resume isn't an easy task; creating the ideal balance of likeability and hireability is difficult, especially when you might not have extensive work experience or groundbreaking accomplishments. The big question for a lot of college athletes is how much or how little they should include their athletic achievements. I spoke to four professionals in different fields who deal with hiring new personnel to see exactly what they thought about seeing athletics on a candidate's resume.

When considering a prospective candidate, would seeing leadership positions or high-level achievements in athletics give you a particular image of the candidate right off the bat?

Jon Lindsey, New York founding partner of Major, Lindsey & Africa, the world’s largest (and #1 ranked) legal search firm:

Yes – if team captain, suggests someone with leadership skills who works well with others; if high level achievement, bespeaks someone with grit, perseverance, determination. Simply being member of a team, for me, would not be a particularly strong positive for a resume. Worth including but closer to an extracurricular that does not relate to the job.

Would you ever take into account the time spent on athletics as a justification for slightly substandard academic achievements?

Jon Lindsey:

It would have to be very slight unless the athletic achievement was unusual. If going to the Olympics, lesser academics might be explainable (but you would want something else on the resume to indicate that the individual is in fact bright). But would I favor a cum laude/magna/summa non-athlete over a varsity athlete graduating without honors? All other things being equal, yes I would.

There isn't really an argument against the fact that athletics really do add something unique and valuable to a resume. After speaking with a career counselor about the inclusion of athletics in a resume he agreed, but definitely emphasized the fact that people may have subjective ideas about content and value based on the things they have done. "It depends on how the employer is viewing it [athletics] in terms of your relative experience," he remarked. Also of note, athletics can be invaluable in regards to networking since bonding over a particular sport can be an instant, memorable connection. When creating a resume, it is important to emphasize your passion and dexterity, regardless of whether it is on the field or in a completely different one.

Read more of this feature at Business Today.

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