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How To Use College Athletics On Your Resume When You’re Not An Athlete

April 14, 2015

The buzz surrounding game day on any college campus is palpable. From those working toward a Masters of Engineering to a Bachelors in Modern Art, college students have a deep love for their alma mater battling it out in athletic competitions. The good news is, even if you don’t suit up it doesn't necessarily mean you can’t use your experience surrounding college athletics to help you get your next job.

If you organized fellow students to ‘camp out’ for tickets to specific college games would this be worth placing on a resume?

Becky from Emerson said this, “I believe you should absolutely include this information on your resume and be prepared to discuss in more detail what you learned and the skills you developed from this activity and how it is directly applicable to the position that you are applying for.  This type of activity really reflects your personal motivation to succeed, and your ability to conduct this type of scheduling around your work and class schedules also shows positively on your ability to multi-task and manage multiple projects.”

Any kind of activity that demonstrates that you can lead a group of people, influence them, and handle various types of leadership, oversight and follow-through is always a plus. The key is how you frame the language around what you did at these events. Be sure to highlight the fact that you took the initiative, it was an informal group that you started, and that you did so from a place of pure passion for your team.

An expert from Hospira, Ellen, went so far as saying, “I absolutely think this should be “show-cased” on your resume. It shows your drive, ability to influence and succeed no matter what the challenge is. The behaviors you are demonstrating sound like you have a winning attitude and want to beat the competition. These are traits that most companies are interested in hiring.”

Where should someone place this kind of information on their resume?

Ashley from Cardinal Health offered her thoughts on a good spot to place this kind of experience, “If you want to include this on your resume, I would recommend including it in the Interests section. I would not recommend including this in the Experience/Campus Involvement portion of your resume. In my personal opinion, I think that portion of your resume should be saved to showcase established organizations you’re a part of, volunteer experience, official leadership positions, etc.”

Another expert from ManpowerGroup, Dana, gave a differing opinion on where you could highlight this on your resume, “While this does not appear to be a formal engagement (a paid position, or unpaid work aligned with an official organization) I would encourage you to include this on a resume in a section such as ‘Notable Achievements.’”

There are obviously a number of places you can highlight this kind of experience. Take the time to look over your resume, and find a location that makes the most sense. Clearly what you don’t want to do is mislead a potential employer into believing this was a kind of formal group. Be up front and honest about your experience and allow it to speak for itself.

How should an entry-level job seeker discuss this during a job interview?

If you’re going to place this experience on your resume, be ready to discuss it in your interview. When you discuss it, be sure to be as strategic about the language you use while talking with the recruiter as you were in your resume.

Siobhan from Accenture gave these thoughts, “During an interview, I recommend focusing largely on your leadership skills, the organization and scheduling involved, and the ‘opposition research.’”

John from Textron added this, “I think this would be a great way to answer the inevitable question that you will be asked by so many employers surrounding group work and the role you played in your group. This is a very unique example to use which will interest the interviewer.”

Athletics is a fun and often pervasive part of the college experience. If you’re a die-hard fan who’s taken their love of their alma mater’s teams to the next level, be sure to highlight your experiences on your resume. This rarely talked about experience can be the difference between a job offer, and going to the coffee shop to submit another dozen job applications.

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