Why You Should Fill Up Your Employee Roster With Former Student Athletes

by Liga Strautniece
Paramount Pictures

You are woken up at the crack of dawn by the sweet sound of your alarm clock. OK, maybe the sound is not that sweet, since it's 5 am. Once you finally crawl out of bed, you make your way over to the gym for your first practice of the day.

Most of the other students are still getting their beauty sleep, but the team is going out in full force to prepare for their next game. After you complete your physical therapy, you rush over to your first class of the day. You don't have time to grab a bite or shower.

Your class schedule is perfectly planned around your practice schedule, which means you have back-to-back classes on most days. After a few classes, you hit the gym once again for either the second practice or conditioning. Once you've completed your classes, you have study hall, film, mandatory meetings, community service or some other athletic or academic duties.

Sound familiar? This is the life of a student athlete. It is a very demanding schedule. Only the toughest of the tough make it to collegiate level.

Being a student athlete is a full-time job. At this time, one attains discipline, excellent organizational skills, time management, attention to detail, integrity, advanced communication skills, leadership and competitiveness.

These are some of the most desired traits employers are looking for. Over the course of their lifetimes, athletes have developed character traits that have prepared them to be MVPs not only on the court, but also in the workplace.

Here are 10 reasons companies should fill up their employee rosters with former student athletes:

1. Athletes are goal-orientated.

Athletes have been setting goals since day one. Athletes are constantly setting short- and long-term personal, athletic and academic goals.

Not only do they set goals, but they also develop detailed action plans about how to achieve them. Athletes are able to see the big picture. Yet, they do not overlook the process. They are used to taking one step at a time to get closer to their ultimate goals.

2. Athletes have amazing time management skills.

Student athletes follow a very detailed, minute-by-minute schedule. They juggle classes, exams, practices, conditioning, travel and games all at once.

This requires discipline and great time management. If you assign multiple projects at once to a former athlete, he or she will know exactly how to prioritize the tasks. He or she will meet the tight deadlines, while still providing great results.

3. Athletes are used to being team players.

Teamwork runs in their blood. They are used to working with people from different walks of life, no matter what their backgrounds may be.

Athletes know how to utilize the unique strengths of individuals and combine them together to form unbreakable bonds. They will put the needs of the team above their own, and they will always be on the lookout for ways to help their colleagues.

4. Athletes are excellent communicators.

They have learned how to communicate with all kinds of people: teammates, coaches, athletic directors, etc. Athletes work well in multi-level teams.

But most importantly, they have excellent communication skills. Athletes know how to receive and provide constructive criticism, which is crucial for growth and success in any workplace.

5. Athletes are natural leaders.

Student athletes are used to following directions. However, they are more than capable of taking the lead whenever it's needed. They also lead by example. You can count on them to do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

6. Athletes are mentally strong.

Over the years, athletes have developed extreme mental toughness. They've been yelled at by their coaches, they have had to score game-winning points and they have played through injuries.

No matter what it is, they never quit. They know it takes hard work to succeed. You can count on them to hold their weight.

7. Athletes are smart workers.

If an athlete can't beat an opponent with his or her physical strength, he or she will use mental skills instead. Athletes know how to work smartly. If one way does not work, they will find alternate routes to success.

8. Athletes are very disciplined and quick learners.

Many times, coaches will make new plays on the go in the middle of a game. Athletes are therefore likely to use their cross-functional skills and strategic thinking to adapt to new environments.

9. Athletes lead by example.

They know not to take shortcuts because at the end of the day, they will only hurt themselves. If they skip on that one extra practice, they might be less prepared to fight their opponents. When it comes to work, you can depend on them to go the extra mile and complete the task successfully.

10. Athletes are patient.

If an athlete has made it to collegiate level, it means he or she has failed more times than some have even tried. But, they are different from others because they get up every time they fall. They learn from their mistakes.

All the characteristics I've mentioned can't be developed overnight. Athletes have worked extremely hard all their lives to acquire these traits. As much as they wish they could play their sport forever, the majority of student athletes are done after college. They are now ready to start their professional careers.

Due to their demanding student athlete schedules, they didn't have the chance to gain as much professional experience as they would have liked. But, they have something far more desirable.

While you can gain professional experience very quickly, you can't develop these work traits overnight. So, take a chance on student athletes because they will be perfect employees. If you hire a former college athlete, you will gain a star employee.