Locker Room to Boardroom: 10 Perfect Jobs for Former Athletes

business man sitting at office desk with basketball in hands

You’re used to dominating the field as a former competitive athlete. Now you’re ready to dominate your career path. You need a high-powered career that puts all of your skills to good use and makes you the star of the team. But which jobs are best suited for former athletes?

The characteristics that made you a great competitor are the same skills that can help you excel in the corporate world, according to Jason Hanold, managing partner of executive search firm Hanold Associates. Your athletic past has given you drive and determination, made you goal-oriented and taught you to focus on results—all skills that seamlessly transfer to the workplace, says Hanold.

All of those days of long practices, tough games and excruciating workouts have created a solid foundation for your future career. Hanold says many athletes thrive in professions where they can see results and use competition to fuel their performance.

10 perfect jobs for former athletes

The following list of jobs for athletes will allow you to leverage your competitive experience in a work environment. These career options could be your chance to be the star player on your new corporate team.

1. Financial advisor

Financial advisors help clients manage their assets and investments, often acquiring clients by cold calling. They may face rejection early in their career, but former athletes have thick skin and determination to overcome adversity to make their career take off, according to Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. He says your passion, conviction and perseverance will help you win clients.

2. Sales representative

Sales reps are responsible for selling goods or services to customers, businesses and organizations. Athletes have all of the makings of a top-notch sales rep, according to Rasheen Carbin, cofounder and CMO of job search app nspHire. These professionals will hear many “no’s” throughout their career which is why your ability to bounce back and push towards your goal will benefit you.

3. Executive recruiter

An executive recruiter’s job is to find personnel to fill vacant positions within a company. Just like scouting an opponent before a big game, these professionals must know how to spot talent and notice the strengths and weaknesses of an individual. Athletes are often fast-moving, action-oriented and confident in their decisions, which Hanold says is the key to success in this field.

4. Supply chain manager

Supply chain managers are responsible for managing the equipment, raw materials and logistics of a business. Athletes have the natural leadership skills it takes to effectively manage and inspire their team, according to Liz D’Aloia, founder of HR Virtuoso. Your natural scorekeeping abilities will come in handy as well as supply chain managers must keep a running tally of the day’s productivity to meet goals set by upper management, says D’Aloia.

5. Computer Systems Analyst

These analysts work with business leaders to determine the best technology solutions to help meet business goals. Computer systems analysts must understand the unique role of each facet of a company and how they work together. A quarterback and a linebacker have different duties on the field, but both are working towards the same goal. Athletes possess the holistic mindset needed to succeed in this position.

6. Marketing manager

Marketers create a plan to engage customers with a company’s brand and products. Teamwork is at the heart of marketing, and no one understands how to work with others better than an athlete, according to Erik Episcopo, career advisor and hiring manager at Resume Genius. Your ability to cooperate with others to achieve a common goal makes a career in marketing a great option for you.

7. Franchise owner

Franchisees are small business owners who run their own division of an existing company, like a Subway or Anytime Fitness. They’re tasked with maintaining the status quo of the company’s brand while making their location profitable. Athletes have had plenty of practice sticking to the playbook and following the coach’s lead. A successful franchisee will carefully follow the instructions they’re given for how to maintain and grow their business, says Anna Wilds, CEO and founder of Franchise Locators.

8. Project manager

These professionals oversee the various moving pieces within a company to ensure a project is completely on time and on budget. The project manager must make sure every team member is following the same game plan, which is a familiar concept for athletes. Being able to properly delegate tasks is another important job duty in which athletes will excel.

9. Teacher

Teachers are responsible for helping adolescents learn and mature. Your former coaches have showed you various teaching strategies on how to effectively develop individuals. The time and preparation it takes to create a lesson plan for a classroom is also very similar to planning for a big game.

10. Physical therapist

A physical therapist is a healthcare professional who helps patients prevent and rehabilitate sports-related injuries. Your athletic background has given you firsthand knowledge of athletic injuries and smart fitness practices, Cohen says.

You’ll be in the perfect position to work with your patients on achieving their health goals so they can get back in the game.

Are you ready to make the play?

Now you have some great ideas of careers that will capitalize on your competitive background. You have the game plan, now it’s time to plan your next move.

You’ll notice these careers span across several industries, so check out this career aptitude test to determine which is best suited for you.

About the author

Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

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