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Interview Tips for Former Athletes Seeking a Professional Career

As a student-athlete transitioning into a career, you are bound to experience the interview process along your way to landing an employment position. The obvious way to set yourself apart from other job candidates applying for similar positions is to prepare thoroughly for the interview by practicing your answers. Just as you would prepare for a big game by running drills and watching tapes, practice for your interview with that same focus. Paul Bear, former college football player and coach, demonstrated this idea perfectly when he said “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

One of the most popular questions employers ask job candidates is what his or her weaknesses may be. Many people struggle with this question because no one likes to admit weaknesses, but it provides insight into how well the job candidate knows themselves and their potential areas of improvement. As an athlete, you have received feedback from your coaches, peers, and mentors regarding your athletic performance at some point during your athletic career. You may be able to incorporate this into your answer.

Employers today are looking for specific examples that correlate your previous experiences to the open position. This requires a considerable amount of self-reflection on the job candidate’s part. As an athlete, take advantage of your experience in sports to show specific examples of skills you have learned, such as teamwork or self-motivation that you’ll be able to bring to the job.

Interview follow up is another must have. Employers need to know that the person they hire is passionate about the career opportunity. If someone has a great interview, but doesn’t follow up afterwards or waits too long to follow up, the employer may move on. It’s not hard to send a “Thank You” email after the interview and stay in touch. It also makes employers more confident that the person who follows up in a timely manner will do the same with clients.

At Athlete Connections, we are dedicated to helping student-athletes find jobs and transition into a career outside of sports. We offer many resources available to former athletes searching for employment such as resume tips, mentoring, an online database of available jobs, and even networking events to bring key corporate employers and student athletes together. For more information, visit our Career Fairs page on our website.