Building Your Resume: Control What You Can Control

There’s nothing worse than coming away from a game, or a race, and having those “what if” thoughts running through your head. Applying for a job is exactly the same. But as athletes, we’ve already learned skills that we can use while applying for jobs that are the same as when we were in competition.

Namely, we need to be diligent with the things we can control.

Ultimately, we cannot control whether a manager picks us to come in for an interview, but we can develop a resume that leaves no stone unturned. So for those of you who are struggling to build a resume, here are four things that every athlete can control when developing their corporate resume.

You can control the length

The first thing you can control is the length of your resume. There is a lot of bad information out there about resume length, but you should be aiming to not exceed two pages. This can be a daunting prospect, but the objective of your resume is not to tell your life story, it is to give the hiring manager an understanding of exactly how your skills will benefit the job they are hiring for. Sometimes a manager has hundreds of applications to sift through before making a shortlist for an interview, so you are aiming for impact over detail.

You can control the basics

The basic information you absolutely need to include is your full name (including preferred name), telephone number, email address and (ideally) a link to your LinkedIn profile or personal athlete website. You’d kick yourself if the manager wanted to speak to you but couldn’t find your details to get in touch. This information should be visible at the top of both pages of your resume, so don’t forget. While the days of including your home address are long gone, you may choose to include the city you are currently residing in, particularly if the job you’re applying for is local.

You can control the detail

As an athlete, your focus is going to be on highlighting your transferable skills rather than your previous work experience, but don’t be intimidated. You can come away with an eye-catching resume. Here’s how:

Make a list of everything you have done as an athlete, even if the tasks seem meaningless or low-value. Once you have written out your list, go through and expand each point by writing out WHAT you did, WHO you did it for, HOW you did it and WHY you did it. The trick here is to be as specific as possible. For instance, rather than a bullet point saying “elected as team captain” on your resume, it is much more effective to say something like this:

“Voted team captain by my peers. Daily responsibilities included having difficult discussions about performance with teammates, upholding team culture, communicating coaching points to junior team members and reporting back to coaching staff on any player issues. In addition, I was called upon to engage in public speaking, television appearances and community events that represented the team in the best light.”

Positioned like this, the hiring manager can have no doubt that you are a responsible, team-oriented person who is open to having dialogue about performance and could be trusted with mentoring new staff. If left as “elected as team captain” there’s room for the manager to interpret what that means and what the duties were, and they may think all you did was lead the team down the tunnel onto the field.

You can control how you are perceived

Now that you have presented what your skills are, it is time to add some color so that the hiring manager knows a little bit more about you as a person. You may want to briefly talk about your hobbies, volunteer experience, professional certificates and any other skills and experience that may be relevant to the job or prove that you are trustworthy.

Putting some personality into your resume is often dismissed, but it can be just as important as your experience. Remember, if you and the manager share a love of rebuilding first-generation Ford Mustangs, there’s a higher chance they will invite you in for an interview. But if you don’t add color to your resume, they will never know that you share that passion.

How VIKTRE can help!

Not sure if your resume will make the cut? We have partnered up with one of the top resume critiquing services in the industry to provide you with a FREE resume critique. All you have to do is go here and upload your resume!

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