Talking Transition: Going From Athlete to Business Professional

Have you ever wondered what it is going to take to go from being at the top of the sports ladder to starting over in a new career after sports?

You are not alone. This exact thought goes through the minds of athletes all over the world.

With the realization that the average career length for some professional athletes is shorter than your time in high school, more and more athletes are reaching out to coaches like myself for advice on how to prepare for what comes next. Very few athletes fall into the “elite earners” status in their respective careers, so they will likely have to work when their playing days come to an end.

The situation of athletes everywhere recently inspired me to work with Forbes on a piece titled “How to Transition Successfully From Retired Athlete to Business Professional.” You can read the article in full here, but I wanted to highlight something from the post for the athletes on the VIKTRE Career Network who are seeking inspiration and advice on their next big move.

In a section titled “Going From the Sports World to the Job Hunt,” the below transcript stood out because many of you are likely going through the same thing right about now if you are reading this article.

“I was recently advising a retired NHL hockey player, and as much as he had experienced a long and successful career — captain of his team, winning awards along the way — he was intimidated by how he might be perceived in the business world, and was dismayed by how his LinkedIn profile compared with those already making a name for themselves in the world of business. He said, “Mark, there’s no way I can beat these people out for an interview, much less an offer. I don’t have any skills that would interest a hiring manager.”

I have good news for those of you who are hoping to make that transition: It is quite the opposite!

Each one of you has been a committed “employee” since you were just a child, putting enormous time and effort into becoming one of the best athletes on the planet, and that alone demonstrates a superior level of commitment most employers would love to have. You have also proven yourselves to be highly “manageable,” as you have been accustomed to working with a coach throughout your career.

There are many more intangible qualities you will bring to the table that most “civilian” job seekers may not have. You are likely comfortable speaking in front of the camera, the media, and large audiences — a talent that most non-athletes struggle with. This enables you to consider roles in public relations, sales and business development that others may not be qualified to fill.

The elephant in the room is deciding what to do with your celebrity status as an athlete. If you remain in the same region that you most recently played in, or happen to be a renowned player throughout the country, you may notice that the public will be excited to have the chance to interact with you. If you can demonstrate humility and grace, and steer clear of the “cocky and entitled” attitude many athletes have been ingrained with, you will find that a hiring manager will see they can leverage that celebrity status to their advantage to get you in front of clients they may not have had the chance of reaching otherwise.”

Want to continue reading? Read the article in its entirety on Forbes here.

To get more information and download my free report on how to leverage your LinkedIn connections into interviews and offers, go here. I bring 20-plus years of recruiting and career coaching to the table, and have helped hundreds of professionals just like you land the jobs that they have truly wanted.

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