The job search process can be daunting, but if you have a strong resume and cover letter, you will increase your chances of success. To make your resume stand out, try to include a summary of your professional qualifications that feels like a handshake. To make your cover letter stand out, be brave and unique with your writing. We always take a deep breath and hope for the best after we feel confident (and have had our grammar enthusiast friends proofread!) in our work before hitting the “send” button.

Once your resume and cover letter are in the inbox of a Human Resources professional or headhunter, we tend to ask ourselves certain questions. Is my resume too over-the-top, or does it effectively display what I have accomplished in previous employment? Should my summary emphasize what I can do for this potential employer without seeming overly confident? Also, are there any grammatical errors?

Though it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, research shows that sports experience can belong on a resume. This is because playing both teams and individual sports teaches important skills like discipline, goal setting, accountability, focus, and how to lose. So if you have any relevant sports experience, don’t hesitate to list it on your resume. Team sports help to develop essential life skills such as collaboration and communication. Balancing the demands of being an athlete and a student is also excellent practice for any future career. Women who stay student-athletes while they advance in their careers are more likely to become leaders, frontrunners, and team players. These titles come with positive connotations that will help them find success later on.

According to new research from Ernst & Young (Chozet, 2014), sports on resume have a significant impact on one’s career success and the hiring process. The report, Making the Connection: Women, Sport, and Leadership are based on surveys from 400 successful women executives across Europe, America, and Asia-Pacific. Fifty percent of the people surveyed held a position in the c-suite, e.g., they were either serving on a company’s board of directors or occupying another C-level role such as CEO, CFO, or COO. The other half of the respondents occupied various management positions.

Nearly all of the respondents (94%) had participated in sports, and close to three-quarters agreed that a background in athletics could help a woman advance her leadership and career potential. Nearly two-thirds of those asked said that being involved in sports led to their current career success, and more than two-thirds noted that a background in athletics positively influenced their decision when choosing who to hire.

Some recent findings regarding what women in hiring positions believe – including how that affects the culture within their organization and those they are responsible for hiring – might make you think twice about whether or not to include your tennis or lacrosse experience on your resume.

  • C-suite women are more inclined to say that a candidate’s background in sports plays a part in their hiring decision than the average person: 75% vs. 58% as a whole. They see discipline as an important factor compared to other experiences.
  • According to a recent study, 37% of women in leadership positions believe that their competitiveness has played a bigger role in their success than women who are lower on the totem pole. Just 26% of non-C-suite women felt the same way.
  • A large majority of female executives believe that women who have played sports often would make good employees: 77% agree, compared with 64%.

Before you send your resume off to the internet, make sure to include any relevant sports experience. Use the skills you learned as an athlete to improve your cover letter or interview. Highlighting the power skills you developed through sports will help you stand out to recruiters, and research shows that being an athlete can also help advance your career!

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