March 16, 2021, by Benedict Watson
Using Sport To Demonstrate Skills in an Application
Benedict Watson – Student Blogger
COVID-19 has had an impact on the number of work experience opportunities available, but there’s no need to panic because sporting experiences can be a great replacement for work experience.
Whether you have played sport at an international level or just for fun, your experiences can be used to demonstrate many of the skills that employers look for in an application or interview. These skills include time-management, a strong work ethic, ability to perform under pressure, teamwork and leadership.
Whether it’s training in the evenings, competitions on the weekends or even missing uni to compete, sport can definitely be time-consuming. This can leave you with little time to do work, especially if you have a part-time job or other commitments.
Being able to succeed academically while undertaking sporting commitments proves to an employer that you can manage your time well to maximise your productivity in the limited time you have to work. You can also prove to an employer that you can prioritise your time. For example, explaining how you prioritised sport at the start of the academic year, but then as exams grew closer, academic work became your focus.
Strong work ethic
Sport can be both physically and mentally demanding. The ability to push yourself in the last 10 minutes of a football game, or the ability to maintain concentration after hours in the cricket field proves to an employer that you are able to work hard to achieve results.
Ability to perform under pressure
This one is perhaps more relevant to competitive sportspeople. Competitive sport exposes you to high-pressure moments, perhaps with spectators watching or your teammates willing you on. Being able to maintain focus to perform well in those pressure moments proves to an employer that if you were placed in a high-pressure situation in the workplace, you can be trusted to perform well.
Most sports include some element of teamwork. Even in an individual sport such as tennis, you can use examples of being part of a training group as evidence of working with others to achieve results. Although perhaps examples of teamwork are more clearly evident in team sports such as netball.
Was there a time when there was a falling out in the team? How did you resolve this? Make sure that when talking about team projects in an application, you use ‘I’ rather than ‘we’. The employer is interested in what you did, rather than what your team did.
Being the captain of a sports team is a great way to display your leadership skills in an application. How did you motivate the other players? How did you make tough decisions such as leaving a player out of the team? And how did you communicate with that player to ensure that they still felt that they were a valued member of the team?
Even if you were never a captain, sport can still be used to demonstrate leadership skills. Was there a time when you delivered an inspiring team talk to encourage the team to recover from a losing position to win? Or perhaps you led by example by staying late after training to work on your fitness?
Hopefully this article has shown you that sporting experiences shouldn’t be undervalued in an application. They can provide great examples of the key skills employers look for.
After reading this post, you may be interested in the University’s Department of Sports’ Leadership Academy. You don’t need any previous experience with sport or volunteering to take part in the Leadership Academy.
Also read about the career skills Mollie developed through her sporting activities.
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