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How to write a resume for athletes

Written by Chris Clark

Remember the NCAA television commercial that goes something like this? “There are over 400,000 NCAA student-athletes, and almost all will go pro in something other than sports.” It's true! The number of athletes across all sports, all levels, in the NCAA is nearly half a million. The percentage of those athletes that go onto the professional ranks is miniscule. Out of that group, the number that go onto play professionally for many years is even smaller. There's a reason that the NFL has earned the nickname: “Not For Long.” It's best to have a plan for after your playing days, and that means you need to know how to write a resume.

 Just as you market your skill set in your particular sport, you will want to effectively market yourself in the professional non-athletics ranks. Your resume is the document you will create that highlights your qualifications and experience for potential employers to review. Knowing how to write a resume for athletes is a key piece of your brand and professional strategy. Every student-athlete should have a resume, and it's a good idea to begin developing it sooner than later. 

AthletesForProfit spoke with Franklin Buchanan, founder of Post Up Careers, to gain insight into the resume process. He gave several important tips regarding resumes for student-athletes.

“Your resume is your marketing piece, your sales sheet, and the thing that hiring managers look at to determine whether or not you are called in for an interview,” he said. “You will inevitably be asked for one when the time comes to look for a job.”local-resume-writing

Use a summary instead of an objective

“Most people start with an objective on a resume. Ditch that, instead give yourself a headline title and write a summary paragraph of who you are and what you bring to the table,” said Buchanan.

Be specific in your accomplishments

Said Buchanan: “Don't just list the various tasks or things you did on a daily basis, make sure you quantify what you did in terms of accomplishments. In other words, don’t just talk about what you did, talk about how good you were at it. Did you work a camp for your coach? Or did you train 100 children ages 7-17 on technique to catch a football? There’s a huge difference in those 2 sentences when it comes to visual impact.”

Format your resume correctly

Said Buchanan: “I recommend staying away from templates of any kind. They usually contain tables to set up the layout and applicant tracking systems (ATS), the software that scans your resume for keywords, often can’t parse the information in those tables or will parse the information incorrectly. I also advise to stay away from a 2-column format for the same reasons. More often than not there is software scanning your resume before a human eye ever sees it, so you have to get through that technical gatekeeper. Then you only have 6 seconds to catch the attention of the reader!

Keep in mind our tip earlier about getting through applicant tracking systems. That means that you will want to ensure your resume is properly formatted. In some cases, simple is better. Many programs – like Canva, a personal favorite for creating graphics of all kinds – offer resume building components. However, if you are trying to get through an ATS, you do not want elements like a photo, tables, and infographics. If you are creating your own resume, it's probably best to stick to a Word document (.docx). The content is what counts!

You may hire a local expert to write a resume for you

A great recommendation here is, of course, Franklin Buchanan of Post Up Careers. Career management companies such as his can assist you with aspects of the job search such as resume writing, branding, salary negotiation, cover letter drafts, social media optimization, and interview prep. 

Find one near you, or simply reach out to Post Up Careers. Franklin Buchanan offers a 20% discount to current students and recent college graduates! Franklin has also completed NIL deals with college student-athletes, writing resumes for them and providing career resources in exchange for 

You can outsource the writing of your resume

get a resume on fiverr

This won't be a local solution, but marketplaces such as Fiverr and Upwork have a wealth of freelancers that advertise resume-writing services. The rates – and quality of work – can vary. Each of these marketplaces gives you background on the freelance worker, plus reviews from past clients, pricing, expected turnaround time, and information from the freelancer on the services to be performed.

Again, for many jobs, you will want the ability to get through the applicant tracking system, so you may want to check to see if your freelancer has knowledge and past success as to how to do just that.

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