For the student-athlete still in college, don’t wait until after graduation to start preparing for the future. “Network while you are in school; Interact with boosters and alumni, keeping business cards and phone numbers and reach out to them after graduation,” suggests Kevin Dahl. “If you have the opportunity, job shadow 3-5 of your parents’ friends at their jobs to get an idea of what industry or profession you would like to work in.”
“Plan for the future – setting yourself up not just for today, but one year away, five years away, and so on,” adds Angela Berardinelli. “I think when you are in the moment of the sport, you lose focus of what you need to accomplish and do to set yourself up for the future.” She also advises to reach out and talk to coaches and mentors that are a bit older and experienced in life. “See who they know and how to go about looking for a career after playing. They have gone through it or know people that will help you get started.”
Be mindful of the impression you create. “You’re an adult now – excessive jewelry and piercings and tattoos need to go away or be hidden,” says Brad Mullins. “Clean up your Facebook page and start a LinkedIn profile.”
Maintain the intensity, competitiveness, and discipline that have been a keystone of your athletic career. That drive will translate into the job search and set you apart from fellow job seekers.