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Five steps towards a successful sports transition.

Transitioning from being an active elite athlete into the more corporate working industry where you can no longer survive nor thrive on talent alone, is perhaps one of the toughest experiences you’ll come up against. Suddenly, you are no longer driven and supported by the cheering groups of fans, instead you’re an exceptionally young retiree - but you come equipped with so much knowledge and experience in life lessons and valuable insights that could provide tangible benefit to any organisation. The transition from sports performance to credible businessperson isn’t always easy but at ACT, we specialise in making the experience as enjoyable and fruitful as possible and here are five simple ways, you can do that too.

Develop your personal resilience:

You’ve championed several games and races; you’ve powered through some fairly intense work outs and you’ve pushed through to jumping over that last hurdle many a time. As a high-performance athlete, you’re incredibly familiar with the term ‘Personal Resilience’, so much so, that you’ll know it’s more than just a fancy term – it’s a characteristic that’s critically important in sport. Outside of this, personal resilience holds the same value in the world of business too. Statistics taken from a study carried out by C.V library demonstrate that 57.5% of companies favour resilient candidates. Having the ability to adapt well to change and challenge and react to setbacks and crisis with commitment and optimism is imperative when it comes to succeeding, no matter the industry you work within. Developing your personal resilience so that it is one of your strongest ‘selling points’ before and during an interview, can make the transition into new roles, a much easier and exciting prospect. Some of the best ways to begin this personal development are by setting yourself realistic goals, so that you aren’t overwhelmed by the idea of trying to reach the very top of the mountain but instead, can celebrate your achievements as you hit each smaller step in the process. People with a strong personal resilience are often those who continually focus their time and energy into the things that they can control, instead of wasting time and effort on the things they aren’t able change. These same people also look back on past failures from a more positive viewpoint, never referring to their failures and disappointments as ‘negative experiences’ and instead, something they simply learn from. If can practice these personal characteristics where possible and build on them, they’ll see even the most elite athlete prosper beyond sport.

Utilise your unique skill set:

You’ve got so many skills that are unique and invaluable to the right employer. Utilising your personal skill set to search and apply for the right jobs and roles is imperative during the transition from sport. It’s never too early to plan-ahead and thinking about how your experience can work well within other roles will significantly improve your transition. Are you used to speaking in front of cameras, audiences and television crews? This is a unique skill that could be applied to most public relation type roles. Many elite athletes choose to continue through their career using their sporting skills for roles such as coaching, commentating and managing. If you have a flair for writing, sports journalism may spark curiosity. Whichever path you choose beyond sports performance, there’ll be so many skills you can take with you, including self-motivation, dedication, time keeping and team playing. Demonstrate these at every opportunity.

Build professional relationships:

Building professional relationships and networking with people in business is one of the most certain ways to ensure the transition from sport is made easier and one of the best ways to do this is by using LinkedIn. Over 40% of people on LinkedIn are business decision makers which means there is a whole lot of opportunity for aspiring elite athletes. LinkedIn’s corporate social platform allows the provision for you to network with all kinds of people and companies and it’s a great way to make yourself known and get your name recognised long before the application and the job hunt for a new career role, starts. You can read more about why athletes should use LinkedIn here (link to LinkedIn article).

Explore further education:

If you are pulled towards another passion alongside sports, it may very well be worth exploring education outside of your sporting career. Many elite athletes have successfully balanced their busy sporting schedule alongside educational commitments. Studying courses and completing a degree or other recognised qualification could help create a smoother transition into various other roles following retirement from sport. It is also a great achievement to list within your personal CV and something interesting to discuss at interviews. The fact you were able to commit to learning something new whilst still competing and performing displays a strong show of dedication and self-motivation to potential employers who may be interested in hiring you.

Get the right support:

Finally, one of the most crucial steps to take towards a successful transition from sport is to ensure you have the right support networks in place. Athlete Career Transition specialise in supporting elite athletes through the transitional stage between retirement and future career placements. Our support programmes are specifically designed to link elite athletes with ambitious organisations and companies who are keen to work with some of the most successful sportspeople. We don’t just help athletes to understand and navigate the corporate landscape, but we also work with businesses to help them discover the invaluable benefits of hiring an elite athlete. You can find out more about what we do and who we’ve supported throughout the rest of our website.


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