When your college hockey career is over and it’s on to the working world, you’re going to have to make some adjustments. For one thing, you probably won’t be able to stay on that 4,000-calories-per-day diet. (Commuting isn’t exactly penalty killing when it comes to burning off the calories.) Dropping the gloves will be an even worse idea now. The crease will only matter on trousers.
But some—many, in fact—of your skills will absolutely translate. And you shouldn’t hesitate to mention as much when you’re on the job hunt.
Positioned for Success
First off, relax. Odds are you are very well equipped for life as a former college athlete.
In 2016, the NCAA published the results of a survey conducted in collaboration with Gallup, Inc., in which more than 1,600 former student-athletes who graduated 1970–2014 gauged their post-college well-being. Those findings were compared to graduates who did not play sports.
In financial terms, athletes were found to be just as likely to be thriving financially. In four other areas examined by the survey, athletes fared better than non-athletes:
- Purpose (liking what you do each day and being motivated)
- Social (having strong and supportive relationships)
- Community (feeling safe and engaged, and having pride in the area you live)
- Physical (having the health and energy to get things done each day)
Talking about Traits
Let’s face it: almost everybody plays sports at one time or another, but few make it to the college level. You did. What are some of the things your college hockey career gave you that will translate well in the workplace?
You manage time well.
If you can handle classes, studying, training, practice, travel, and games, you’re a sure bet to be a very organized employee.
You’re a communicator.
Few bosses will be as tough as your coach, so you understand criticism is sometimes necessary and you don’t take it personally. You realize the value of sharing information with and encouraging your colleagues, and you do so freely.
You’re a team player.
You know how to follow, and you know when to assert your strengths. You can provide support or take the lead as the situation demands.
You’re achievement oriented.
You’ve been playing games your whole life. You know there are winners and losers, and you will find a way to come out on top professionally.
Yes, you’ve suffered losses. You’ve had setbacks. But you’ve negotiated your way through those difficult times to succeed as few have. As an employee, that tenacity will serve you well.
You played hockey.
That took commitment. A financial investment, to start out, faced by few athletes in other youth sports. You had to adapt to evolving rules and equipment seemingly every season. Before you could ever so much as play the game, you had to master skating, then devote countless hours to perfecting stick skills. You don’t quit. You might even be a little crazy—in the best, built-for-success sense of the word.
From the Locker Room to the Board Room
Where others will have goals, you’ll have a game plan. When others can see only the finish line or procrastinate until the deadline is upon them, you’ll know the value of working hard each and every shift. You’ll know your role and play it to the hilt. And yes, you’ll know when to fight—a well-placed argument can shake up a complacent workforce.
Moving on might be hard. It’s OK to mourn, just a bit, for the end of hockey as your primary focus. But remember that you will always carry that ice in your veins.
Author Bio: AJ Lee is marketing coordinator for Pro Stock Hockey, an online hockey store that offers pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. AJ picked up his first hockey stick as a three-year-old and hasn’t put it down yet.