What's up: Sport teaches students transferrable skills
For a lot of students the main reason why they participate in sport is because they enjoy taking part and are passionate about sporting activity. However, sport does not only provide an element of enjoyment it also teaches individuals transferrable skills which for students can be crucial when heading into the competitive job market. Individuals build up a bank of experiences and skills which they can do without realising- critical life skills which many employers in society are looking for! In this Student Column of “What’s Up” we look into certain skill sets which can be transferred from the sport environment to the work place. The list is by no means exhaustive...
Communication is crucial in all sports- even if it is an individual activity. Success in sport usually requires strong and effective communication between players, an individual and their coach, and even communication through body language. Link up play can be vital between team mates with many coaches having to analyse a player’s ability to adapt to different individuals playing capability and chemistry. The work place is no different. Communication is crucial in all forms of employment. It is key to success and it is important to communicate to all those who have a vested interest in the organisation. Without effective communication progress and cooperation does not happen - so don’t just exchange best practice in sport, take it to the office as well.
Sport breads natural born leaders with many Captains and Managers being some of the most iconic individuals in the world. Being a Captain/Manager gives an individual a certain level of responsibility to provide support and advice for their team or delegation- a skill which is highly sought after in the work place. Every organisation has a certain staff structure with employers always looking to hire individuals who can effectively lead a team and show a level of accountability. So if you have had an experience when you have lead a team or taken on responsibility remember and illustrate this - don’t let this precious life skill go to waste.
Behind all successful teams and sporting stars is a delegation or support structure tasked with the responsibility to be prepared for the job at hand. This can be Kit Managers, Team Managers, Chef De Missions or even players. Before a single sporting activity is played a lot of logistical work goes into preparation and a player’s mentality is no different. Be organised and be prepared. Next time you are faced with a task in work or even an interview do what you would do before you play sport. Make sure you have conducted your research, mentally prepare yourself for the task being asked of you and always make sure you feel comfortable and well informed. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Teamwork and Cohesion
Joining a new club or team can always be a bit daunting for many individuals. The usual thoughts creep in to every one’s mind- “Will I find friends?”, “Will I enjoy it?” “Will I have the ability to be part of the structure?” Naturally everyone thinks this way but usually after a short period of time these thoughts start to diminish and individuals start to develop a bond with other team mates who can incorporate a sense of togetherness and team cohesion. The same thoughts enter everyone’s mind when they start a new role, but why should it be different to joining a sports club or team? Many interviewers will look at your key skills and gauge your ability to adapt to other individuals in the organisation. Always, make sure you use examples of team work from sport and illustrate your points and make it known you are a team player. A team that works together can achieve greater success than a group of individuals- the work environment is no different- support your colleagues and they will support you!
Enjoyment and a Desire to Succeed
Not all sport is competitive but for many individuals there is always a desire to win! Naturally individuals enjoy certain activities if they are doing well and succeeding. Work can have similar attributes. The desire to do well can, in some cases, motivate certain individuals to well at tasks- if they are winning or doing well it usually means that the person is enjoying the work or activity. When looking for a role try to think of it like choosing a sport to play- pick something which you enjoy as you will usually find you will do better at the task in hand.
Sport in many ways is similar to the working environment. Never forget to illustrate the endless transferrable skills which you pick up on your sporting pathway. Many employers look favourably on this and there is a good chance they will have been in the same position. Sport can be used as a powerful mechanism to illustrate your skills, so do not keep your experiences in the dark! The importance of skills acquired through sport are also highlighted in the project Sport Employs YOUrope, where EUSA is a partner in.
The author Christopher Purdie is a graduate from the University of Stirling and is the Vice-Chair of the EUSA Student Commission.
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