The Pitt News

Building up resume a challenge for student-athletes

By Jessica Boddy / For the Pitt News

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Time is a precious commodity when it comes to building up a résumé. College students need to make time for internships, part-time jobs and other work experiences. This time is much harder to find as a student athlete.

Student-athletes are worked hard perpetually throughout their college careers. Between classes and practice, games and travel, players try to bolster their resume with sporting experience rather than training in the workforce.

As a volleyball player here at Pitt, I know personally that collegiate athletes rarely have time to factor work experiences into their busy schedules. Imagine having to go to meetings with your coach, your dietitian and your academic adviser to ensure your eligibility, health and academics are on track. Then you have weightlifting, conditioning, team practice, individual practice — and you can’t forget about medical treatment, because god forbid you miss your ankle rehab and tear a ligament next week. According to Business Insider, the average student-athlete spends 40 hours a week practicing.

It’s not as if these commitments are a light undertaking on a physical level, either. Trudging up the Cathedral steps to the third floor to make it to your philosophy lecture on time can be physically laborious after a tough morning of squats, cleans, RDLs and ladder sprints. 

Then, of course, there’s traveling and competition. In-season athletes are traditionally not on campus for half of the week that they travel, making the chances of attending all classes that week slim. There’s hardly any room for a good night’s sleep, much less any work experience. Instead, the skills gained as varsity athlete will have to suffice on my résumé 

As I’ve never found time to work at a job or internship during my Pitt athletics career, I got the perspective of someone who did. The softball team’s Morgan Choe worked in the service industry over winter breaks in Kirtland, Ohio . Choe actually continued her job into her offseason, but had to sacrifice her scarce and precious free weekends to return to work — or else she would have lost her job. 

Choe, a junior, reiterated that having an extra professional commitment during the academic year would be extremely demanding in addition to athletics.

“If we were actually [at Pitt] and having a job, it’d be impossible,” Choe said. “We do lack job experience.”

For the majority of athletes, the absent work experience alongside undergraduate studies can be detrimental to landing your dream job after graduation. That being said, the job market isn’t anything collegiate student-athletes can’t handle.

Although, perhaps, lacking an internship or two, an athlete’s resumé can include something very unique – intercollegiate sports. Many athletes at Pitt, including myself, have added this section to our resumés to give them the extra punch they needed. 

Certainly we have gained significant skills through the process of practicing a sport from childhood, getting recruited and continuing to play that sport at a high level — especially Division I — while balancing other important aspects of life. 

During my volleyball career at Pitt, I became more committed and responsible after attending practices, workouts, meetings and other team functions on a regular basis. Quick thinking and decision-making skills are an essential part of the game of volleyball, but these skills are also easily transferred to the workplace. Mentoring younger players allowed me to hone my leadership skills, and obviously working together in a team setting is something that comes naturally after being forced to communicate and perform efficiently under pressure situations during practice and, more importantly, during matches. Those describing a part-time job or internship also list similar abilities on a resume. Showing these skills gained from athletics is most definitely comparable to what another applicant would list as gained from work experience. 

After all, athletes work hard to get and keep their spot on a collegiate team starting at a young age and continuing through the end of their careers. All of the abilities gained along the way are equivalent to those from a job and should be considered as such — let’s hope our future employers think so, too.

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Building up resume a challenge for student-athletes