Ahead of the game – How sports improve your future employability

I am a sporty person, always have been and always will be. This didn’t change at all when I came to the University of Birmingham to start my degree in Sports and Materials Science; it’s even there in the name of the course I do. Most people play sport at university to be part of a club, to own some quality university stash and to go the legendary sports night at the Guild!

However, there is a deeper and longer lasting aspect to any sports played at university.  Be it playing for a 1st team in a BUCs league or a cheeky kick about every week in the university intraleague, there are aspects that can be carried beyond the 3 years spent as a student.  The skills aquired can propel you above others competing for the same positions as you in the great wide world of work.

There are the obvious skills picked up while being part of a team, such as the team-work and communication, that can be learnt and developed over your time at university even in the most basic of organised sport. There are other skills and qualities that can be learnt also, for example as part of a university team (I myself am part of cricket); you must have commitment to turn up to training every week to train, while as part of a squad of between 50 to 100 people there must always be an element of interpersonal skills and support within the club, the basics to any good employee.

The potential elements of success continue yet further if you become a committee member, as suddenly the responsibility of an entire club is placed in your hands. Time management then becomes a more significant issue as it becomes a juggling contest between university work and sport. When  you have found success at that it is one large feather in your cap when it comes to updating your CV for potential employers! As well as time management there is also a problem-solving element, e.g. ironing out any problems with the new committee for a new year, and financial responsibility trying to work out the budget for the year with regard to kit and equipment, training facilities, coaches and transport to matche, match fees.

Being in a university sports team (club secretary of men’s cricket) has possibly been one of the most rewarding aspects of my student life so far. This is genuinely because I can say I have helped improve so many people as cricketers and as people. Clearly a club, society or group of friends is not joined with the specific goal to improve your CV. The main goal of the moment is to be as good as you can be upon the university stage but in improving yourself you must help everyone else around you. It is in that ability to seamlessly slot into a group of people and work with those around you that will put you above and beyond those also wanting that job.

With all these skills being procured over the duration of your degree course, it may sometimes become difficult to remember what qualities you may have obtained and specific examples of where they have been used. A useful tool to help record these is >>PROGRESS>>, a service provided on my.bham by the Careers and Employability centre. This tool enables you to reflect on and save every example of skills that you input and keeps them for the duration of your course at university, giving an easily accessible list on which to enhance your CV from.

There are many other opportunities to improve your CV at university. It is not essential that you join a team, it would not be detrimental to your time as a student if you decide you’d rather spend your time doing other things; but a sports team is one of the easiest ways of having fun while also enhancing a CV with the qualities of a great team player and that combination is fairly unbeatable in the eyes of graduate employers.

Patrick

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About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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