How playing sports can help you get ahead in your career

We all know that playing sports can relieve stress and keep us fit and healthy. But what about the skills you learn on the court, the field or the track? Do these help you in the boardroom or in your job interview too?

The answer is yes, definitely! Inspired by the Boston Marathon today, we’ve put together some unexpected ways that playing sports can help you get ahead in your career.

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Active employees are seen as a real benefit in the workplace

If you played sports when you were younger, then it’s likely that it has a positive effect on your work ethic or career. For example, a 2009 study by the Bonn Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) has shown that teens who do sports regularly get higher grades, and go further in their education.

In fact, after surveying leading business executives, Ernst & Young reported that female job candidates that played sports prior to entering the job market were believed to have strong work ethics, determination, and team-oriented – all skills that are highly valued in the workplace too. What’s more, a survey of individuals at the level of executive Vice President of 75 Fortune 500 companies showed that 95% of them played sports in high school.

Active employees are sought after by companies because they have the skills to drive their company forward, and they generally take fewer sick days as they are less prone to cardiovascular, back pain or mental illness – another win for your employer and for you!

Adding sports to your application can help you get that job

With all of this in mind, it’s likely that putting sports on your resume will show your potential employer that you come to the job with a specific set of skills that not only serve you on the court, field, or track but in the office too.

In Japan, for example, job applicants very often talk about the fact that they run marathons or play for a football team in their applications.

This could be because marathon runners are seen as diligent, emotionally stable, conscientious, patient, disciplined, realistic, independent, motivated and intelligent, amongst other things, according to sociologist Susanne Kreitz. If these aren’t the characteristics that every dedicated hiring managers are looking for in new employees, then we don’t know what are.

So, next time you apply for a job, make sure to add any sports you’ve played to your resume and focus on the skills you learned playing these sports that translate into professional skills. These could include: teamwork, strategic planning, grit, communication, adaptability, timeliness, etc. With these skills in your application, you could really gain an edge over the other applicants.

Win over your interviewer by talking about sports

Make sure that you also mention the sports you’ve played and the skills you’ve learned in your job interview too. It’s likely that playing sport has shown you the importance of hard work, self-discipline, pushing yourself to do your best and learning from your mistakes.

If your interviewer asks you for examples of skills you’ve developed for the job, you can talk about how you’ve developed them by playing sports.

So, playing sports can help you to not only keep fit and manage stress, but it can also get the job you want, earn more and be more successful. It’s no wonder then that Barack Obama once said that you could learn a lot about someone by playing sports with them! Does your employer offer good sports benefits? Let us know in your anonymous employer review at!

This article first appeared on Kununu

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