The Ultimate Guide to Student-Athlete Career Success

Wed 22nd May 2024

Welcome to the add-victor guide designed specifically for student-athletes balancing the demands of academia, athletic excellence, and a professional journey.

Whether you're just starting out, or nearing graduation, this comprehensive resource will provide you with actionable strategies, insights, and resources to thrive in both your academic and professional pursuits.


Student-Athletes’ Unique Traits & Skills

If there’s one thing that is abundantly clear, it’s that students are resilient. This is particularly amplified in student-athletes, who have a history of preparing for the unknown and adapting to it—especially those who lived, and trained, through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student-athletes have built an ability to see opportunity in setbacks, and that characteristic is more critical now than ever. For many, their set path is often interrupted, whether through injury, defeats, or poor performances. Challenges, such as navigating academic responsibilities alongside athletic commitments, demand impeccable time management, adaptability, and optimism.

Take the example of Oxford Rower Ella Stadler, starting off the day with a 6am training session followed by a day of lectures and seminars before returning for another session in the pool or in the boathouse, only to do it all again the next day. This repetition, 30 hours a week, inevitably breeds an unprecedented level of discipline and accountability.

With such traits, it’s no wonder that student-athletes emerge as highly sought-after candidates in the eyes of employers. Their set of soft skills will serve as a bridge between the sports arena and the professional world. Whilst this is good news, preparing for life after Uni by integrating career proactivity into your routine will ensure you’re ahead and ready.


Proactive Career Planning Whilst at Uni

This period at university provides a great chance to work on your personal brand, research career opportunities for athletes, and get your CV as strong as possible—all these efforts will pay dividends when the right opportunity materialises.

  • Year 1: Lay the Foundation 

    • Begin exploring career opportunities—read job descriptions, utilise our Knowledge Hub to discover Industry Specificswhat a role entails, and athlete transition examples
    • Look out for relevant societies to join this year or next
    • Start assembling a CV—access our CV & Cover Letter templates
    • Utilise the add-victor platform, create a free account in just 7-10 minutes, and showcase your experiences in a unique ShopWindow
    • Be curious: attend events and workshops, explore your interests


  • Year 2: Building Momentum

    • Enhance academic and athletic balance—consolidate habits, build efficient routines, consult the add-victor favourite app list for organisation & well-being tips
    • Strengthen your CV with relevant experiences—a part-time job, volunteering (add-victor runs a volunteering programme), online courses
    • Consider committee positions and leadership roles within your sport or society
    • Connect & network, maybe find a mentoring programme or interact with alumni, a professional or a teacher you’ve built a relationship with
    • Continue career exploration, seeking internships and insight days, show interest in people’s jobs and ask questions
    • Utilise the add-victor platform for sector-specific insights and consultations


  • Year 3: Final Preparations

    • Prepare for post-graduate options: job search, further education, or travel
    • Finalise CV and applications: compile both your academic and athletic achievements highlighting your unique skills and experiences, and make at least two persons review them
    • Polish your sector understanding in what you are interested in or applying for
    • Utilise the add-victor platform for your job search, check your profile is up-to-date, browse the job board, and apply for roles—we can help with interview prep, etc.
    • Stay connected: maintain connections with the add-victor team


Understanding Your Graduate Worth & Value

Your journey as a student-athlete is unique; with dedication, resilience, and the right support, you can achieve anything!

95% of Fortune 500 CEOs played some sport during their time at university. Additionally, a study of 401,785 Ivy League graduates from 1970 to 2021 found that former college athletes outperformed non-athletes in their careers. They earn 3.5% more and attain 17% more senior positions, especially noticeable after 5+ years of experience.

Alumni like Will Yarnell (Rugby), Nicole Rajicova (Figure Skater), and Theo Sackey-Mensah (Football) are prime examples of how this delicate balance can lead to outstanding achievements in both realms.

Stay focused on your goals, prioritise self-care, and never hesitate to reach out for assistance when needed.

Here are some inspiring quotes hand-picked from former Student-Athletes:

“Most people playing sports would be surprised about how many contacts and resources they have at their disposal; those will allow you to get a taste of what different areas might look like (...) Get out there and speak to people as much as possible or even better, ask to go in for a day or maybe even an hour.” Ben Robbins

“It is tough but I do believe that the amount of time you have to do a task, is the amount of time it will take to complete. Being busy makes me work more effectively. I’ve learnt to put my all into what I care about, and that hard work produces results.” Ella Stadler

For more tips and inspirations, follow add-victor on Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn!

 Access & download the PDF checklist here

add-victor Infographics - Ultimate Guide to Student-Athlete Career Success