For the resume – it’s about the entire person, not just the athlete. Express your nature, skills, and your track record of success. Think about those things and how they transfer or translate within the industry or company you are interviewing with. Include off the field/court activities, interests, and any unique hobbies or skills.

Think about and articulate the impact that your presence had on successful outcomes.

Here’s an example: Mentored and coached other players in areas that led to a 10% improvement in foul shooting percentage. Started a “rookie program” to help new team members get aquatinted with the team and culture. Early season performance improved from an 8 win, 7 loss start in 2018 to 12 win, 3 loss record in 2019.

Other thoughts for the retiring athlete:

It’s all about reshaping your thinking and making a shift (if you need one).

Things are the same for you as they would be for a professional who just left a high paying sales job, but wants to leave sales for another industry and role. In sports, you’re either player, coach, or management. In business, you’re either a player (employee), coach (manager), or management (executive leadership).

Things are also a little different. In sports, you win or you lose (hopefully, you enjoy playing the game, as well).

In business and in professional jobs, it’s similar, but not the same. You can win and lose. But you can also “not lose” and keep playing.  

I’d tell the highest level athlete the following: Listen up Andrew Luck – Go forward as you do. Train, practice, warm-up, and go play. in order to get through the interview process and end up with a job offer that you want (that’s a “win”), you need to have a string of games (interviews) that you don’t “lose” or foul out of. You don’t have to win. You need to get through the process and make the team.

Talk to people who you trust and professionals that can help.

When you stop playing, you may have a small (or big) crisis about your self-identity and worth. Stats, scores, batting averages, shooting percentages determine your “worth” as a paid athlete – not as a person or contributor off the court/field.  This is a normal feeling and might be mild or intense.

Moving from an athlete’s life and lifestyle to a more traditional professional role can be intense in terms of disposable income, financial planning, travel, etc. For some, it’s a welcome change. For others, it can be like going from 60 mph to zero on a dime. You may feel this way in some areas but not others and the feelings may come and go or be more pronounced and intense.

Highly-paid athletes retire extremely young and for the fortunate, wealthy. There’s one major problem – they are too young. Even if a player retires with a multi-million dollar net worth, they have a lot longer retirement runway than the typical retiree at age 65. If an athlete retires at 30 and dies at 80, that money needs to last 50 years! That is why we hear statistics about pro athletes declaring bankruptcy or experiencing financial hardship. The easy way to avoid this is to have a sound financial plan (don’t spend too much money and invest wisely) and make more money in retirement. You have time.