Playing the Field

Written by Jesse Sannicandro

“Great moments are born from great opportunity, and that’s what you have here tonight, boys.”

-Herb Brooks, US Men’s Hockey Coach

Playing sports in your youth may have been inspired by dreams of grandeur. You probably had sports heroes that you looked up to and aspired to be. You may not have become the next Tom Brady, but being an athlete is a great opportunity to learn life skills and develop relationships that can last a lifetime.

Tom Brady

The National Association of Colleges and Employers did a survey to find the top 20 desired soft skills that employers seek in an applicant’s resume. More than half of these attributes can be learned by being part of an athletic team.

Attributes employers seek in a candidate’s resume

I recently spoke with Mark Flynn, co-creator and Chief Operating Officer of The Process, a company that was featured at CSER’s weekly Employer Showcase. The Framingham-based company helps high school athletes pursue higher education by placing them in college. Mark played football at Springfield College and works with, and employs student-athletes. This position gives him an excellent perspective on the positive qualities that student-athletes embody. I asked him what qualities make student-athletes good workers, and what advice he would give to those who are still in school.

Mark Flynn

He explained that the qualities that make student-athletes good workers are their “competitive nature, work ethic, drive, and self-motivation.” To sum it up he said, “they understand what it takes to get it done.” As advice to athletes still completing their undergraduate studies, Mark said, “Keep your grades up, that’s number one” and “make sure you maintain relationships with alumni.”
For further reading material, you can look at the NCAA’s website. They have a page called After The Game that is dedicated to “helping [student-athletes] gain employment in their chosen profession at all stages of their professional career.” This is a great resource where you can post your resume and find employers who are specifically looking for student-athletes.


Think of life as a student-athlete as the beginning of your professional life. You can parlay the skills and relationships that you build by playing sports into a fulfilling career.

“Don’t give up.  Don’t ever give up.”

-Jim Valvano, North Carolina State University Men’s Basketball Head Coach


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