Do athletes make better employees?

You’re a runner, but does that make you any more interesting to a prospective employer? How far should you go when promoting your weekend warrior status on a resume?

Surely your endeavours make you a recruiter’s dream: that feeling when you crossed the finishing mat in the Toongabbi 10km (achievement, check); a paragraph or two about the six weeks of hard training to get race ready (commitment, check); and perhaps a mention about achieving a new BMI, having lost two kilos along the way (self-discipline, check).

While being “well-rounded” is a recurring theme in the recruitment game these days, as is the quest for people who can “think outside the square” and perform other clever cliches, there is a limit to how much employers need to know at a resume or online profile level.

Julie Graham, director of human resources specialist recruitment firm Tandem Partners, says listing your achievements is worthwhile, but brevity is key.

“Regardless of the type or level of job you are going for, it’s definitely worth mentioning your sporting achievements,” she says.

“But the difference between interests and achievements is important. A lot of people put their interests, be they cooking, gardening, or running, on a resume, but if someone has done a three-hour marathon in New York or ridden from Sydney to the Gold Coast and raised $10,000 for charity, or has a black belt in karate, those things are more significant.

“They reflect discipline, focus, drive and achievement, so they say a lot about the person. And all those attributes are what a future employer would be looking for in a candidate.”

Graham says it’s good to demonstrate ways in which you’ve set goals for yourself. “When we interview, it is about the candidate’s skills, but it’s more about what their achievements have been. How have they made a difference and added value to the business that they are working for?

“Skills can be taught, but someone’s commitment and focus is what psych testing is trying to measure. Sporting achievements can be noted in a resume because they reflect those qualities.”

So how do you make the point on a resume without overdoing it?

“As a runner, you might pull out a couple of highlight events, or you could limit it to ‘regular marathon and half-marathon runner’. You could note ‘2013: Ran my first City2Surf’," Graham says.

“Don’t labour the point, but do summarise: ‘These sporting achievements demonstrate my ability to be disciplined, focused and outcomes oriented’.”

If there’s too much sporting information in the resume, the employer might start wondering whether they’re hiring you for the Olympics or the job at hand. So don’t go into detail about your long hours of training for the Ironman, but do note that you finished an Ironman.

“Keep it simple, to the point and put it at the end of a resume,” Graham says.

And if you make it to interview stage, wait for the interviewer to ask you for more information about that magic moment on the finishing line of the Toongabbi 10km - even if it is a great story.

How do you make your running achievements work for you?


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