Bandwagonesque – obligatory Olympics blog

Every four years thousands of professional athletes leave not only the Olympic village but their way of life as their retire from their respective sports.

For some of them they’ll be thinking about non-sporting lives and careers for the first time, which must be pretty daunting.

Now they aren’t going to have much trouble getting job interviews – if you were a recruiter wouldn’t you make space in your day to chat to an Olympian for an hour? – which gives them an advantage over many job seekers.  Similarly, some firms will be particularly keen to be associated with their success – recruiting them mainly for marketing purposes.

But it’s fair to say that they’ll also have to overcome certain preconceived ideas, such as:
– their fame may be distracting to colleagues if they join;
– working here will be a let down after their previous life – their hearts won’t be in it;
– there’s a high risk that the first choice someone makes after a massive life change goes wrong – do we really want to be the Company to deal with it?
– only single-minded obsessives reach the pinnacle of elite sport, so they won’t fit in to our work culture;
– and there’s loads more possible negatives too.

So, what’s there to do?  I reckon that the answer for them is the same as for everyone:
1 take as much time as you can to decide what career path you want to get onto – research it as much as possible, talk to people who do it, shadow their work;
2 understand yourself – what are your skills, motivations, values, abilities, limits;
3 only apply for jobs where there is a decent match between what you have to offer & the vacancy;
4 recognise that the employer is looking for a square peg to fit a square hole, i.e. understand what they are looking for and describe yourself in those terms.

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