Athletes, much like soldiers, tend to possess certain favorable personality traits which the develop through their participation in sports among other activities, which also teaches them the value of teamwork, hard work, perseverance and integrity, in the face of adversity; all traits which are highly regarded by employers.
Because of this, one would assume that their transition into the professional world would be seamless and effortless, but it's actually surprising how many athletes find it challenging to find employment. They tend to lack the specific skills and work experience which employers look for in a potential candidate. Then again, employers also have difficulty finding applicants with the right personality trades for their culture.
“Companies hire off a resume, and then they say they don’t have people that fit their company,” said Chris Smith, founder and CEO of Athlete Network. “I always ask why they aren’t recruiting on non-cognitive skills like teamwork, grit and coachability.”
Athlete Network, a sort of "LinkedIn for Athletes" is a social networking and job search platform that aims to solve the hiring needs of athletes and businesses by connecting the two.
Launched in 2015, Athlete Network uses a data-driven algorithm to match athletes with companies based on traits and culture, instead of hard skills. The company has raised $3.3 million in that time and currently helps clients like Disney, ESPN, Stryker, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Fidelity and SAP reduce their cost of hiring new employees by about a third.