Just a few months ago, some of the best athletes in the world earned their dream jobs in sports. The NFL Draft is one of the most exciting events of the year for football fans, and for good reason — you get a glimpse on the best young talent who are ready to be the next generation of superstars.
Each draft pick has a unique success story. After committing their lives to training and learning the game, they finally seized the chance to make it to the pros.
Let’s take a look at the top five draft picks of 2017 and see what they can teach you about finding jobs in sports:
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The Cleveland Browns picked this top ranking defensive end as the first overall draft pick, and for good reason. Garrett is deeply dedicated to his personal development.
In fact, in August 2015, he cancelled his Twitter account to avoid negativity. He decided that letting others’ opinions stick in his mind would distract him from moving forward as a person.
You should adopt this mentality to stay productive by focusing on finding jobs in sports and moving your career forward. Consider giving yourself a ‘social media fast.’
Your social media may be hurting you more than you think. As a February 2017 study published in the Oxford Academic found, Facebook use was negatively associated with overall well-being. These results were particularly strong for mental health.
Don’t let the social media world drag you down or make you second guess yourself. Instead, invest more time in identifying the path you want to take, then be mindful of each step. It’s easy to compare yourself to others or waste time on social media. Just focus on you.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
As a quarterback for North Carolina, Trubisky stood out as one of the best bets for the Chicago Bears. Given the fact that the Bears have been in a long-standing slump, Trubisky faces a big challenge. He’s embracing the tough job of trying to revive a struggling sports team with a positive attitude.
“I’ve come to a place that’s crazy about football, crazy about the NFL, and takes a lot of pride in the city,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “That’s who I am as a person. I feel like I fit in great…It’s an exciting time. I’m very blessed to be in the situation I’m in. Now it’s my job to go to work and do whatever I can for the team.”
No matter where you are in your career, if you’re stuck in a long-term unemployment rut or making a mid-career change, you should alway approach big challenges with a similar mindset.
You may find jobs in sports that are over your head. You may work for smaller companies that go through a lot of growing pains. You may realize that your high paying job doesn’t fit your personality.
Instead of avoiding these obstacles, embrace them with confidence. Take control of how you want to succeed and understand that you have the ability to grow into the professional you want to be.
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
During his tenure as a defensive end, Thomas demonstrated a perfect balance of strength and speed. He is bound to excel in this position for the San Francisco 49ers, who drafted him in the first round.
Strive to become more balanced in your career. Just like Thomas, if you’re a well-balanced professional, employers will be more interested in bringing you on board.
Let’s say you’re pursuing a job in data science and you’re good at analyzing numbers. You also want to learn how to effectively communicate what they mean to those who don’t understand them. Your team relies on you to tell them what the data means and to offer solutions and strategies based off of that data.
To be more attractive to employers and to be a better data analyst, take classes on communication. Then, put your knowledge to practice in your day-to-day and demonstrate how you are excellent as both a communicator and an analyst.
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Jacksonville Jaguars needed a jolt in their running game. When they saw Fournette’s experience as a running back, drafting him was a no-brainer.
In his sophomore year, he lead the country with 162.8 rushing yards per game. He was selected early for a running back, which shows the Jaguars have a lot of confidence in him.
Let your past accomplishments speak for themselves. Use a personal website and professional online presence to highlight some of your best works.
For example, if you’re a writer, create a blog to show off your awesome skills. Define what makes you stand out, and promote these strengths.
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Despite an ankle injury preventing Davis from participating in the NFL Combine, he was still picked early in the draft by the Tennessee Titans. His college career as a wide receiver was more than enough to impress them.
You want to impress employers as they start to take notice of you. Just as scouts were interested in Davis before the Combine, you may have employers preparing to contact you.
Develop talking points that highlight how you are resilient and can overcome unforeseen circumstances, just like Davis did with his injury. Maybe you were laid off or lost a client or missed a deadline. Think of how you want to describe these obstacles and get ready to share them in interviews.
These top five draft picks shine for their own unique reasons. Adopt their strategies so you can find success in your sports career.
How are you preparing for your dream jobs in sports?