You might think that your Sunday League team is nothing more than a kick about in the park with your mates. But actually, getting involved in sports can be really good for your CV. (And not just if you’re hoping to take Roy Hodgson’s job after the World Cup.)
In fact, you might be interested to know that research carried out by British Universities and Colleges Sport found that graduates who were involved with sport during university earned significantly more than their non-sporting counterparts (around £6,000 on average). We had a chat with Ed Curran from the RFU, who works on O2’s Touch Rugby programme, to find out more about how being involved in sport can help in your career.
“I’ve always been interested in sport and always played it,” Ed says. “I’ve always been that guy who put his hand up to be captain. I was captain of the uni rugby team and then became chairman of the team in my last year so I was responsible for the running of it from a sponsorship, recruitment and general organisation point of view. That really gave me a lot of decent skills and I knew that it was something I wanted to get into in a professional sense.”
But doing sport can help with more than just working out what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. It also helps you to develop loads of those transferable skills that we’re always on about – leadership, teamwork, communication. And it helps you to build up experience, even if it’s not actually in a work place. “In interviews when I’ve had questions around giving examples of leadership, how you work well in a team, the examples I gave were all based around my sport,” Ed says. “I think there is evidence that employers really value that – they can see real value in that.”
Specifically, for Ed it’s been things like organising tours, managing budgets, dealing with the team selection process, handling issues like kits not being delivered on time and keeping people engaged with the team that have helped him develop skills like leadership, problem solving, budgeting, working with others and more. “These are all really tangible, useful things that you wouldn’t necessarily have straight out of uni if you weren’t involved in sport,” he adds.
And as well as all that, getting involved in sports can be a great networking opportunity. But Ed admits that this can be quite challenging in some cases. “I think when I graduated it was relatively difficult to get involved in sport because certain sports can be quite intimidating. You may not want to just march straight into a team environment where everyone knows each other and it might be cliquey.”
The good news is that lots of sports are doing a lot to try and challenge this with various different programmes to encourage people to try new sports and make them feel welcome in teams. The O2 Touch programme that Ed works on at the RFU is a great example of this. They run sessions all over the country to get people involved in rugby but also have a strong social element to them. “We encourage them to have things like barbecues and make sure that they have and area, whether a bar at a rugby club or a pub nearby, where people can socialise and network,” Ed says. “We put a lot of stock in that, whether it’s an opportunity for people to make friends or a networking opportunity because it attracts people from all ages and all skills and abilities and all walks of life.”
If you want to know more about getting involved in O2 Touch, check out the RFU O2 Touch website.
For more on working in sports have a look at…
- What’s it like to work on the O2 rugby sponsorship deal?
- Getting into the sports industry in Scotland