Best Sports Resume Examples

Kellie Hanna, CPRW
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW, Career Advice ExpertRated 4.5/5 Stars
Last Updated: September 15, 2023
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For the dedicated athlete or sports fan, a career in sports is a dream opportunity to pursue their passion. Sports careers take talent, discipline and unhesitating devotion. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that opportunities for sports careers will grow significantly in upcoming years, so more and more passionate athletes will have the chance to pursue sports as an occupation.

Athleticism is a very physical skill set, but even athletes must be able to write a resume that communicates their abilities and goals. That’s why we’re here. We’ll help you build the perfect sports resume or CV and create an effective cover letter to accompany it. Plus, we offer some great resume examples, CV examples and cover letter examples to get you started.

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Sports resume FAQ

1. What’s the ideal resume format for a sports job resume?

There are three standard resume formats. The one you choose should depend on your level of work experience and career goals.

  • Functional format: Entry-level applicants will benefit from this format. The layout focuses on skills, allowing you to showcase everything that you can do.
  • Combination format: This format puts the skills and work experience on equal footing. It’s a great option if you have a few years of experience in sports.
  • Chronological format: Ideal for seasoned athletes and sports industry pros with many years of experience, this format showcases expertise through a detailed work history section.

2. What are some common skills required for sports jobs?

Hiring managers for sports jobs look for applicants who have a mix of soft and hard skills, specifically: 

  • Drive
  • Dedication
  • Teamwork
  • Verbal communication
  • Enthusiasm
  • Flexibility
  • Self-discipline 
  • Athletic talent
  • Collaboration
  • Agility
  • Critical thinking
  • Resourcefulness
  • Focus
  • Time management

3. What qualifications and certifications do employers look for in this industry?

Professional athletes typically need to have a certain level of talent and training. There is no formal degree or certification that is strictly necessary for a sports professional, but things like competitive performance and training are factors in the recruitment process. Coaches may need previous experience as an athlete in the particular sport or a bachelor’s degree.

4. What is the salary potential for a professional in the sports industry?

Highly successful athletes in certain spectator sports are known to be extremely well-compensated. The average American has a much more modest salary. In 2021, the average salary for an athlete was $77,300. Athletes are not the only sports careers available and other roles can expect different compensation. For example:

  • Coaches and scouts: $38,970 per year.
  • Umpires and referees: $35,860 per year.
  • Athletic trainers: $48,420 per year.
  • Exercise physiologists: $47,940 per year.

5. What does the career progression for a professional in sports look like?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an impressive 36% growth in careers for athletes between 2021 and 2031. This amounts to about 2,900 new opportunities per year during this period.

Career opportunities for coaches and scouts are expected to grow by 20%, with 39,900 openings per year.

For referees and umpires, the projected growth rate between 2021 and 2031 is 32%.

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