When I was a kid, all I wanted to do when I grew up was be a professional basketball player in the WNBA. I’m fortunate enough to say that I made my dream come true, winning three NCAA championships at the University of Connecticut followed by a career in the WNBA and overseas.
Needless to say, the career of an athlete is short. It was important to have a game plan for when the time came to transition into my post-playing career. Whether you’re retiring from a sport or looking for a career change, having a plan will make your transition as smooth as Steph Curry from downtown, nothing but net! Here are a few pointers on how I made the transition from wearing basketball sneakers on the court to sensible heels at the office.
This is what I like to call ‘The Hustle.’ To grow your network, you must be proactive. Go to networking events and alumni meet-ups. Attend seminars and workshops. Network with as many people as you can to quickly grow your circle and establish industry connections.
It’s important to keep up with your new contacts so you can tap into them in the future. According to U.S. News and World Report, job candidates from referrals are two-thirds more likely to be hired. This is no time to be a wallflower. Strike up conversations and use every opportunity to create new connections—you never know where they might lead.
Social media is your friend!
Use sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to socialize with professionals that you admire. Believe it or not, you have a story that would be interesting to many people. They will be willing to give you advice or even introduce you to the right people that can help you in your career. You can find a previous lorry post detailing how you can use LinkedIn to land your next job here.
Informational (one-on-one) interviews
Informational interviews are an excellent way to connect with someone who works for a company or industry you’re interested in. They can explain the ins and outs of the profession while providing invaluable advice on how to break into the business. Informational interviews not only allow you to learn about their business, but they give the interviewer a chance to learn about you as a potential candidate. These meetings can be as informal as a phone call, grabbing a quick cup of coffee or drinks after work. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door!
“We’re talking about practice…” -Allen Iverson
Everyone knows to compete at the highest level, you must train hard. The same applies to your career. There are many resources available to learn new skills. Depending on the career you want, you may feel it’s necessary to go back to school. Internships or job shadowing are also great options to gain experience. Taking the time to educate yourself will make you a stronger candidate.
Quitters never win, winners never quit
Striking out into the unknown can be difficult. You may hear a lot of no’s or the timing isn’t right, but don’t let this discourage you. Keep knocking on doors, ask for help from others and do your research. Your hard work and positive attitude will pay off in a big way. As long as you prepare, your transition into a new career will be seamless.