This week on “The Recruiting Corner” we wanted to highlight the overall recruiting process by explaining that you or someone you know has likely been through this process before. If you haven’t gotten started with the recruiting process here are some great articles on getting the basics down. Setting up your recruiting email and writing your athletic and academic resume.
I understand when you first start getting recruited and try to find that perfect scholarship opportunity it’s completely daunting and seems impossible; it seems as if you are reading and attempting to write in Russian or some language you just don’t understand. The interesting part with recruiting is although it may seem all of those things, the process really isn’t all that complicated and we have a pretty good way of explaining that to you. The secret is that again, you or someone close to you has been through this process before!
Getting a college scholarship opportunity has many steps but getting that initial exposure, that first opportunity, is no different than going out and finding a job; the keyword of the statement being FINDING. One cannot just sit back and wish for something to happen but instead, keeping with our overall message in recruiting, be PROACTIVE. When I graduated college and had to enter the real world I wasn’t just handed a job. I didn’t have a recruiter find me through my University and offer me a job right away. This just doesn’t happen all the time but from the way folks handle their recruiting you would think it does. Maybe 1% of the overall job market is “recruited” out of college or from another job to a new one. The same stands for the athletic realm; only about 1% of athletes in each sport get recruited with no work. These athletes are normally the best athletes and are sometimes featured on lists like Rivals, ESPN , or Max Preps. Outside of that 1% there is still 99% wishing and waiting for an opportunity. That 99% is the 99% that needs to make it happen for themselves, not sit wishing and waiting.
This means that, just as you would when finding a job in the real world, you need to hit the pavement running. Find out exactly what is being offered out there, what schools are you interested in, what schools recruit athletes similar to you, what schools do you academically qualify for. This is the same as an adult going out and researching which companies are hiring and then learning about the company. Once you have created a list of schools you want, this list of potential employers, you need to submit a resume. A resume is your make it or break it moment for employment, your employment is a scholarship or walk-on opportunity. No one gets jobs in the real world without a resume so why should you get a scholarship without one. That is right, you shouldn’t and you won’t. If you would like to be taken seriously you must put together a resume worthy of reading. This resume isn’t a 5 paragraph essay or 3 sentences about how great you are. Instead a breakdown of your academic and athletic skills just as you would break down your academic and job skills in the real world.
Once a resume is created you will have to submit it for review at the schools that you have determined you would like to be “employed” by. Coaches will review your information and determine if you have what they believe you need to move on in the process. If you do, you will likely be contacted by phone, email, or mail by the coach in which they will place you in an interview setting. These interviews will last quite a while and during them you will want to learn as much about the coach and program as possible; the coach will be doing the same with you. Again, this mirrors the job market perfectly; only difference is in the job market interviews might last weeks while some recruiting lasts years. Finally, if the coach determines you are worth the investment of finances or time they will make an offer of some sort. This offer is normally a scholarship or walk-on opportunity while in the real world it is compensation of some sort. You, as the athlete, have the opportunity to then accept, deny, or counter offer there offer as you feel necessary.
At any point during this process if you feel that a coach isn’t getting back to you then make sure to follow up. There is a clear line between being proactive and being annoying but sometimes an athlete must walk that fine line to show their true desire and dedication. If you send your information off and then never decide to check in on it, the receiving coach might take that as a sign you aren’t really that interested. Make sure to always understand what you are doing, saying, and conveying when speaking to a coach; you should be well researched and know what that coach and school is looking for or looks for in their student-athletes before you ever decide to contact either.