Cadet Athletes

As a collegiate athlete at VMI, you develop many transferable career skills through balancing the demanding schedules of athletics, academics, military, extracurricular, and other responsibilities of cadet life.

These skills may be desirable to a future employer, which is why highlighting them in your resume, cover letter, and during interviews can help you stand out among other applicants.

Focus on transferable skills you have that are applicable to your area of interest (ex. leadership skills for a Business Manager position).


Images of VMI cadet athletes competing


Clarify Your Goals

FOCUS 2 is an online, self-guided program that identifies your work values, skills, personality preferences, and natural strengths to help you make decisions about your future career goals, as well as research career options based on your major. Use the access code "keydet" to sign-up.

  • Researching your future career field will allow you to highlight the skills most applicable to that particular field.
  • Attending networking and alumni events will allow you to learn more about your field of interest to make sure it aligns with your goals.
  • Consider careers that will benefit from your athletic experience (ex. Physical Therapist).

Transferable Skills Brainstorming

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What personal qualities do I possess that have helped me succeed as a student athlete?
  • What skills have I developed as a student athlete that can be used to help me succeed in the workplace?

  • Leadership - Recognizing the strengths in others in order to accomplish team/ organizational goals, strategizing, delegating, and motivating others.
  • Teamwork - Collaborating with others to achieve a common goal, developing conflict resolution tactics, managing multiple communication styles.
  • Time Management - Balancing multiple commitments, like training requirements, practices, and travel with VIM military requirements.
  • Communication - Communicating with coaches and teammates to solve problems.
  • Self-Motivation - Achieving personal and team goals.
  • Strategy - Brainstorming ways to best achieve team and personal goals.
  • Detail-Oriented - Recognizing the small details that can make a difference during training or competition.
  • Goal-Oriented - Achieving team and personal goals.
  • Able to Accept Criticism - Improving performance based on feedback.
  • Commitment - Loyalty to team.
  • Coachable - Able to take information on strengths and weaknesses to adjust training.
  • Works Well Under Pressure
    • Ability to make decision in high-pressure environments.
    • Quickly making decisions on the field.
  • Problem Solving - Using a system and data to identify, analyze, assess causes, and form appropriate solutions.


Athletics can be included under a variety of headings on your resume (Leadership, Athletics, VMI Activities, etc.). When including athletic experience on your resume, consider including:

  • Sport, division, position, and timeframe
  • Leadership experience (Captain, etc.)
  • Athletic scholarships
  • Awards and Honors (drafted, selected, recognized as, etc.)
  • Events/Tournaments

Think beyond your training on the field to other experiences as well, such as public speaking, coaching/training, or community service that you have done as a member of the team.

Student Athlete, August 2020 - Present
VMI NCAA Division I Lacrosse Team, Defender

  • Serve as the Team Captain, providing guidance and leadership to teammates while developing communication skills.
  • Manage a full-time student course load and military requirements with an extensive training schedule.
  • Named to the United State Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) South All-Star Team, Spring 2021.
  • Developed a strong work ethic to meet personal goals.

Outside of athletics, make sure that you are engaging in experiences that will help prepare you for your future career or graduate school. Can you job shadow an alum during the off-season? Does your schedule leave enough time to join an extracurricular organization? Being a student athlete requires a significant time commitment, but you should take advantage of opportunities to build skills for your future career. Some training schedules have more flexibility than others, so review a variety of opportunities, like:

  • Internships
  • Work experience
  • Research
  • VMI leadership roles
  • Job shadowing
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Community service/ volunteering


Academics and GPA can influence opportunities after graduation, especially for competitive employers and graduate school programs. Your academic requirements are also a way to build experience on your resume. Consider: 

Images of VMI cadet athletes competing

Online Resources

Career Services offers several online career resources accessible to cadets 24 hours a day.  If you have questions, stop by our office in 311 Carroll Hall or email us at

Handshake is an e-recruiting resource for searching jobs, internships, career fairs, and on-Post employer recruiting visits.  For assistance, review the Handshake Student Help Center for resources to help get the most out of Handshake.

FOCUS 2 is an online, self-guided program that identifies your work values, skills, personality preferences, and natural strengths to help you make decisions about your future career goals. Use the access code "keydet" to sign-up. Focus 2 Overview

CareerShift is an easy to use job search and networking tool.  With CareerShift, you can search multiple company and job board listings through one location, find inside contact information for millions of companies, and create and store your job search documents. CareerShift Overview

FIRSTHAND is a career information center with a wide array of online career information guides regarding numerous topics including resumes, interviews, and job-search advice. Also available are organizational profiles for over 10,000 potential employers in over 180 industries and a searchable list of specific employment opportunities. 

VMI Office of Career Services LinkedIn is a Career Networking Group for VMI cadets, alumni, faculty, and staff. The purpose of this group is to provide a supportive environment where members can get direction and support, solve problems, post internships, and learn skills to improve their job search and career.


VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders