For many former student athletes, finding a career after graduation can be a challenge if they don’t go on to become a professional athlete. Sports programs require a huge commitment from their athletes, with training, practice, constant travel, time in the film room, focusing on academics, and games leaving little time for internships or jobs during college.
This time commitment can create challenges upon graduation because many employers require previous job experience. The logistics industry, particularly sales and carrier relations, offers great jobs for former athletes, including on-the-job training and a work environment that requires a similar camaraderie and drive to an athletic career.
What is it like working in logistics sales?
Logistics sales is a unique career path that can spell success for those with a competitive spirit and a willingness to work hard. Logistics sales representatives work with shippers who need their products moved anywhere in the world, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. They also work with reliable carriers to arrange transportation and load tracking for these companies.
These loads can be moved via truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal and drayage, temperature controlled, air freight, heavy haul, and more. Each transaction is unique depending on the shipper’s needs and location. The logistics sales representative is also responsible for providing consistent communication and updates to both the shipper and the carrier throughout the process.
The logistics sales industry is the perfect place for young professionals to springboard their careers and offers great career options for athletes after their playing career comes to an end. The industry offers a fast-paced, competitive work environment with unlimited potential for professional growth and high compensation.
Why is logistics sales a great career for former athletes?
Logistics is one of the best jobs for former athletes. This is because the logistics sales industry operates with the same characteristics that make successful student athletes: teamwork, passion, competitive spirit, and strong work ethic. These transferable skills can lead to great success within the logistics and transportation industry.
Teamwork is about bringing together distinct personalities with different individual goals who are willing to work hard—both for each other and towards a common purpose. Athletes have the unique ability to self-manage and improve themselves while working with their teammates to achieve a shared vision. This mentality can be applied to logistics sales and often leads to both individual and team success.
Passion is an essential trait that makes an elite athlete. After all, they wouldn’t devote so much time and energy to their sports if they didn’t have the drive and dedication to succeed. Many athletes have a passion to win and be the very best. The world of logistics sales is similarly fast paced and competitive, offering the opportunity to overcome challenges and become successful.
To thrive in the logistics industry, a competitive spirit is a must. This is another parallel to being a successful athlete. Many have an inner drive to work harder than their opponents and even their teammates, giving them more motivation than they might have on their own. Logistics sales can offer an environment that fosters competition to be successful, just like athletics.
Strong work ethic
The drive to succeed is an integral part of the mentality of college athletes, and it’s really what puts former athletes ahead of the curve in the logistics sales and transportation industry. For athletes to be successful in their given sports, they’ve dedicated their lives to preparing mentally, training physically, studying playbooks, and remaining academically eligible. Generally, the student athletes who excelled are the ones who worked the hardest—which is the same mentality and work ethic that propels them into successful careers in logistics sales.
Logistics sales is a perfect job for former athletes
At ITS Logistics, almost 25 percent of our logistics sales professionals are former NCAA college athletes, many of whom have achieved great success in a short amount of time. They competed in sports such as football, baseball, softball, soccer, and a multitude of individualized sports. Our training program is perfect for recent graduates who are looking for a career path outside of their athletic careers.
We don’t require much professional or industry experience to be successful at ITS. Through our unique and challenging training program, we invest in new team members and give them the tools they need to succeed in the industry. We also provide them with industry knowledge, proprietary training, and career development that gives them a leg up on other companies and prepares them for success in our unique industry.
Do you have what it takes to join the team? Reach out to us today!
Q & A with Mike Crawford, Chief Operating Officer of ITS Logistics
What skills as a former athlete translate over to a career in Logistics Sales?
“The skills that were ingrained in me playing all sports in high school, then football in college and the NFL that translate are: teamwork, passion, competitive spirit, and a strong work ethic. Work ethic being the common denominator to success and such a key driver for me personally, considering I only got my shot to walk on if I agreed to be an equipment guy. Teamwork is not just a clichéd word either, it really means something at ITS. It’s about bringing together diverse backgrounds and personalities with different individual goals and desires, to fight for each other and that all equaling a common goal. Next up is passion: the amount of hard work, physically and mentally, and the sacrifice you have to go through to compete in any sport at a high level is driven by the passion to win and be great. Lastly, competitive spirit and work ethic, you have to want to work harder than the person across from you, even the person next to you. Talent only gets you so far. I have seen so many players with superior talent fail because they didn’t put the time into being great. Players that succeed in their sports—they’re the ones that knew they had to put the time in. Sports breed that kind of mentality, and that competitive nature really shines through in our business. We love that in our employees, and we really look for it in our hiring process. I think that’s a company culture that we’ve really embraced at ITS and we’ve had great success hiring former athletes to fit that culture, while still having a lot of fun too!”
What’s your best advice for former athletes looking to find a new career?
“Many of my former teammates and other athletes I knew in college and the pros aren’t being challenged in their careers after sports. There truly isn’t a substitute for it in real life, and they miss that competition and camaraderie. I challenge all former athletes to keep that determination to be great. Stay in shape, stay sharp mentally, eat right, make the adjustments needed to be on top of your game now, just like you did when you were playing—but shift your focus to that next challenge, whatever career you choose. Don’t take the easy way out and lose the things that made you great- attack it with that same passion and dedication, and it will equal success off the field or court.”
Would you say former athletes have an advantage to being successful in business?
“Being successful as a college athlete or in a professional sport probably means you haven’t been able to get much real-world work experience, so it’s going to be hard to start out. I mean it’s been go, go, go in your sport, and then you suddenly stop the thing that has absolutely consumed your life—and go get a job. You need to deal with the psychology of your sports career being truly over. And now what are you going to do next? But I think once they’re able to get that first start, get some on-the-job training, they’re really going to succeed if they can apply that same passion and desire to a new challenge. It’s not always easy, but we’ve seen that approach absolutely succeed at ITS.”
What if you weren’t one of the best athletes in your sport?
“Ha, it depends on how you handled that adversity. Many times, those athletes that aren’t the best or didn’t have the most skill are the ones that worked harder and over-achieved to be the best they could be. We love those types here.”
Any other advice for former athletes looking to start a new career?
“Former athletes should really be aware of the logistics and transportation industry. Athletes are used to direct results from their performance and this career offers tangible results more so than any other industry. It’s constantly changing and equals a very rewarding career that transition well from the field to the desk.”
Do you have what it takes to join the ITS team?
At ITS, we can give you a successful career in a trillion-dollar global industry, but what truly makes us different is our culture and values, a unique fast paced work environment, and our ability to work hard and have fun. We’re ranked #21 in North America, but we’re only getting started and we need the best talent to keep growing. Watch our video to learn more about what it’s like to work at ITS!