The most important section of your coaching resume is the information in your work history. This is the number one area where coaches fail to make themselves standout from other candidates! The top mistake coaches make on their resume is the use of generic and boring bullet points. Typically, coaches list way too much info, and the info they include doesn’t necessarily make them stand out in terms of demonstrating what they’ve done to improve each school/program they were at.
Most AD’s and head coaches will put your resume in the “no” pile if they cannot tell how a program improved while you were in a previous position. In most of the resumes I review from coaches at the high school and college levels, coaches tend to list what position they held and then list some of their general duties and responsibilities. That doesn’t make you stand out. Instead, focus on accomplishments, achievements, improvements…..how did you bring value to the program/organization?
One of the best ways to separate yourself from other candidates is to create a detailed list of things that were achieved and improved upon while you were at each of your previous positions. It could be team accomplishments or individual player accomplishments or other things that were improved throughout the program while you were there.
When building a strong resume, you need to sell yourself. You’ll need to build bullet points that show how you made an impact within the school/program beyond your typical responsibilities. On 90% of the coaching resumes I review, coaches include general responsibilities that every teacher and coach in the country performs on a daily basis. The 10% of resumes that have detailed bullet points are the the ones that make me say “wow, I need to interview this person.”
Think about the philosophies and methods that led to your successes as a coach. What types of things did you implement to ensure your players/team would be successful? You really want to focus on things that get you the interview so you can further expand on those things in person. Search deep for those things that no one else will have on their resume.
The biggest things on your resume that stand out to people who are on the hiring committee are the things that are unique. Remember, they are going to briefly scan your resume for things that jump out at them.
Examples of things you can include:
- Championships. If you did not win championships, show how the program improved over the time you were there. That progression could include winning percentage, wins in a period of time, postseason achievements, milestones that have not occurred in some time (first time since….)
- Team or athlete recognition or awards
- Statistical improvement – both team and individual athletes.
- Improvements in the performance of athletes in the classroom.
- Off field activities or programs that were initiated – community service, team building activities, character building programs, fundraising initiatives
- Other items – developing feeder/youth programs, college recruitment of student-athletes, strength & conditioning program improvements, camps/clinics that you coordinated.
These are just ideas to get you started. It is important to document all of these things throughout the year so that you can add them to your resume.
Often times, coaches are working in programs that may not have a lot of success. So if the numbers are not great, demonstrate the the accomplishments without the #’s. For example, just state, “2023 – established school record for number of wins in a season.”
When you have been with weaker programs, find other ways to bolster your resume. Camps, clinics, networking with higher profile coaches. Start your own instructional academies or some other type of side business. Part of my success in landing jobs has just been knowing how to network and market myself. I created my own marketing brand because of the side businesses that I operate. People look at all of the things that I do and realize how active I am in the coaching profession. My first week at a new job, the AD was sending other coaches to me on how to set up a camp business and build team websites. Obviously that stood out during the hiring process.
Here are the general recommendations that I make to everyone when they need to add things BEYOND general duties and responsibilities and expand on the standard/generic resume jargon:
- Be more specific on exactly what you did to contribute to the successes that your teams/players experienced.
- How did you help them improve?
- What contributions did you make that had specific impacts?
Anything that every single coach in the country does as part of their job should not be listed on your resume unless you have additional information that makes you stand out. For any of the generic things you have listed on your resume, if you haven’t discussed how they improved the program, then you need to elaborate. As I mentioned, be sure to elaborate on achievements, accomplishments, improvements — things that you did that really make you stand out from other candidates. Focus on things both on and off the field. You must get really good at documenting every area that the program has improved and any new idea that you implement. You need to document it throughout the year, not just when you are updating your resume.
Here are some off the field/court examples:
- If you improved player numbers or level of talent through recruiting, how did you do it? What was the percent of increase? How did you draw in better players? Those are the tangible things that search committees and hiring directors are looking for.
- Instead of just talking about study tables, etc, talk about what you did specifically to implement the academic progress program and what IMPACT did it have on the players? I can tell you exactly how we install our academic progress program, and I can give the numbers to show how effective it has been. Do the same.
- Started a mentoring program for the student-athletes. What was involved? What did it accomplish? How did it make the program better?
- Implemented fundraising into our program to pay for items needed by the basketball program. What type of fundraising? How much did it raise compared to what was done in the past?
- Camps…..how many, what type, how many participants, what was the impact on the program? Go into detail!
What did you achieve? How did you help improve the program? Where is that data and evidence that you brought value to the program? I don’t want to read about your “duties.” I want to know what you accomplished, how you made each organization better—go into more detail! The candidates that answer those questions in their resumes and portfolios are the ones that get the jobs!
Think of writing your accomplishments in an X-Y-Z format. For example:
“Accomplished [X], as measured by [Y], by doing [Z].”
We were ranked first in Division I with 83.5 points per game. In the previous year, we were ranked 58th. We achieved this through an innovative up-tempo scheme that highlighted our Point Guard unit.
When you think about writing it in that format, you will be able to go into more detail.
Focus on where you could expand on your resume to demonstrate you can bring to a program to improve it. Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself!! You need to add things that show how you made an impact within the school/program beyond your typical responsibilities. What things did you bring to the school/program that would really make you stand out from other candidates?
If you need help with your coaching resume, your portfolio, or the interview process, be sure to sign up for one of our job prep packages at The Coaching Portfolio Guide! We provide services that assist with all aspects of the job search process for coaches. Click here to get started today!
Written By: Bill Vasko – CEO, XO Coach