Diana Schnetgöke


From high-performance sport to planning a professional future

You could say it’s become a tradition. At least twice a year, Deutsche Telekom and the Deutsche Sporthilfe foundation invite elite athletes to take part in applicant training. High-performance athletes from all over Germany happily take up this offer to plan their career after the career early on as well as to learn tips and tricks from the HR experts on mastering their own entry into professional life.

At the end of August, the Group Headquarters in Bonn was once again the location for an applicant training event with the Deutsche Sporthilfe foundation. With 12 top athletes, the day was all about looking for jobs, creating meaningful job application documents, preparing for interviews, and participating in video interviews. The final point was also presented as a practical test right away in a session with Deutsche Telekom HR experts.

Individual application tips

Thanks to their long-standing experience, Tatjana Lischka-Jacob and Tim Kummerfeldt know that a lack of professional experience is often seen by high-performance athletes to be a barrier to starting a professional career. During the applicant training, the HR experts therefore make a point of telling the participants to focus on their extraordinary strengths when making an application. Strengths that are really important in professional careers such as a capability to perform, excellent resilience, e.g., when dealing with defeat, and a pronounced team spirit.

That exactly this approach leads to success and gives the athletes* a good push for their "application self-confidence" is shown by the feedback of Sarah Brüßler, who got the 7th place in the kayak double at 500m at the 2021 World Canoe Championships in Copenhagen. 

"I am the expert for myself and my CV."

Sarah Brüßler, canoe athlete

A win-win for both sides

Each applicant training session is something special – even for the HR experts. “The composition of the group, the various prior experiences and types of sport, and, last but not least, the varying levels of seniority mean that the training sessions are very lively with an exciting dynamic,” explains Tina Klein, HR expert from the Learning and Development unit.

Tim Kummerfeldt also emphasizes: “As contact is frequently maintained following the training course, it is also possible to answer individual career questions at a later date. And it’s a positive side effect that we are able to enjoy being involved in individual successes.”

Cooperation with the Deutsche Sporthilfe foundation

The promotion is part of the “Sprungbrett Zukunft – Sport und Karriere” (A springboard to the future – sport and career) initiative. The foundation’s initiative offers elite athletes the opportunity to pursue their sporting career without having to worry about any severe negative impacts on their professional and personal development. In this framework, Deutsche Telekom, as one of the largest employers, provides support where there is an important need for support – for a very good reason. According to studies, elite athletes are particularly strong when it comes to a capability to perform and work under pressure, self-confidence and emotional stability, as well as assertiveness and ambition. This means they possess soft skills that are increasingly needed in companies.