Saturday, March 28, 2009

10 Ways The Job Search Is Like Marathon Training

As everyone around here knows, May will be a big month for me. Not only will I be graduating with my Master's degree but I will be celebrating Memorial Day weekend by running my first marathon. Here are 10 ways I think the job search is like my marathon training:

1) Commitment to the long run- Progressively building muscle and endurance as well as making connections going through the job search process can take a long time. Each involves commitment from the start, making goals and making time for the training, networking and applying. Overall dedication is key to success in either way.

2) Networking helps- Whether its tweeting about what to eat after a long run or how to break into the book publishing industry, there is no better way to gather information than doing your research and networking with those who have done it before or do it on a regular basis. Social media websites (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) can all be very useful in getting connected to others with similar interests or career goals.

3) Take care of yourself- The job search can be mentally draining, marathon training can be both physically and mentally exhausting. The key to survival is listening to your body and to yourself and knowing what you need to give 110%. Whether it's a rest day off of training, visiting a career counselor for some help, having a good cry or a eating homemade meal from your mommy, do what you need to do to feel refreshed and ready to go!

4) Dress for success and come prepared- You're not going to show up to a marathon wearing a business suit and you certainly aren't going to wear your running shorts to a job interview. It is also important to remember what you need for the event, whether that's copies of your resume for an interview or your recovery shake for your post-race snack.

5) Details count- Careful editing of your job search materials, including all e-mails and other correspondence, and paying attention to the details in a job description and your interview responses are important things to pay attention to in the job search. Similarly, in order to prepare for a marathon, you need to track mileage and nutrition. Things that might seem obsessive to some people are what may make the difference between your accomplishments and their's.

6) Take set-backs in stride, celebrate victories- Who doesn't have an off day once in a while? Don't get defeated if you have a bad run or an interview doesn't go as expected. Learn from the experience and move on. Also remember to celebrate all victories as small as some may be!

7) Stay positive and keep the ultimate goal in mind- You have to continuously have a goal in mind and stay focused in order to get there. Remember why you are doing what you are doing.

8) The Sprint- Sometime quick and speedy gets the job done. A short, speed training day will help improve your overall time in running and sometimes a quick search of job postings will lead you to the job of your dreams. The application may be due tomorrow so being prepared ahead of time will make even your shortest race a victorious one!

9) The Long Run- Interviewing can be as exhausting as a marathon and either can take up to a full day. Getting your rest and preparing ahead of time will help you in the long run.

10) Be PROUD of yourself- Whether it is a job offer or a finisher's metal that you walk away with, be proud of how far you've come and what you've achieved! You may not finish in your goal time and you may not get your dream job at first, but you've made it through the first step on to something that you can build on for the future!

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