Workout Your Job Searching Muscles

treadmillsThere is a reason I do not go to the gym.  It is not because I don’t like working out, I do.  I just don’t need other people hearing me make deals with certain body parts or curse at the evil treadmill or weights.


This morning I tried to up the jog on the treadmill and my left calf muscle immediately warned me that if I didn’t knock it off I would pay for it later.  So there I am, talking to my calf muscle making deals in order that I can try to get back in shape yet still walk later.


I looked down and noticed I had not accumulated as much distance as I thought so I had a couple nasty little comments for the treadmill because I know it shaved off some distance just to be mean.


No one needs to hear those conversations.


It is my own fault, I have neglected my workouts for much too long so getting back in that routine is proving to be, well, let’s just say not fun.


I remember when I was in such great shape – oh, how I miss those days!  Years ago I loved going to the gym and working out.  Pushing myself, making friends with the weight machines, leg pressing over 250  – ah, the good old days.


Now walking up the stairs is pushing it.


But, that is what happens when you don’t use those muscles in a long time.


Getting back in the job search mode is the same thing.


Having been out of it for so long you forget how to use those important muscles: identifying your value, talking about yourself, selling yourself, looking for, identifying and capitalizing on opportunities.


You may have been used to doing what you do for so long all of these things seem foreign and overwhelming.  When you first start it feels like a pulled muscle – uncomfortable and somewhat painful.


But just in getting back in an exercise program you need to set goals, start small and be consistent.  Continually refine your methods to improve your performance.


Sure, right now I may be hanging on for dear life to the safety bars on the treadmill at the end of the run, but soon I’ll be using my arms properly during the workout and wont even notice the bars.  It takes time, practice, patience, a lot of effort and some reality.


It would be unrealistic to think that tomorrow I am going to be back in the shape that I want.  It would be wonderful if your first foray back into the job searching world lands you that big, beautiful, fantastic job – but more than likely it is going to take time.


Here is a workout routine to help you get back into the flow of job searching:


Warm up: write down everything you can about your current and previous positions.  Identify the value that you brought to each position, not just the duties you performed.  The who, what, when, how and results.

Crunches: Take all that information and start putting together the similarities.  Identify the common denominators that you brought to each position – these are your strengths.


Core: Begin to formulate your communication of who you are (value) what you do (skills) and how you do it (results).  Keep working on this until it is a tight compilation that is easily adaptable to informal and formal networking, as well as interviewing.


Walk/Jog/Run: Start networking.  Reach out to people that you know – family, friends, past co-workers/bosses – to let them know the job and environment that you are targeting and what you bring to the table.  Ask them what they are doing and how you can help them.  Cultivate and nurture these relationships and keep at it.


Push ups: Identify opportunities that you want to target and push your resume from a generic one-size-fits all presentation to a customized for-that-position presentation.  Identify their need and present yourself as the solution.


Cool-down: Follow up with any lead, interview or communication.  Write thank you notes showing appreciation and interest.  Maintain contact even if the lead seems weak – you never know.


In no time you will not be dreading the whole routine but look forward to it because you are starting to see results.  By the time you land that great job you are going to be in great shape for the next phase of this great adventure!



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW




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