If people ran their job searches like well-developed running programs, they would have improved success at landing their ideal job.

A beginner runner, like a beginner job seeker, may think it is about the gear and hitting the pavement hard. That is a great way to get hurt.

1. Ease it into – the importance of pace

Most running programs suggest a slow pace in the beginning. They mix walking with short running breaks. It helps you to build up muscle, improve your cardiovascular capacity and prevent injury.

In a job search, I see people going all out quickly, trying to super network, giving everyone who smiles at them a resume, and their actions are overwhelming. If you have not taken the time to train your interview muscles, you can fall down and make a negative impression. Prepare and pace yourself so you don’t hurt yourself or your reputation.

Takeaway: Action is important, but balance it with strategy and personal development for best results.

2.  Variety

Training for a race is more than running. I do weekly High Impact Interval Training (HIIT) sessions, ab-work, long runs, hills and speed work. This helps to build strength and speed. In a job search, you want to have a variety of actions every week. This means not relying purely on a resume, but also scheduling time for research, networking, social media and interview prep. Use a variety of methods to explore your career options to stay fresh and strengthen the search.

Takeaway: Schedule at least three different job-searching activities weekly.

3.  Scheduling

Race training means following a schedule. Most training programs are 10-12 weeks long. I print out my schedule and plan time to get all the activities in. If I have to skip a day, I reschedule it. In a job search, it is very easy to lose momentum – especially if you are at home and unemployed. Keep yourself active by scheduling time for all your activities. This is your job now, schedule how you will use your time and follow it. This also helps prevent you from taking on tasks that hinder your search – like babysitting the neighbor’s kids, helping people move, fixing someone’s website, etc.

Take away: Schedule your job search plan activities to keep yourself accountable.

4.  Rest days

Every running training schedule has built in rest days. These usually come after a long run and they are important. Ensure that you schedule rest days for yourself. Just because you do not have a job, does not mean you cannot have days off. Schedule them and honor them. These days will refuel you for the week’s work.

Takeaway: You deserve a break and rest. Schedule it and mark those days job-search free. Give yourself time and space to refuel.

5.  Mindset Training

Running is not always fun. Some days it hurts or feels boring, or I can’t match the pace I set earlier. It is easy to give up, but giving up will not make me a better runner. I work on positivity and commitment to the process to get through the rough patches. Job search often comes with rejection and internal struggles and you need to find a way to get over those. The most common struggles my clients have are:

–         Fear of rejection

–         Low confidence, feeling they aren’t good enough to apply for a job

–         Letting something that someone said about them years ago influence how they see themselves now

–         Indecisive about what they want and therefore not going for anything

–         Being rejected from their ideal job and not going for anything else

Takeaway: Find a method for getting through perceived barriers. It might be going for a walk, meditation, affirmations or journaling. Do not stop yourself from progress.

6.  Putting in the Miles

Every runner needs to put in the actual race kilometers. You cannot get strong at running without actually running the distances. In a job search, you have to put in the time and effort to see results. Spending zilch time on a generic resume and mass sending it is not putting in effort or time. Take the time to reflect on what you are good at, where you like to work, what you offer and develop a solid resume and LinkedIn presence that supports that. Prep for interviews. Do the work

Takeaway: Great jobs take the effort to land. Take action to build your successful search.

7.   Proper Gear

In comparison to other sports, running is cheap. You just need some running shoes and some clothes you can sweat in. Being fitted for proper shoes is a great step as it prevents you from injury. As your distance increases, there is additional gear to get like a running watch and technical clothing. In the winter, I bought a balaclava and additional layers. In the job search, you want to have the proper gear which really comes down to a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and maybe some business cards. If you do not have great gear, get some help. (I help people write resumes and human-voiced LinkedIn profiles, connect with me to work together.) You might also need some networking and interview clothing, depending on your industry and closet.

Takeaway: Ensure your resume is the right fit for your skills and the industry standards.

8.  Support System.

Some days it is not fun to run. I have a group of running friends who encourage me to stick with it. We send each other sweaty selfies after our morning runs and trade stats. My kids are occasionally into running with me, but always into cheering me on for getting out there. It helps. In a job search, you need some support. It is not always fun to find a new gig and having someone to talk to about it is great. It can be a family member, friend or a career coach. (I am thinking about leading a career club in Winnipeg. Send me a message if that is something you would like to see started.)

Take away: Identify the people who can help support you in your search.

Being successful at running or a job search requires more than just getting new shoes or a resume. They both are challenging and require effort. They both have huge payoffs that can give you a healthier and happier life.

Whether you are tying up new shoes or working on your resume (or both!) I hope these tips helped you to prepare to cross the finish line with grace.