Part of being a military spouse who sustains a career through moves, kids, deployments and all other challenges, is partaking in the job search. It’s a regular fact of life that gets old quickly, especially when you had to leave a job you loved due to a move.
One way to more easily come to terms with the seemingly constant job search is to look at it as a sort of race, with the job at the finish line. It’s a challenge you’ve trained for, but you’ll get tired and inevitably need some kind of pick-me-up over the course of the race.
If we equate the job hunt to a race, then perhaps we can relate the process of training for a marathon to partaking in the job search as well. And the best part is, you don’t actually need to go for a 5-mile run.
5 Marathon Training Methods You Can Apply to Your Next Job Search
Training Method #1: Start out broad, then get more specific as time goes on.
In races, this applies to practicing general conditioning until closer to the race, when you’ll move to more race-specific training.
In the job hunt, this means initiating the process by establishing a general idea of what you want to do, what kind of availability you have (part-time, full-time), what city you’ll look for a job in, etc. Once you’ve found jobs in your field, in your location, and with the flexibility you need, it’ll become easier to narrow things down. You can then begin to tighten your focus based on skill-set, interests, company culture and whatever you desire. You can go to interviews and see if you’re even the right fit. It’s all about whittling down the options until you find a great match.
Training Method #2: Partake in pre-marathon training to get a leg up.
Some trainers advocate for pre-training to work on speed before building up to marathon training. Pre-training also helps to prevent mental burnout because you’re easing yourself into the process.
In the job hunt, this means that before you PCS and begin the full-fledged job hunt, you can seek out the kinds of jobs available where you’re going.
It’s just about doing a little online research in the evening to see what’s out there. It will make the task less overwhelming if you ease yourself into the job search by approaching it casually at first.
Training Method #3: Each phase builds on the last.
There are a lot of different marathon training programs out there, but a number of them appear to follow a pyramid structure in which each step is built on the foundation of a previous step.
In your job search, build on what you’ve already accomplished and work from there.
You’ll need to have the key elements like a solid resume, a good job interview outfit and the ability to write a quality cover letter. Once you have those things, you can move onto the next phase. But take your time establishing a firm foundation first. Everything will build from there.
Training Method #4: Consistency is most important.
Most training programs mandate that you are consistent. You can skip once in a while or move around your workout, but don’t cut corners when it comes to a long run you have scheduled.
In the job search, you’ll need to stay focused on a regular basis until it’s over.
The hunt should be your “job” for now. You can always find new opportunities and perhaps even improve your cover letter or resume.
Don’t just sit and wait for someone to call you in for an interview – in that amount of time, you could apply to another amazing job and have even more options open to you.
Training Method #5: It’s OK to take breaks on a long run or even (*gasp*) during the marathon.
Feeling worn out? Stop and walk for a little bit. Lots of well-established and successful runners take breaks.
So do people eager to find a new job. You could literally bury yourself in applications if you wanted to. Don’t just apply to things indiscriminately; you could really burn out.
Also, don’t let the process take over your life. It’s one thing to be consistent, but it’s a whole other to turn it into a mountain of work and stress. It’s better to take the application process slowly, take a break if you get frustrated and come back refreshed.
Like a runner, you’re partaking in a potentially long and tiresome journey that will probably wear you out. Fortunately, you’ve built up a lot of endurance by partaking in this process multiple times. Each time, it will get a little easier because you’ll have a more solid foundation of experience to build upon.
With that said, what are you waiting for?
Grab some caffeine, whip out that laptop and begin your job search. And remember, there’s a major reward for you at the finish line.