It starts with a path.
It’s a path staring you in the face, taunting you to follow its course. This path has jagged rocks, exposed roots, steep inclines, and obstacles you never see coming.
But the reward.
The reward is worth every bruise, every mishap, and doesn’t disappoint. You won’t always know the way, but here you are, at the trailhead of the rest of your life.
I have felt this time and time again in my lifetime: ultrarunning and searching for the next move in my career.
For both, I very much held a learn-as-I-go mindset. There was no one to tell me how to do it right. Certainly, people voiced their version of the right way to do things, but these are trial-and-error, messy and gratifying life choices we need to make as adults.
I’d like to share a few things I learned in my job-searching journey - and in my ultra-training - in hopes that it inspires follow-through on that unfinished job application you currently have sitting idle on a job board somewhere.
The first steps are always the most difficult, albeit the simplest of tasks.
Putting together your résumé, cover letter, and/or portfolio is a tedious feat, yet a necessary one. Something I found especially useful, was reaching out for help. Ask a former coworker, HR friend, or even your spouse, to read through your documents. This allows assurance that everything you’ve written actually makes sense to someone outside your organization. If it’s confusing to them, it may not come across as intended to a potential employer.
When I began trail running, I researched what others found useful and read books like Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen and The Cool Impossible. I also had a core group of training partners who made me feel I wasn’t alone in my journey. In your job search, you don’t need to feel alone, either.
Remember Your Why
Unless you truly are the perfect candidate for the first job you apply to, there’ll be some rejection involved.
Running rejected me countless times. There were days my head just wasn’t in it – the distance I tried to push it to. Although I saw the destination ahead, I couldn’t mentally reach it.
On those runs, I would fulfill the mileage by mere heart. Feeling my legs weaken, I remembered that giving up may be easy, but it’s pushing past barriers that would reward me second by second and stride by stride.
Alas, feelings of exhaustion and disappointment will be along for your job-searching ride. I’ve been the girl who refreshed her email 30 times in a three-hour span. I’ve done all I could do to fight back tears, staring at another generic ‘we have decided to move on with other candidates’ email. I’ve found myself searching for what I could have done better.
That’s when you remember why you’re on this journey.
Let go of how you’ll get there and instead, focus on putting one foot in front of the other.
Your career is waiting for you.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
I’ve been there.
I’ve applied to a position I was over-qualified for, just to see if someone would call.
After weeks of rejection emails and unanswered applications, I’ve inevitably allowed discouragement to creep in. You know how valuable your skills are, so make sure to reach for the position you really want. Don’t accept a job offer, just because it’s easier than continuing your search.
Always strive for greater.
Strive for greater in all aspects of your life; push further than you can see ahead and enter into the unknown.
Practice Makes Perfect
It would be irresponsible to attempt an ultramarathon without adequate training behind it. When you get that interview, prepare out loud. Voice interview answers to an empty room or to someone you trust.
It’s an awful feeling, fumbling over your words and letting nerves get the best of you.
Practicing isn’t just for a middle school play – it can help you land that job you’ve worked so hard for.
Mind Your Manners
We all know it’s expectant to send a Thank You email or card following an interview. But what about the friend who recommended you to the hiring manager or your husband who helped you practice interview questions?
The people who helped you along the way deserve even more thanks than the ones who may or may not hire you. When you land your dream job, they’ll be there to celebrate your accomplishments.
Korbi Thompson is a life blogger who uses personal experiences in traveling, running and everything she’s learned in-between, to compose short stories and extend advice. She hopes to show the career-driven individual, seeking new endeavors in life, that it's possible to find a fulfilling balance.