AIU Blog

The AIU blog shares ideas, information and tips aimed at helping you get ahead personally and professionally, with topics ranging from online learning success to career development.

How Your Job Search is Like a Marathon

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26.2 miles. That is the length of a marathon. It is one of the most grueling races, yet there are many people who are able to accomplish this feat. How?


Nobody is able to successfully complete a marathon without training for it properly. They train, they stretch, and they make sure they have the proper equipment. You can't just drive up to the starting line wearing your polo shirt, jeans, and hiking boots and expect to compete.

So why are so many people using this strategy with their job search?

Having a poor resume is like running a marathon with your shoes tied together. Sure, you may get to the finish line eventually, but why would you want to waste your time and put undue stress on yourself? First, make sure you have the proper shoes. There is no one-size-fits-all shoe for a marathon, and the same goes for your resume. Each resume should be molded to fit an individual's needs and skills set. Cater your resume to the position you are applying for. Go through the job description. Does your resume clearly showcase the skills and qualifications needed for this position?

As each runner trains, they begin to understand their strengths and weaknesses. They look to see how their strengths will best impact the race. Each job seeker should also know what they are good at. What skills can they bring to an organization? Identifying your skill set can be very important in determining what types of positions you should be seeking, as well as assisting in giving you an edge in your interview. Once you have your skills identified, try creating an Elevator Pitch. This is a 30-90 second speech you would give to show how you can benefit an organization. It is great to use at networking events, career fairs and on an interview.

Every marathon runner needs a proper diet. This allows them to get through the race without losing steam. You can do everything else right in your search, but if you don't add the proper fuel of networking and creating a personal brand, you may not be able to reach your full professional potential. Creating a strong network is critical when preparing for a job search. One of the best ways to get started is by becoming an active member of LinkedIn. LinkedIn has many great features to help you begin a successful career search. It allows you to showcase your talent and experience, connect with professionals, apply for positions, and stay up to date with your industry.

Going through the preparation regimen above might seem like a lot of work, but as with a marathon, it can make all the difference in helping you successfully reach your goal.

Learn more about getting your career moving in the right direction. Download our guide, "How to Go From the Job You Have to the Career You Want."

If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at