Ways to Prepare for a Gold Medal Job Search: Inspiration from the Olympics

I hope you are enjoying watching some of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics like I am these couple of weeks.

Personally, I am a huge volleyball fan, because I played competitive volleyball myself in school, and my niece is a Division 1 college player and possible future Olympic hopeful (!)

I also have been simply AMAZED by all the gymnasts which I’ve watched every Olympics since I was a kid – who else remembers watching Mary Lou Retton on network TV in the 80’s?

These world class athletes spend countless time, energy and resources to prepare for their competitions, undoubtedly.

What about you, job seekers?

How much do YOU invest in your job search?


Sunisa Lee, Women’s Gymnastics & 

Katie Ledecky, Women’s Swimming

 (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)


Here’s some ways to get ready to ‘go for gold’, inspired by some of the things Olympic athletes do to prepare:


They PRACTICE & learn: their sport, and any way they can enhance their performance

Job seekers: Read and listen to job search topic related articles / blogs and podcasts. Take online classes on topics such as up to date resume tips, content, and formats, compelling cover letters, learn to use LinkedIn, including profile best practices, joining groups in your field, etc. Keep up to date on trends and experts in your industry, too.


Olympians INVEST: in their tools, equipment, training, even travel. I read an article that said easily $100K or more a year goes into their training and associated costs. How’s that for perspective?

Job seekers:  While I certainly would never suggest you need to spend anywhere near $100K on job search assistance and activities, it may well be worth it to invest some in your career / job search. For example: in a professional resume writer’s services, interview skills practice coaching, maybe in a new interview outfit or two, travel to and membership in professional organizations and events in your field.

When it comes to career related coaching, ask yourself how long you might be unemployed, and the dollar amount that will cost, vs. the fees for professional support – what’s the ROI? Statistics show that job search time is cut by weeks even months for those who hire pros to help – around 70% got job offers within 3 months. Can you imagine an Olympic athlete without a coach?


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They are DEDICATED:  There’s an understatement! They show up, every day, and do the work.  They make necessary sacrifices. They are passionate about what they do and it shows in their actions and priorities.

Job seekers:  While I actually am an advocate more for BALANCE than “showing up EVERY day”, literally, I would say this example simply means decide what amount of time/effort makes sense to and feels right for YOU to dedicate to your job search, to finding better employment, and then DO THAT. Consistently.

To me, the key here is to make sure you PRIORITIZE the high value activities vs. just sending 20 generic resumes/applications to any position and calling that ‘showing up and making an effort’. Spend your chosen time *customizing* each resume and cover letter that you send in application to ONLY jobs you actually interest you in earnest. Strive to make meaningful connections on social media, not just rack up random connections. Focus on quality. Make it count. I’m sure Olympians don’t waste time walking casually and calling it a work out.


Olympians know that mental strength and self-care are vital to strong performance when it counts and that  including recovery time, this part of their training makes ALL the difference!

Job Seekers:  Take inspiration from Simone Biles, the women’s gymnastics previous multiple gold medal winner that withdrew from competition for awhile to honor her mental health challenges and protect herself from physical harm and emotional overwhelm (which could also then lead to mistakes and injury)

Value yourself enough to make sure you are supporting your needs to do your best in the right time and way. What that looks like is very personal – time in nature, quiet alone time, journaling, exercise, girls time, massages, baths, something fun to make you laugh and play, prayer/mediation, visualizing reaching your goals, positive thoughts and inspirational movies/books/podcasts, whatever it takes for YOU.

Prioritize time for doing these things as much as you do the concrete pragmatic job search activities mentioned above.

Recovery is essential to high performance; time off is non-negotiable” I read, in essence, in all the articles about athletes I read. Makes complete sense to me. I’m just glad, and bet you are, too, that job seekers don’t need to take ice baths to recover from their work!


Practice. Learn. Do the Work – Quality, Focused Work. Invest. Recover, Relax, Self-Care.


You’re well on your way to GOLD with this winning combination of practices for job seekers!