Every year towards December, the Standard Chartered Marathon fever grips the nation.

There are some reasons for this:

    * Avid runners doing the marathon for passion;

    * Avid runners doing the marathon for the money/trophy/certificate of completion;

    * Grumpy citizens who have to endure the numerous roadblocks till 1pm

Whichever reason it is, there’s no denying the determination of a marathoner to finish a 42 odd km route. That’s not forgetting the rest of the runners clocking 21.1 km and 10km – kudos to all!

For those who have accomplished their runs, they know better than anyone that a marathon is a test of limits. It is an excellent example of what it means to set a goal, work towards it and finally achieving it.

And for job seekers, running a marathon draws more parallels in more ways than one. Here’s why:

Set a goal

Marathon runners are great at setting a goal and seeing themselves achieving it. 42.195km under four hours? That’s a goal. The same applies for your job hunt. Set one and make sure you attain it. No matter how many obstacles you may face, be specific and hold that vision of the job you want. What is the minimum salary you want to earn? What kind of working environment do you like? All these help to form a clearer picture of what you are aiming for and how you can go about achieving it.

Be Prepared

You wouldn’t show up in a marathon wearing uncomfortable shoes or think you can finish a marathon with minimal training. Similarly before a job interview, you wouldn’t forget to bring your application materials or read through the history and profile of the company you are interviewing for. If you are well prepared, half the battle is easily won.

Networking

Very often, landing your dream job takes more than the requisite resume and waiting to be called up for interviews. Explore avenues that allow you to network - you can get your name in the industry faster and more effectively if you know the right people. Spread the word among your circle of friends, family and acquaintances too. In other words, you don’t have to do it alone. The same goes for marathons. It’s easier to train, be motivated and run the race on the day if you are part of a group of like-minded runners or if you join a running clinic.

In for the Long Run

The marathon is 42.195km long. That is about 106 laps around the stadium track, which adds up to a whole lot of repetitive scenery. Looking for and getting your ideal job also requires patience – sending one resume a week isn’t going to help speed up your employment status. Success doesn’t come overnight. Cultivate the determination and mental strength to endure and get through the long-drawn process of writing and sending resumes, first and second interviews, ability and personality tests and the perpetual wait for the acceptance/rejection letters.

Stay positive

In a marathon, it’s easy to give in to the pain in your thighs and arms by slowing down to a walk and eventually giving up the race. That’s why marathoners tend to write words of encouragement on a paper clipped to their back, to inspire others to keep on going. A job search is another example of a mental process. Rejections from a few companies do not indicate the end of the world. You are probably not suitable for their company requirements or someone else fitted the job description better. There’s an ideal job for you out there somewhere and breeding negativity will only encourage fear and anxiety. Hang out with happy motivated friends and read up on books and articles that will help you view your job prospects more positively.

All that said, you can take up running to get a feel of what it means to train for the focus, mental strength and dedication to the sport. But remember, a marathon is not a sprint. What’s most important is to run at your own time, own pace and to finish the race while enjoying the journey – just like what job hunting entails.