It is well known that staying in shape can have great spillover effects at work. But this writer, a popular weight loss blogger, finds her fitness routine is helping in ways she never expected as she looks for a job.

When I lost 50 pounds, I knew it would change my life; I had no idea that it would teach me lessons I could apply to every area of my life, including my career. I was laid off two months ago, and I’ve been on the job hunt ever since. While it’s well documented how fitness can help in your career, I’ve found that it also helps in my job search. Here’s how:

Setting goals

When I lost 50 pounds, I broke it up into smaller goals. Lose 10 pounds by March 15. Lose 20 pounds by May 1. While I’d love to be able to set a goal of having a job by, say, tomorrow, that part is out of my control (which is the most stressful part of job-hunting, as anyone who’s ever looked for a job knows). What’s not out of my control is how I go about my job search. I maintain sanity by setting mini-goals for myself, like applying for 10 jobs a week and reaching out to at least two contacts a day. Just because I don’t have a job doesn’t mean I’m not being productive. Accomplishing these mini-goals helps to keep me feel like I’m moving forward in my job search.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Running my first marathon and now training for my second has taught me about patience and the importance of saving energy. If I had started sprinting at the beginning of my marathon, I would have felt like death at the end instead of feeling strong. A job search is the same. The day I got laid off, I came home and immediately started reaching out to my network and applying for jobs and securing interviews. Within a few weeks, I felt so burned out from sprinting fast and furious right out of the job search gate. I’ve learned from running that burnout is a sign to take a step back and maybe take a few days off, and so I took a few days off from job searching to make sure I was doing quality job searching.

Be flexible

Just as things will come up while training for a race, so too will things come up in your job search. Injuries or travel can alter a training plan; one great interview (or terrible interview) can teach you the lesson that will totally upend your job search and lead you on the path to your dream job.

‘Trust the training’

One of my favorite running phrases is “trust the training.” Runners often remind themselves of this phrase if they’re freaking out about being ready for an upcoming race. The idea is to trust what you’ve done so far, and that your training has prepared you sufficiently. Well, in a job search, you need to trust your training too, and not be defined by your perceived lack of success in the job search. It requires sacrifice. Thankfully, a job search doesn’t require the same sort of sacrifice marathon training does, but some sacrifice is required. If your job search is going on longer than you thought it would, you may have to start sacrificing somewhere in your dream job: salary, location or seniority.

Theodora Blanchfield blogs about weight loss and fitness at Losing Weight in the City. She is currently looking for freelance social media/writing projects or a full-time social media management position.



    Love the post and the theme. I did a similar article – How Running Can Help Your Job Search ( and came to many of the same conclusions. The discipline you learn and adopt when running, especially when training for something as you noted, translates beautifully into the job search. I also love the comparison you made between getting laid off, then applying for jobs like mad and sprinting at the beginning of a race.

    Glad you’ve had success with your weight and I wish you the best on your job search!


  2. Source Help Five

    Not to mention that employers tend to like and trust more those employees who are fit and attractive. B*tch all you want, but it’s true.

  3. Anonymous

    Trust the training — I love it!! I’m writing that down an putting it up in my cube … and on my fridge. 🙂 I also love the points you made in regards to goals: you really do need to break them down. Otherwise it’s way too overwhelming.

  4. Nate

    In my opinion regardless of a job, your health should be maintained always to high and set #1 priority. Well yeah come to think of it, appealing is always better, for yourself or for the person looking at you. I lost 25kg from controlling when i eat, and put a stop to acid.

  5. Richard

    Its the P’s….. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance….. ie trust the training!

  6. PPI

    Just as things will come up while training for a race, so too will things come up in your job search. Injuries or travel can alter a training plan; one great interview (or terrible interview) can teach you the lesson that will totally upend your job search and lead you on the path to your dream job.

  7. Rebecca Thorman

    Wow, first of all I just looked at your before and after photos and they’re amazing! Congrats and kudos to you for all your hard work. I love this post because I often find the same things true – when you apply diligence and dedication to one area of your life, that will seep over into others.

  8. John Wu

    TC is so out of touch with reality. Her advice is to eat “wholesome” and “natural” organic food. What kind of person has the money for that kind of hipster diet when one’s unemployed?

    • ceara

      hipster diet? really?

      since you’re losing weight you should eat less anyway. and the more you exercise, the less hungry you feel. besides you DON’T have to overhaul your entire diet at one trip to the grocery store…marathon, remember?

      • John Wu

        You certainly do not feel less hungry the more you exercise. That does not even make sense biologically.

  9. Getwhatchuwant

    Training and work go hand in hand. The way you feel makes you a better interview, the way you feel about yourself makes you a confident interview, the way you look fits what the hiring manager is looking for. Also more fit people tend to be at work more often, always a good thing as a hiring manager

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  11. Hank

    I’m thankfully not looking for a job at present, but I sure can stand to lose a few pounds. Good advice and thanks!

  12. Melly Lifshitz

    That’s amazing. Losing 50 pounds sounds like a hard work. Congrats.

  13. Dr Scot Gray

    Great job losing 50 lbs! That is a great accomplishment. I really appreciate your article about persistence through the tough times. That is what we need these days. We need to be reminded that no matter how bad things look…there is hope and there is victory if we just keep working towards our goals.

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