How Riding a Bike is similar to a Job Search


How a job search can be like riding your bike.Anyone that knows me has seen me shed a few pounds this summer. I have been actively riding my bike, practically everyday for fitness reasons primarily, but it also gives me some time to think while out riding away from any distractions like email, social media, and the dreaded TV.

I love metaphors,

as sometimes it really makes complex concepts easier to understand. While out on my daily routine, I have thought of how riding a bike can be very similar to a job hunt journey.  Actually it could be similar to a lot of things, but for this post, it is about YOUR Job Hunt Journey.

Staying fit

Keeping fit in your personal life is even more important during a job search.  How you feel and look all add to your personal branding.  When I first started peddling this spring, I weighed 30 pounds more and could barely do 5 miles on the bike and then hardly 10 miles per hour average speed.  I can now do much longer rides, and faster average speeds as well. My goal is to continue to loose weigh and stay fit.  I do have an end weight in mind and I am progressing steadily towards my goal. In a job search getting started is half the battle and the longer you are in the search, it should be come easier to stay focused on the goal. You should get  into a routine, just like biking on a routine basis.  I miss it if I don’t get out more than a day or tow.

Which bike do to ride?

First off, there are a lot of different bikes anyone can choose:

  1. Road Bike – the light-weight, sleek racing bike with very narrow tires and the ram’s horn handle bars.
  2. Mountain Bike – a heavier study bike built for off trail riding, has some suspension & typically with knobby wide tires.
  3. Hybrid Bike – a cross between a Road Bike and Mountain Bike, with suspension, narrower tires more upright seating.

Each Bike is its own skill set and will handle different road and trail conditions according to how it was designed.

Similarly in a Job Search, you are designed different than other candidates applying for a job having different skills and abilities; making you a unique solution.  You bring unique talents and skills to the potential employer and can be the solution they are looking for.

Peddling

If you don’t peddle a bike, you don’t go forward. Have you ever noticed there isn’t a reverse gear on a bicycle?  You are supposed to move forward.  Likewise in a Job Search you need to be moving forward not standing still.

The Route

I like to ride around Lake Zorinsky, it is close to my home and convenient that it forms a 8.2 mile loop if I do the loop once.  I sometimes plan do more loops to extend my exercise. In a job search you have to plan your search, knowing where you want to go.

Hills

If anyone thinks Omaha is flat, you have not been out on a bicycle.  The first thing out of my driveway is a hill for a block and then there are other hills around Zorinsky.  Hills are a real challenge.  The first time out this year, I had to walk the bike up the hills. Now I am riding up the hills in ever increasing gears. They are a challenge, but provide me with a great heart-pounding workout. I feel like I have accomplished something when I get to the top. In a job search, the “hills” and challenges you face are just as trying and will make it a good workout for you too.  Don’t give up as your job search will be like a roller coaster ride.

Headwinds and changing gears

Wow, what can I say, I present a pretty good wind break and when I am biking with headwinds, I slow down. To make it easier to peddle I change gears.  Most bikes have 18 or more gears now. In a Job Search, there are 16 different tactics you can employ.  Larry Humberstone, one of our presenters, suggested you use 4 of these at any one time.  If one is not working well, drop it and select another. Change “gears” when you have to and keep moving forward.

Tailwinds and going downhill

I enjoy going downhill or having a tailwind at my back. It \makes the ride much easier. Still there is another hill coming up or around the corner the wind will blow in my face once again. Likewise in a Job Search, those times when things are going well, take advantage of them, but remember there will be another hill to climb or headwind to run into. Don’t let that stop you.

Obstacles

Depending upon what day or time of day, I will run across walkers, runners, joggers, skaters and other bikers. Some going in the same direction, some in the opposite direction. There are also a number of bumps and road debris along the trail that I have to keep an eye out for and avoid; pet waste for example eeeww! Well the same can be said about a job search.  You too will find other candidates going in all different directions than you and some in the same direction for that same job. You have to avoid anything that will take your focus away from achieving your goal.

Competition

Riding a bike for leisure or exercise, one does not often get into competitive thinking.  Still there have been times that I have been passed by Lance Armstrong want-a-be’s and fall into competitive mode. I cannot catch up to someone on a road bike with my hybrid bike just because they are so different in design and weight.  In your Job Search the competition is intense with hundreds of people and some people you may know will land a job before you and you ask “why?” Your journey is not their journey, have peace and know that God does have a job in mind for you in His perfect timing.

RestingSunrise over Lake Zorinsky - orignal photo by Jeff Quandt all rights reserved.

Sometimes when I go out for a 14 mile ride I take several rest stops. It gives me time to refresh and reflect.  I admire God’s creation in the changing scenery (the Sumacs are turning a bright red, some sunrises are just spectacular) and the many different sounds there are. In a job search you too have to take a break from time to time.  But don’t let that become a habit and end up on the couch stuffing your face with food and watching old reruns on TV. Pause, rest, refresh and then get back to it. You will be more efficient if you take a break from time to time and hang out with a friend or two.

Bottom line

The bottom line is each and everyone of us is unique and can be a problem solver for a company. Keep the focus on your job search goals.  Make sure you are not “Me-focused” in the hunt, rather that you are a “solution” to a company’s problem and that you can help them succeed. In doing so you will will be more successful in your search and career.

Let me know what you think about this metaphor and what you are doing to keep fit and stay focused on your job hunt by leaving a comment. – Jeff


About OCN

Jeff Quandt is an Inbound and Digital Marketing Strategist and owns On-Q Marketing LLC. He helps the members of the OCN through understanding their personal brand, how they have to market themselves as the solution to a hiring manager’s problem, and offers a personal LinkedIn Counseling session for any member of the group.
Jeff is a corporate refuge that has been laid off several times, so he is very familiar with the job hunt process, the ups and downs, and the success at the end of the tunnel. Keeping a positive attitude with the end goal in mind is crucial to a job seekers success.
Today as a business owner, he is constantly looking for work, he knows the process well and it makes no difference if you work for someone else or yourself, you need to be the solution to someone’s problem to get paid.