5 Exercises to Muscle Up Your Job Search

Strengthen your career search with these five tips.

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Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
We all seek strength: in our relationships, in our bodies, and in our careers. It's that strength that can lift you up to new levels and help you achieve your goals.

Intellectual muscle can spur financial and operational wins, and give you the mental energy and power you need to sustain marathon corporate projects that help cinch promotions. The more your career advances, the more your confidence grows and your muscles build.

[See our list of the Best Careers.]

However, you can feel powerless if you have been thrust into an unplanned job search. It's natural, when propelled into the search unexpectedly, to quickly pull together a resume and cover letter as well as update your online profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+). It's also completely normal to feel like you should link to dozens of new folks on LinkedIn and Facebook, to perhaps find a friend or co-worker that can help you make your next career move, or pin your career ideas and dream job onto Pinterest.

[See Building a Network in 8 Steps.]

But that's not enough if you really want to muscle up your job search. Here are five invigorating career exercises to try that should create momentum through conversations, cold calls, informational interviews, networking, and volunteer events:

1. Get a reality check. The job search is a marathon, for which you must strengthen your internal resolve, tamp down impatience, and mentally prepare. Job searches generally take months, sometimes up to a year, or more. Insisting you will have your next job in just a few weeks is not realistic.

2. Spend time building meaty resumes and cover letters. Slow down and take time to thoughtfully create and leverage robust career communication materials that can turn your job-search communication flab into muscle. The messaging of your resume should highlight accomplishment gems from the past and meticulously map them to the destination of your future.

3. Don't go it alone. Whether you hire a strategic resume partner or not, get help; recognize that your expertise is not in job seeking. Invest in personal career training: read and study career books, blog posts, and articles; research best methods to cull your value proposition and create a meaningful, content-driven, and focused message that will resonate with your target audience. Or hire a career consultant.

4. Don't forget to fuel up. Fan out your foundation resume message into cover letters, a biography and social media profiles. LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook should be fed with your key value proposition. Also consider creating a social resume and an About.me profile.

5. Practice, practice, practice. You need to prepare for interviews. Organize and practice reciting from flash cards the stories that succinctly identify how you conquered difficult project timelines, averted potential revenue shrinkage, turned around negatively performing teams, and more.

[See Do You Need a Career Coach?]

Stick to a strict 9-to-5 schedule every day while practicing these exercises. Pace yourself, but keep driving full-steam ahead with energy and enthusiasm, and you will reach your destination. Build and embolden your career with job-search muscle.

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. Jacqui and her husband, "Sailor Rob," host a lively careers-focused blog over at http://careertrend.net/blog. In addition, Jacqui is a power Twitter user (@ValueIntoWords) listed on several “Best People to Follow” lists for job seekers.

Twitter: @Glassdoordotcom