5 Lessons Job Seekers Can Learn from Olympic Athletes

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The Olympic games are coming to a close this weekend, but we’ve seen a stunning show of athleticism and teamwork over the last couple of weeks, and there are a lot of lessons that job seekers can learn from the athletes we’ve all been watching.

Here are five lessons that job seekers can learn from Olympic athletes:

  1. Practice makes perfect. None of the Olympic athletes woke up one morning and said “I think I’ll compete in the Olympics this year.” Everyone competing at the games has spent years and years practicing their sport and perfecting their craft, hoping to get a chance to compete with the best in the world. Along the way, these athletes have made mistakes and learned what works and what doesn’t work, and that’s exactly what you should do when looking for a job. You can’t go into it blind, thinking that you’re going to get the first job that you apply to. You have to constantly up your game – update your resume, do volunteer work, attend seminars, join trade groups, network, and apply to jobs every single day until you get what you’re looking for.
  2. Competition brings out the best in us all. Life is full of competition, but that’s what makes us great and forces us to do our best. Olympic athletes thrive off the competition they face during the games, whether it’s the rush of the sport itself or the feeling of beating others who are considered to among the best in the world, competition brings out the best in us all. The same is true when you’re applying for a job – if you know that 200 other people are vying for the same position as you, you’re going to work harder to prove that you’re the best candidate.
  3. Don’t let disabilities get in the way. Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee from South Africa, shocked the world when he decided to compete against the best runners in the world at the Olympics. Pistorius didn’t use his disability as an excuse not to run, but as motivation to show everyone what he’s made of. Job seekers can learn a very important lesson from this. If you have any sort of disability that might make society doubt your ability to perform a certain job well, you should do everything in your power to prove them wrong. If you want something bad enough, no disability or discouragement from society can hold you down.
  4. Be grateful for all the shots you get to take – even if you miss. While we focus on the Olympic athletes who win medals, there are tons of other athletes who are considered “losers,” but in reality, those athletes are still considered among the very best of the best in their sport, and all of them are more than grateful to have had the opportunity to compete in the games. Job seekers should feel the same way. If you have the chance to interview for an amazing job, but don’t get offered the position, you should still be thankful that you were given a chance and that you’re considered among the top candidates out there. Take what you learn along the way and apply it to future interviews.
  5. Never give up. Becoming an Olympic-level athlete is extremely hard, and I think it’s safe to say that most people competing in the games has at one point or another considered giving up, but it’s their strength to keep going that sets them apart from normal people and makes them the best athletes in the world. The same goes for job seekers – it might take you months, even years, to find the position you’ve been looking for, but persistence is key, and if you have the strength to keep your chin up and keep going everyday, you’ll eventually reap the rewards of your hard work.
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