Exercise: The Cure For Unemployment

exercise in gym

We’ve all heard the stats from the American Heart Association and Michelle Obama. Exercise reduces the risk of heart disease; exercise makes you live longer; etc. But could exercise really help you land a job? The answer is YES.

Here’s 5 reasons why you should invest in that gym membership, lace up those sneakers, get that bike out of storage, or find some way to move your body every day:

1. Exercise can be a form of networking. 

Working out can be as solitary as you want it to be, or as social as a corporate sponsored networking event. Running at 5am in a quiet town probably isn’t the best way to meet people, but group fitness classes, busy gyms, social sports teams, and informal fitness meet-ups (Craigslist, etc.) are a great way to get to know different types of people and widen your net of opportunity. You never know whom you could be paired up with in a partner yoga class: the sister of your future colleague, the friend of your future boss?

2. Exercise requires you to maintain a schedule

When you’re unemployed and feeling down, it’s easy to spend the entire day on the couch, occasionally surfing job-hunting sites during commercials. Job search depression is a real and present danger! Harvard Business Review offers some tips to manage your feelings during this not-so-fun period in your life, including maintaining a routine...and exercise is a surefire way to keep yourself on a schedule. Whether it’s a morning workout at the gym, an afternoon spin class, or even something as simple as a daily lunchtime walk, an exercise regimen can and will improve your time management skills, leading you to focus more positively on your job search. 

3. Exercise looks interesting on your resume. 

Maybe you’re into CrossFit and your interviewer is too. "What box do you go to?" "Really, me too!"

A relationship forms, a bond is made, and when it comes time to weigh you against that other guy with the same skills and qualifications as yours, who will be more memorable? Interviewers see hundreds if not thousands of resumes. What makes yours stand out? According to BusinessWeek, extracurricular activities are the extras that count. 

Maybe you ran the Boston Marathon.

This demonstrations commitment, perseverance, an ability to fundraise and so much more. The soft skills that can be gleaned from a demonstrated interest in and dedication to physical fitness could tip the scales in your favor and land you that dream job.

Maybe you play for an indoor soccer league a few nights a week. 

This establishes another key competency that is often difficult to demonstrate: teamwork. The ability to function effectively in a team environment is the number one skill that employers are looking for in recent grads, according to Forbes Magazine

4. Exercise increases your self-awareness.

A complaint often heard from college seniors fearing post-grad unemployment is, "I don’t know even know what I want to do!" While it’s been said that you may change careers at least three times in your life, that doesn’t make it any less important to get to know yourself, your interests, your passions and your goals. Exercise is an excellent time for healthy reflection and daydreaming. It puts your mind in a place where you are physically challenged but mentally in tune with your body. This can create a sense of calm and meditation. Take the time during a run, a weight lifting routine, a long walk outside, to ask yourself deep questions about your future and your values...and you just may be inspired to turn your job search in a new and exciting direction!

5. Exercise makes you happier. 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, exercise releases a chemical and emotional reaction in the body that produces feelings of happiness. This combats the aforementioned "job search depression" and can improve your overall attitude and motivation to keep up the hunt for that job you so desire. In interviews and cover letters, your tone should always be positive, cheerful, and ambitious. It can be so challenging to maintain this attitude after months of rejection. Exercise can help curb negativity and keep you feeling good about yourself so you walk into that interview exuding confidence and success. 

Do you exercise? Has it helped you network? Share your experiences below!