The Job Search is a Lot Like Dating...

I was talking with a friend the other day about her latest dating fiasco and it occurred to me that the dating world is remarkably like a job search. Now I certainly do not support too much crossover between the two, but the fundamentals are alarming similar.

Your dating profile and your LinkedIn profile need a lot of thought.

Faceless avatars are creepy
The picture you use will be analyzed by a recruiter or potential suitor so make it appropriate for the occasion and the audience. It is unlikely that you will use the same picture for your dating profile as you do for LinkedIn, but lighting, personality, clothing choices should all be considered when choosing. What does this picture say about me?

These profiles will also be looked at for completeness and to tell the viewer about you. Generic information or missing information does not bode well for you as a date or applicant, so be sure to fill out the profiles completely and with information that would catch the attention of your targeted audience.

Get out and meet people, both in-person and online

The number one way anyone finds a job or a date is by personal referrals. It is unlikely someone is going to track you down in your apartment to ask you out or hand you a job if you are not putting yourself out there. Having a strong network is key and leveraging your network online is a must. Simply leaving your profiles out there will do little for your search for a date or a job, you need to do some of the leg work and contact people with whom you might be interested in speaking. Being able to hold a conversation is an art that everyone needs to practice. 

Good first impression is a must.

When reaching out to a potential date or network contact, how you approach them will make or break you chances for a meeting. Opening with “I need a job” or “I need a date” will likely end with no response or a response I am not able to post in blog. For a job search, it is more appropriate to compliment the person’s career progression and ask for information and advice instead of a job. Everyone’s favorite topic is themselves, so let them talk.

When you do finally meet, be on time, dress appropriately, and be polite. This goes for dating, networking, or interviewing.

Showing interest works better than generics.

In a cover letter or initial conversation, everyone wants to feel wanted. For the job search, this means that the company to which you are applying should feel like you know about them and sought them out to apply. Do your research…you know they will be researching you.

You will be Googled.

Around 80% of employers report they are Googling potential hires. I would venture to say that number is even higher for those who are going on a date, especially if meeting online. What are they seeing about you? It is important to keep your online image clean, but even more important to be able to be found online. If you have not already done so, set a Google alert with your name so you are emailed every time you name is posted online. Also, create some professional profiles, like an ePortfolio or LinkedIn to ensure a professional image is projected.

A commitment is often being sought by one party.

Hiring a new person is a costly investment for a company. Just like dating, when a commitment is being sought, it is best to know as much as possible beforehand to make an informed decision. Whether you are looking for a long commitment or not, do not indicate to a company any plans that would take you away from your work in the near future to avoid thoughts of you leaving in less than a year.

Desperation ruins chances.

Whether you are on an interview or on a first date, it is never a good decision to tell the other person how many dates/interviews you have had recently or how badly you want a relationship/job. No one wants to be the last resort or end up with someone no one else wants. Confidence is key but avoid overconfidence if possible.

Personality plays a big part in attraction.

The vast majority of companies are very concerned with hiring someone who will fit into a company’s culture. Your personality plays a big role in showing how you would fit in a company or relationship, so it is essential you let that show through…to an extent at least. 

Remember, an interview is a lot like a first date, you are not going to share EVERYTHING about yourself, only the highlights that will keep the person interested.

Rules for following up.

I am sure there are a lot of rules out there about how long to wait before calling someone after meeting them. The same thing applies to the job search. You do not want to come off as desperate, but showing interest goes a long way. Follow up after meeting a contact within 1-2 weeks and if you have not heard back in the stated hiring time frame, follow up a few days later. There is a fine line between showing interest and being a pest…in dating and in the job search.

Rejection stinks, but is natural.

Whether you are dating or on a job search, not every person or every company is going to be Mr./Mrs. Right. It is perfectly natural and okay to be not receive a call back or be offered a job. "There are always more fish in the sea," as we are constantly reminded. How you handle the rejection will say a lot about who you are as a professional, so remember to be cordial and thank them for their time. If you are concerned that it was something you did wrong (in an interview, not on a date), you are welcome to meet with a Career Center staff member to discuss the event or practice your interview skills. 

I am sure there are even more similarities than I have expressed here; what have you noticed?

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