Can finding a job be like finding love?
With today’s job market, it can be tough to find a good job. Almost as tough as it is to find a good companion.
But the way you approach finding a job is not so different than the approach you might take when finding a mate.
While it’s true that opposites attract, most people seek out a mate with common interests and values.
You’ve also probably heard you have to know and love yourself before you can know and love another person. The same is true when determining what career field you should enter into.
What Are Your “Must-Haves”?
First, you need to know enough about yourself to know what you like and what you don’t like. Do you prefer an outdoorsy, adventurous job to a nice, quiet desk job?
You also need to determine what you value most in an employer. Are you looking for an employer that’s honest and caring? Do you want one that’s going to spend a lot of money on you in salary and benefits?
If you recoil at the idea of a long distance relationship, location and commute may be important factors in determining what kind of job is right for you.
So the first step to a job search is self-reflection and self-assessment. Career assessments are similar to tests used in online matchmaking. They measure your interests and values to determine what career fields may be a good match for you.
However, these assessments should not be taken too seriously. The results of your career assessments don’t mean you can’t succeed in other career fields. Just like the results of your matchmaking test don’t mean you can only date those people who fall into your “perfect match” category.
Many times, potential mates come along when you least expect them, and so do other career opportunities.
Put Yourself Out There
Once you know what kind of job is right for you, now you have to go out and find it!
There are several ways to find a job, and it’s important to exhaust all possibilities.
First, there are online job boards which are similar in function to online dating sites and dating apps. However, keep in mind you can’t just post your resume to a 100 job ads and sit back and expect employers to call. Just like the ladies can’t expect to give out their phone number to every man they meet and sit at home waiting for them to call.
Instead, the most effective and successful way to find a job is through networking.
Networking is important because, just like the fact that not every person has a personal ad posted online, not every job is advertised online.
In fact, over half of all jobs go unadvertised.
Networking can be very intimidating (check out my post 7 Easy Networking Tips for Introverts). It can even make some people nervous because it’s very similar to being “fixed” up on a date.
Or it can be like trying to get up the nerve to approach an attractive member of the opposite sex at a party. Although in the case of networking, you usually don’t have any liquid courage to make it easier.
Networking also yields better results than attending a massive job fair, the singles bar of the working world.
But leave no job lead un-turned.
Even if the lead doesn’t turn out to be your dream job, the contacts you make from it could lead you to a more compatible job.
This is kind of like going on a blind date and instead end up falling for your date’s roommate instead.
Time to Flirt!
Once you’ve searched and found job openings that are right for you, it’s now time for the seduction scene.
You must spend some time fixing up your resume to make it more attractive to potential employers.
A resume is the occupational equivalent to flirting in the dating world.
The purpose of a resume is not to get a job, but to land a first-round interview. Just like the purpose of flirting is not to get a marriage commitment, but to land a first date.
Your resume should target the position for which you are applying.
For instance, instead of listing every job you’ve had since babysitter or lifeguard, list only the most relevant jobs. Or those where you developed strong transferable skills necessary to be successful in the available position.
If the “flirting” works, the seduction game continues with the first interview (i.e. the first date).
Do Your Research
If you’re being fixed up with someone, usually before the date you try to get the low-down from your friend the matchmaker on what the other person is really like.
It’s necessary to know a little background information about the potential match before meeting them. This helps you determine if the person has any of the qualities you’re looking for in a mate.
You want to do the same before meeting a recruiter or potential employer for the first time. In fact, your research should be even more thorough when it comes to preparing for your screening interview.
The research you do on the company before the interview not only will impress the interviewer, but will also help you determine if it’s a close match to your interests and values. (And, unlike in dating, it won’t be seen as stalking.)
Ask Lots of Questions!
Once you get past the whole “What am I going to wear?!” dilemma (which can be stressful since first impressions count, both on a first date and in a job interview), it’s time to see if the chemistry is there!
Both a first date and an interview is the time to determine if your personalities click with each other.
Questions help in determining if there’s a connection.
Keep in mind that the interview is a two-way street.
You must ask thoughtful questions to decide if this is a job you want to pursue further.
Not having questions about the job or the company would indicate a lack of interest in the job.
You wouldn’t go on a date and not ask the other person any questions about themselves, would you?
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
We all know that men and women communicate differently when interacting with each other. They also perform differently from each other in job interviews.
Men are more confident (and sometimes overly confident) when talking about themselves in the interview. Maybe it’s because they get a lot of practice from dating since men often treat a first date like a job interview.
They tend to talk about themselves because, since women ask their dates many questions, men think women want to hear all about them and hope they will impress the women in the process.
Many times, women are asking questions because they want to be asked the same questions by their dates.
Women feel it’s impolite to just initiate a conversation about themselves.
Some women aren’t as confident as men are in an interview because they don’t feel comfortable tooting their own horn.
During the job interview, women should highlight their skills and accomplishments by giving specific examples and relaying that into how they can make a contribution to the company.
Men should do the same while also asking more questions about what would be expected of them in the job.
Say “Thank You”
Hopefully, if the chemistry is there, your screening interview will lead to a second-round interview.
It’s important to follow-up the first interview with a thank you letter. This is the same as the “I had a great time last night” phone call or text after an amazing date.
Make sure you send a thank you letter within 24 to 48 hours. In it be sure to reiterate your skills and your continued interest in the job.
Once you’ve done that, move on with your job search.
Continue interviewing with other companies because it may take weeks to get a call back from the first company. Just like it may take weeks to get a call back from last night’s amazing date.
Ready to Go Steady?
After going through several rounds of increasingly intensive interviews, you finally get a job offer, the equivalent to the question of “Want to be exclusive?”
If you look around, you can tell some people put more thought into which job they’ll take than into which person they’ll spend the rest of their lives and procreate with.
And yes, there are factors of a new job that need consideration over a few days to a couple of weeks before giving an answer.
But keep in mind the high-paying, high-profile job that lacks challenge and opportunities for advancement is the same as the tall, dark and handsome or beautiful, blonde and buxom prospect. Although sexy, it won’t necessarily make you happy in the long run.
You need to ask yourself if you’ll love at least 60% of the day-to-day tasks of the job. If so, you could have a keeper on your hands!
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