The following is a guest column by Emily Kapit. Emily is the Founder, Lead Resume Writer, and Head Career Strategist at ReFresh Your Step, LLC, a career advisory firm based in Miami, Florida. As a single woman of many years and founder of do-over.me, I can totally relate. I too, often find myself comparing dating and job search with clients.
I do not normally dole out dating advice, seeing as how I have been out of the dating scene for several years and my work revolves around doling out career advice. That said, I am keenly aware of how similar the two are and often draw comparisons when speaking with clients. Why? Simple: many people have some fear of both but can relate better to dating; in drawing a parallel between the two, I feel that it helps people better understand how to more effectively job hunt (though, if someone is a great job hunter but not so great in the dating department, the advice could go both ways!). Without further ado, here are three ways your job search is like dating.
1) Going With the First One that Comes Along Rarely Works Out Long Term: If you are out with friends one evening, how likely a scenario is it that you will meet “the one” within the first five minutes at a bar/club/concert/whatever you single people do these days (I am obviously taking dating into the real world here; I did just have a brilliant idea, though, of creating a Tinder for the job search…).
My Advice: Clearly, playing the field for a bit is in your best interest. Look around, talk to people, do some research to find out where you will find the best fit for your current situation and long-term goals. If a “dream job” comes along and sounds like it is too good to be true, it probably is. Additionally, even if you REALLY feel connected to an opportunity one day, take your time to think, learn about it, and speak to others so you can make more of an educated decision (i.e., don’t accept on the first offer. How often does a one-night stand work out!).
2) Negotiation is Key for Future Happiness: Although I am off of the job and dating market, I know this for sure: dating and job searching both require a certain amount of negotiation (both up-front and over time). All too often, people fall into the trap of believing that he/she needs to say yes in order to move forward. While that may work initially, it becomes obvious within a few weeks that only taking into account the other side’s needs or requests results in a bad match. At that point, one can cut his/her losses or try to make it work but neither option is really ideal.
My advice: Remember that whether you are courting a job or a person, the process works best as a 2-way street. Yes, your needs are important too! Think now about what you prioritize in a job: a great office culture, the option for occasional tele-commuting, a superior benefits package, free on-site haircuts…Obviously, be realistic in what your needs are, especially for your given level and sector, but have some chosen points in mind and be prepared to discuss them when the time is right. This also might mean passing on opportunities that are not up to your standards but that’s what standards are for: waiting for Ms. or Right (Boss), not Right (Now).
3) Your Friends Can Help you Score: I’d like to rephrase the words to a popular song for you. “We all get jobs with a little help from our friends.” Here’s another song rephrase: “Applying online killed the job search.” Both are true and yield important lessons; turn to your friends, your actual (non-virtual) network of connections to help you find the right fit. Think about where people work, who they know, what they do, and if any of this information is relevant for you. The best opportunities are found not via applying online to countless roles but rather through leveraging your network to leverage theirs.
My Advice: Identify your Wingman/Wingwoman for the job search. No, this person is not the one who is most likely to speak to strangers in a bar and ask for a number; rather, it’s the person who knows a lot of people (in real life and has 500+ connections on LinkedIn), is willing to makes introductions for you, and can provide you with the advice you need to make an informed decision about a particular opportunity.
Here’s to much success in your job and love life…and that you find a job you love!