Is finding a job like finding love? With today’s job market, it can be just as tough to find a good job as it is to find a good companion. But the way you approach finding a mate is not so different than the approach you should take when trying to find a job. While it’s true that opposites attract, most people seek a mate with common interests and values. You’ve also probably heard that 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.
First, you need 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 is 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-assessment. Career assessments are similar to tests used in computer and 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 taking too seriously. Just like the results of your matchmaking test do not mean you can only date those people who fall into your “perfect match” category, the results of your career assessments do not mean that you don’t have the ability to succeed in other career fields. Many times, potential mates come along when you least expect them, and so do other career opportunities.
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 services that let you post your resume and view job listings. This is similar to posting your personal profile and searching personal ads online. However, keep in mind that you can’t just post your resume or mail out a 100 resumes to a 100 companies and sit back and expect employers to call, just like the ladies can’t expect to give out their phone numbers to every man they meet and sit at home waiting them all to call.
Probably 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 in the newspaper or on the Internet. In fact, over half of all jobs go unadvertised. Networking can be very intimidating and can even make some people nervous because it’s very similar to being “fixed” up on a date, or 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 unturned. Even if the lead doesn’t turn out to be your dream job, the contacts you make from it could lead you to another job that is perfect for you.
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 and cover letter to make them more attractive to recruiters and potential employers. Resumes and cover letters of the job search are 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 commitment to exclusivity, but to land a first date. Your resume should target the position for which you are applying. For instance, your objective should state the title of the job you’re applying for and the name of the company with which you’re applying. Also, instead of listing every job you’ve had, list only those jobs that are relevant to the job opening or that allowed you to develop the transferable skills necessary to be successful in the available position.
If the “flirting” works and a recruiter is interested, the seduction game continues with the first interview (i.e. the first date). If you’re being fixed up with someone, usually before the date you try to get the low-down from 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 so you can determine if this person has any of the qualities that 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 is a close match to your interests and values, (and, unlike in dating, won’t be seen as stalking). Once you get past the whole “What am I going to wear?!” dilemma, it’s time to see if the chemistry is there! Both a first date and a first-round interview is the time to determine if your personalities and interaction styles click with each other. Questions help in determining if there is a connection. Keep in mind that the interview is a two-way street. You must have thoughtful questions prepared for the interviewer to help you determine if this is a job you want to pursue further. Not having questions about the job or the company would indicate to the interviewer that you’re not interested in the position after all. Besides, you wouldn’t go on a date and not ask the other person any questions about themselves would you?
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 that’s because they get a lot of practice from dating because 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 is impolite to just initiate a conversation about themselves. Some women are not 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.
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, which is the same as the “I had a great time last night” phone call after an amazing date. Make sure you send a typewritten thank you letter within 24 to 48 hours indicating what you learned during the interview 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 company (just like it may take a while to get a call back from last night’s amazing date).
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?” There are factors of a new job that need consideration over a few days to a couple of weeks before giving an answer. You need to ask yourself if you will love at least 60% of the day-to-day tasks. Keep in mind that high-paying, high-profile jobs that lack challenge and opportunities for advancement and professional growth are the same as tall, dark and handsome or beautiful, blonde and buxom. Although sexy, they won’t necessarily make you happy in the long run.