Job Searching is Like Dating

First impressions matter … a lot! The first phone conversation or e-mail will determine if you get an interview. Sounds like asking for a date, doesn’t it? In both cases you want to be polite, watch what you say and follow up promptly.

How interested would you be in dating someone who doesn’t return your phone calls? If that person blew you off once, would you want to date them if they called you six months later?

Employers are people, too. Don’t ignore their phone calls or e-mails when they call you for an interview. If you do, employers will blow you off later when you contact them about a new position. And they can also warn their friends (colleagues) not to date you (interview you).

An interview is like a first date.
• Dress appropriately.
• Call if you are going to be late.
• Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet.
• Be yourself, but don’t get too casual or “friendly” too soon.
• Ask relevant questions and keep the conversation on topic.
• Show your interest and that you want a second date/interview.

No one wants to date someone who is arrogant, or who is too shy or insecure to hold a conversation. Be confident in your skills and keep up your end of the conversation during a job interview, but stay levelheaded and friendly.

Show genuine interest. Would you rather be on a date with someone who just wanted companionship for the evening, or be with someone who has a genuine interest in you? During an interview, don’t answer questions or make it seem as if you are after just any job. Let the employer know why you are interest in that specific job. Show enthusiasm and passion for your career.

Call the next day. Say thank you and ask when you can see each other again. Keep following up periodically until you get a firm “no.” Be enthusiastic and persistent, but don’t be a stalker. Know when to back off for a while.

Don’t let a fear of rejection keep you from trying. You’ll never know if someone wants to go out with you unless you ask. Likewise, you’ll never know if an employer wants to hire you until you send in your resume and follow up. You might feel vulnerable, but realistically your chances of being publicly embarrassed or yelled at are very, very slim.

Hearing “no” now and then is part of the process – don’t take it personally, use it as an opportunity to learn what you did right and what you can improve on.

Do you seem too desperate? No matter how long it’s been since your last date – or how badly you need to find a job – keep your cool. Maintain friendly, confident communications and stay relaxed. Don’t take the interview process too personally. There are 1,000 factors that employer consider when choosing the right candidate.

As long as you have good interview skills and act professionally throughout the process, you have to accept the parts of the hiring process that you do not have control over. You just have to be patient.

The basis of any good relationship is communication. Let the other party know of scheduling conflicts and other issues. You don’t like it when you are left in the dark, so don’t ignore or delay communications with others.

It’s OK to date more than one person at a time before making a commitment, as long as you are honest about it. Likewise, consider taking a few contract, part-time or freelance positions to gain skills before taking a full-time position. Be respectful of all company confidentiality issues, keep a reasonable schedule and honor your commitments.

If you want to break up, don’t be a jerk about it. Sometimes relationships don’t work out. And sometimes you get hired for a job and want to leave the position after a few months. In either situation, be respectful of the other person’s needs, give some warning before leaving, and return any property that rightfully belongs to the other party.

Try to leave on good terms. It’s never a good idea to burn bridges, especially in professional situations. When it comes to your career, a bad break up — or exercising unprofessional behavior when quitting — could taint for career for years.

Some people fall in love with their high-school sweethearts and stay married for 50 years. Most people, however, date a lot of people and are in a few long-term relationships before they find Mr. or Ms. Right.

The same idea holds true in building a career. Some job seekers find a great job immediately and are able to stay in the same position or get promoted within the company for years. Most job seekers will hold several jobs in their field for a few months or a few years before finding a company that they want and are able to stay with for several years.

Just as two people in love grow and evolve together, a job seeker’s goals should be to continue to develop skills and develop a dynamic career. You might have to kiss a few frogs before finding the right fit, but true love — and the perfect job — are out there.

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