Hi everyone,

Melissa here, owner of FindAJobPA.com and Black & White Business Solutions

It’s February, and basically since Christmas ended everyone’s been talking about Valentine’s Day, that interesting holiday between New Year’s and President’s Day where stores are stocked with chocolate, flowers, and teddy bears. Love, as they say, is in the air. Or was, since Valentine’s day was yesterday. 

Whether you celebrated Valentine’s day or not, I did notice there are lots of similarities between our modern dating/relationship scene and the job market, and that’s what we’ll be talking about in this month’s blog post, in keeping with the theme of February’s romantic holiday. So grab that leftover heart-shaped box of chocolates and let’s get started. 

Acknowledge that looking for jobs is like dating

Generally, when you’re dating someone, there are several stages in the relationship. There’s the initial communication, usually by text or phone call, then there is a shared activity together like dinner or a movie, and then there is some kind of planning for any future endeavors, or an acknowledgement that this particular relationship is over. Throughout the process each person learns more about the other, and each of them tries to figure out if the relationship will work based on the available information (and other factors like life stage, location preferences, and monetary requirements). 

You can probably see where I’m going with the comparison. Just like dating, when someone is applying for a job there is a predictable order of operations. There’s the initial communication, usually through a job board or a cold call/message from a recruiter. Then there’s the shared activity, usually a phone screen or initial interview. Then after that first communication, one or both parties (usually the recruiter) makes a decision about whether or not the relationship will continue. 

Even though the communication can tend to be much more one-sided with a job application than with dating, there are still good ways and bad ways to apply for jobs just like there are better and worse ways to date. 

Apply for jobs strategically 

If, when dating, you know you have certain non-negotiables, it helps to have a strategy for how you will discuss them. If you have a peanut allergy and you’re brainstorming restaurant options for your date, somewhere like Texas Roadhouse or Five Guys that serves lots of peanuts as appetizers is probably not the best option. 

Similarly, when applying for jobs, having a strategy behind your application(s) will make it easier for you to apply, and also help keep your priorities straight. One relatively easy strategy is to determine where (geographically) you’d like to work, and if you’re willing to relocate for a new job. If you’re based in Pittsburgh and don’t want to relocate, it really doesn’t make sense to look at jobs in Los Angeles even if they are a great fit with the salary and benefits package. 

Another great thing about having a job-search strategy is that you can keep a template with your requirements and non-negotiables and fill in information as you learn it from recruiters. This will help you determine whether or not a position is right for you. Sometimes a job can sound like a great opportunity after an initial conversation with a recruiter, but after you compare it to your list, it actually isn’t a good fit. You’re going to invest a good portion of your week into working this job, so the least you can do is determine if the job will work for you. 

Don’t be afraid of rejection

If you’ve ever been on the dating scene, chances are you’ve dealt with rejection. It’s a fact of life that some things just don’t work out, whether justified or not. It’s no different with jobs. Sometimes you think you’re a great fit for the role and the recruiter doesn’t agree. Or you find a good job but then get offered something better at the last minute and take that better opportunity. The best way to deal with rejection is to (a) analyze why things didn’t work out in a positive manner, and (b) change anything you did that contributed to that negative result to minimize the chances of the same thing happening again. 

This ties in to why it’s so important to have a job-seeking strategy. It gives you an opportunity to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of you as a candidate, and can provide some great insights into opportunities for improvement. Never be afraid to ask a recruiter, “why didn’t I get this role? What does your ideal candidate look like and what could I have done differently/better throughout the process?” If you don’t know how you can improve, how will you ever get better? 

And there you have it folks – Melissa’s take on why applying for jobs is like dating. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – have you found the job application scene to be similar to dating? Have you “swiped right” on any opportunities recently? Let me know either with a comment on this blog, a message on Facebook or Insta, or with an email ([email protected]). 

Until next time,