5 Dating Lessons You Can Apply to Your Job Search

If you're like many people, you probably haven't done the comparisons, but dating and the job search are a lot alike. Consider the similarities. How do you go about meeting new people? What do you do if you’re seeing a bunch of red flags? Then there's the first-date stomach knots, worries about likability, what to wear, or the fear you might say something stupid and ruin your chances.

dating lessons job search

If you approach the job search in a similar fashion to dating, you'll find many of the same rules or lessons actually apply to both.

1. Passing The Online “Test”

Much like today’s dating scene, most of the initial communications during a job search take place online. And you'll have to clear some hurdles to pass the online "test" and be invited to meet either on the phone or in person. In a dating profile, you want to present yourself as courteous and likable so people don't immediately abandon your profile. The search for a new opportunity is no different. Before you start your job hunt, be sure to clean up your online presence. According to data gathered by Capterra, 75 percent of recruiters use software to search for candidates, and 94 percent say it's improved the hiring process.

Tip: Show prospective employers respect and timeliness. Remember, you want to be memorable enough to generate sufficient interest for a "first date.”

2. Don't Oversell Yourself

To get a new relationship off on the right foot, you need to be honest with the person you want to date. It's the same for recruiters and hiring managers. It's always a bad idea to oversell yourself and claim you have attributes and skills you don't really possess. Lying and stretching the truth is likely to come back to haunt you. The repercussions are bad enough in dating, but on a professional level, the fallout and reach can be far more devastating. Be sincere, and don't bring an inflated resume—or ego—to the table. (After all, who really likes that?)

Tip: Every relationship is unique—tailor your resume to each job.

3. Networking

A 2018 survey showed a significant percentage of people met their significant others through friends or at work. It's not much different when it comes to filling jobs. Statistics estimate up to 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking (80 percent are never even listed). If you haven't been actively building your professional network, what are you waiting for? Get yourself out there ASAP. Pre-existing and trusted relationships almost always trump unknown faces. If appropriate, see if friends or colleagues can "set you up" with an employer.

Tip: When mingling, don't bad-mouth your exes (employers), it's in bad taste.

4. Watch For Warning Signs

Always listen to your gut in the job search—just like you would in dating. You don't want to commit yourself to a potentially bad situation. If a company has an excessive number of complaints online or a high turnover rate, you'll want to carefully do your homework. Also, watch for red flags during the interview process. You don't want to find yourself in an incompatible employer relationship or a toxic work situation.

Tip: If your instincts are screaming at you to run far away during the vetting process, there's probably a pretty good reason.

5. Communication Etiquette

The feeling of uncertainty after a first date can be nerve-wracking while you wonder if a second date is on the person's mind. Usually, it's acceptable to reach out to say you had a good time. After that, you'd step back and let things take their natural course because you don't want to come across as clingy. The post-interview period is similar. It's appropriate to call or email after the interview to thank the employer for their time. After that, sit back and wait. Anything beyond may sound desperate and is likely to result in annoyance. Instead, refocus attention on your job search.

On the flip side, it's rude to disappear on someone you've been seeing. The same rule applies to employers. Don't ghost an employer or recruiter you've been working with if you decide to accept another job offer. Vanishing, even if you don't want to continue the relationship, is discourteous, burns bridges, and potentially hurts your professional reputation. What would you say if you ran into them again? How embarrassing.

Tip: Make a brief phone call or send a polite email explaining you've accepted another position; end the process on a positive note.

Whether it's dating or hunting for a job, uncertainty can be stressful. Just remember to be yourself—at your best, dress to impress, and above all, don't come across as desperate. Apply dating concepts to your job search, and in the end, you'll find yourself a great professional and successful match.

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