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Posted: December 08, 2010

Finding a job is like dating, too

10 tips to help you make it through

John Heckers

The brilliant and beautiful Liz Wendling wrote a great article a couple of weeks ago called "Selling is Like Dating." Finding a job is very much like dating, as well. Here is how they are similar.

1). You have to get dressed up in ways you never would after you're married. People always ask if, given today's business casual environment, they have to dress up in business/professional attire for the interview. Unless directed otherwise by the interviewer, the answer is "Yep!" You can't wear the uniform until you're part of the team. And, let's face it...you probably don't run around in sweats on a first date, either. If you do run around in sweats on the first date, and you're still single - that's one reason why. If you are not dressing in business/professional for the interview, look for a longer term of unemployment.

2). You have to make decisions effecting your life on very limited, and often dishonest, information. So who tells the complete and total truth on the first date? While you shouldn't ever actually lie in an interview (they will catch you), you're going to "spin" everything to make you look good...and so is the company. Things tend to look a bit different after you're married - or employed.

3). You never know where you'll meet your future mate. My wife and I met at a career fair. Two of our clients met in our practice and got married. You never know where you're going to find your next job. Always keep your eyes and ears open, and always be open to opportunities.

4). You've got to be "out there" in order to attract attention. While it is possible that one of the on-line dating services will net you a mate, only a foolish person counts 100% on them. This is even more true of finding a job. On-line job boards are mostly useless for the executive level, with the possible exception of Execunet. But don't count on ‘em. And you can't count on a yenta to find you a mate, or a headhunter to find you a job, either.

5). Don't forget the wingman! The wingman is someone who introduces you to someone you want to meet. We tend to put more trust in someone who is introduced rather than someone who approaches us themselves.

6). You always have to be "on." In both dating and job-searching you can never let down your guard and just be yourself. The difference, of course, is that you can be yourself when you get married, but you can't ever let down your guard at work. But keep your guard up very high during the vetting process for employment.

7). Desperation or neediness will kill you. Just as in dating being needy and desperate has them running away from you in droves, so it does in your job search. The more needy and desperate you seem, the less chance you have of getting a date, or employed.

8). If you call too many times they'll dump you. Nobody likes the date who leaves 27 messages - in an hour. You're also likely to lose the job opportunity if you bug the employer too much after your interview.

9). Too much info is deadly. One of my friends was a really great and good looking guy who could never get beyond the first date with anyone. Once he learned not to do a "data dump" on the first date, he was able to meet, date and marry the woman of his dreams. The best advice I can give job seekers? SHUT UP! More people talk themselves out of a job than into one. (More on that here.)

10). Don't give away the milk - make them buy the cow! Some places want you to prepare lengthy projects as part of the "interview." Don't do it. They're really just getting free consulting from you. Offer to prepare a small sample, but indicate that your work is valuable, and you don't work for free. Don't worry. They weren't going to hire you anyway if they want major work before you're being paid for it.

These tips will help in both your social life and your professional life. Good luck on a corporate wedding in the near future!

Are you ready to "get hitched" with a new job? Join John and up to 40 of your colleagues at free Executive Structured Networking on December 13th at the DAC. No vendors, just execs. More information and required registration here.
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John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC was an Executive, Relationships, Life and Spiritual Coach in Denver with 30 years of experience  helping people with their lives, relationships and careers.

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Readers Respond

My experience of 30 years placing Executives in the I.T. industry suggests that interviewing is actually more like selling, than dating. But you make some excellent points, suggestions and insight! thanks JORDAN GREENBERG By Jordan Greenberg on 2010 12 08
Hey John, Thanks for the laugh this AM. I really enjoyed your article and my favorite tip was #1. Another wonderful article. By liz wendling on 2010 12 08

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