Apply Online Dating to Job Searching

checklistLooking for a job is very much like dating. Putting your best foot forward, dressing to impress, showcasing your best qualities and hoping to be selected for a long term commitment. I see correlations in every step of the process from cover letters, resumes, networking, interviewing, negotiations and even selecting criteria.

When you think about your ideal job and sit down to make a list of what you want, it is similar to creating an online dating profile. You list out your must have’s and would like to have’s. But you are missing something, the something that is more natural in creating an online profile: listing your not’s.

The things you do not want.

Just to be clear – I have nothing against online dating. I know many people who have found friendships and partnerships. I am simply using the experience of a good friend who recently ventured into the online dating world after a recent divorce.

There are all sorts of profiles talking about what they want in terms of fun, adventure, easy-going personalities, romantic getaways, long walks on the beach holding hands, loving puppies, rainbows and all things that make us warm and fuzzy inside. But it is not enough.

To be selected as a potential date, candidates must meet both set of criteria: the wants and the not’s. Some people were more flexible in their wants as long as you did not possess the any of the qualities on the not list.

As a side note, in reading me prospective date profiles, one thing became very clear: without fail almost every single male profile we reviewed stated they did not want to talk to, meet or date anyone with drama.

Isn’t that kind of a given? Are there women that put “love drama” on their profile? Are we incorrect in our thought that the people that protest the drama the most are the ones who are most involved in it? We wondered what would happen if you listed that you loved drama, what kind of response you would get. If you are going to start putting the things that seem, at least to us, obvious, why not go ahead and list more than just drama? Why stop at just drama? Who defines it, anyway? And when did it become a tag line? Just wondering. Ok, back to the point of this blog.

When putting together criteria for that next position, I suggest approaching it from the standpoint of the online dating profile, just a bit more so: make your not list your primary list.

This allows you to be more flexible and open to different opportunities that cross your path. If the position does not get one check in the not’s list, then consider it. Go out and get to know it over a cup of coffee, see where it might lead.

So maybe you don’t like each other’s choice of music or you love to cook and their idea of fine dining is not using paper plates for the carry out. We all have our quirks, but that shared connection on the not list, that may be much more substantial.

Opportunities are disguised in all sorts of packaging. If we only focus on the pretty bows, we do not allow ourselves to see the gem that lies undiscovered underneath the packaging.


Lisa K McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

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