Finding the right match for a career opportunity is like finding the right match for a romantic relationship. Here are 10 reasons why a job search might feel like dating, along with tips to help you find Mr. or Ms. Right Company:
1) GOING YOUR SEPARATE WAYS. You or your past employer might have lost that loving feeling. Now it's gone, gone, gone and you have to go on. After being in a personal relationship there is always the possibility of parting ways and, while you may be lonely, you will survive. But a professional relationship may be another matter, especially if you "separate" without your next move in mind. Now is the time to pull out your ' little black' professional book and ask yourself: WHAT AM I REALLY LOOKING FOR?
2) I NEED SOMEONE TO HOLD MY HAND. I really did! Just as there are dating coaches out there, there are career coaches too. I hired an amazing career coach Syndee Feuer for six weeks who helped me shape my resume, made great suggestions for my cover letter, and talked me off a ledge many times. As I was making a career re-invention move, I didn't want to just JUMP at the first opportunity. I wanted a soulful, reflective process to align my career and my values.
3) GIVE IT TIME. Understand that a job search is not a one-night stand, nor even a summer romance. This is a process that could take several months. The Washington, D.C. job market is holding strong, especially if you have a college degree and track record, but other markets might take more time. To use time wisely I embarked on a 'listening and learning tour,' and connected with dozens of fascinating people and many opportunities.
4) FACEBOOK IS FOR LOVERS, LINKEDIN IS FOR JOB SEEKERS to build their networks. Invest your time in social media to build connections and let key people know you are looking via Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter. Face-to-face and phone calls are always best, but a lot of my leads came from Linkedin (I would write messages to people that I was making a move). The best interviews came from seeing people out professionally who said 'call; let's meet.' When push comes to shove, who is hiring is the play of the day.
5) EXPERIENCE MATTERS. Of course your friends want to help -- but it really is again like dating -- they don't know a single guy (or gal) good enough for you. I suggest you have a really thoughtful three- to four-paragraph letter explaining where you are and what you are looking to do next. Specifics help your friends know with whom to set you up. Be sure to keep a 'cheat sheet' that includes your track record of key outcomes and skills that will add great value to your next company.