Be your own Career Cupid

by Shannon Houde

Not many people know it, but a smart, effective, match-making job hunt is a lot like online dating. I’m going to help you become your own Career Cupid — with a little help from the world of online dating.

1. Online dating makes you get specific about what you want

You could spend hour upon hour trawling through pages of postage stamp-sized photographs and stream-of-consciousness ramblings about various individuals’ favorite things to eat/do/think/watch or you could enter a targeted advanced search to screen out the data you don’t want in a date. Amy Webb even created an algorithm that got her a TED Talk. In the career world, we think of this as identifying your audience: Who do you want to hire you, and who do you not want?

  • Think about everything that is important to you in a company and get it all down on paper
  • Order the criteria by priority — E for essential or D for desired, the others fall away

The outcome: Once you know exactly what you want, it’s much easier to go out and find it in the market.


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2. It makes you think about what your potential date might want

So you’ve figured out what you want from a company, but what about what they want from you? Online dating offers important lessons here. It’s all very well writing an in-depth description of your dream guy or girl, but if they’re not interested in your description of yourself, it might as well be a message in a bottle. So put yourself in the shoes of hiring managers (or “sexy strangers”) and think about what they’re looking for.

  • It’s normal to look closely at a prospective partner’s online profile and try to read between the lines. So why not do the same thing with a job description? Break it down, rewrite it and see what exactly what that hiring manager is looking for.
  • Then you can map your skills and criteria to theirs and see where the gaps are and if they are insignificant or critical.

The outcome: You have a clear view of how effectively your marketing tools — your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile — match up your skills to the employer’s dream-employee criteria.

3. It makes you sell yourself with confidence.

Never done this before and not sure what to say but here goes … Just a normal guy/gal, like the simple things in life, going out and staying in, easygoing and good sense of humor, can be quite shy around new people. Looking to meet someone nice. If you want to know more just message me.” Not exactly inspiring, is it? Doesn’t exactly get the fingertips quivering with anticipation to swipe right. What would your friends say? Boring, dull, generic, nothing to say, no confidence.

No confidence — there you go. That’s the biggie, in dating and in job-hunting. You can sniff it a mile away. But let’s be honest, it is really hard to write confidently about yourself and put it on public display on a website such as LinkedIn or The good news though is that if it doesn’t come naturally, you can fake it. Here’s how.

  • Do a bit of research. Talk to your colleagues, friends and family and find out what they love about you to help you build up the confidence you need to sell yourself. Or get a career coach to help you spin yourself for the market.
  • Come up with fun descriptions that uniquely reflect you, your interests and skills. For example, a career coaching client of mine was a marine biologist and a sailor, so instead of calling her a Sustainability Specialist — a jargony phrase that can mean almost anything — we called her a Sea Champion, because she really was a champion of the sea, both on the water and in it for conserving its marine life.

The outcome: You end up with a unique personal profile that helps you stand out in the market with confidence.

So there you have it. By understanding what you want, understanding what the other party wants and communicating with confidence, you have all the right ingredients to help you land your dream job and your dream date.

Now go bring those dreams to life because they are not all fantasies.

This post originally appeared on GreenBiz.

Photo by Counselling, via Pixabay.


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