Job searching is like online dating: you seek to find a great match and then put in the effort to woo the object of your desire.
Another similarity: in both online dating and job searching, technology has enabled greater ease in the matchmaking process. Specifically, both dating and career sites allow users to upload personal information that enables their “match” to more efficiently find them.
With that in mind, here are some online dating best practices that you can easily apply to your job search. Who knows: you may even create a career “love connection.”
1) Make Your Message Short but Compelling
Your dating profile should not be a complete narrative of your life from kindergarten until present. It’s a teaser to get someone interested enough to reach out to learn more about you. You’re selective about which details you include.
The same is true for a resume. Your resume should include major accomplishments, responsibilities, accolades and relevant details to succinctly showcase your talents and drive a recruiter or hiring manager to contact you for more information. “Keep your resume short, clear and concise,” says Avni Shah, Simply Hired’s recruiter.
Shah advises, “Do make the first page of your resume worthy of standing on its own and do use bullet points instead of paragraphs for ease in reading. Don’t have a single misspelling or grammatical error, and don’t use a funny or controversial email address.”
2) Keep Your Profile Authentic (In Other Words: Don’t Lie)
We all know that self-representation is susceptible to “creative interpretation.” Perhaps it’s a particularly flattering photograph or a couple of inches innocently added to one’s height on an online profile. Or maybe it’s a small task that is exorbitantly portrayed on one’s resume.
While you should aim to present yourself in the best light, remember that in the spectrum spanning “complete truths” to “outright lies,” you want to make sure that you are closer to the former than the latter. Getting caught in a lie, whether on a first date or during an interview, is not going to yield you much success.
3) Stay Open-minded
It’s easy to make snap judgments about a prospect—whether it’s a job opportunity or a potential first date. You likely have a list of expectations. It’s tempting to reject an option at initial glance depending on how it measures up to preconceived beliefs. However, learning things in person or upon greater investigation may change your perception.
So keep an open mind, seek out meaningful and relevant details to aid in decision-making and don’t eliminate an option until you have a strong reason to believe that it’s really not what you are looking for.
4) Customize Your Profile to Enable a Perfect Match
If you want to foster a love connection, you should know what your potential partner is looking for and then make it absolutely clear that those are qualities or interests that you possess.
If you want to find a companion who is an outdoors aficionado, you should list hiking and outdoor activities as your interests on your dating profile. Similarly, if an employer is looking for an SQL expert for an advertised role, this is something that you should include on your resume. This, of course, assumes that you are an SQL expert. If you are not, then you should not list this skill on your resume and you should reread tip No. 2 in this article.
“The key to creating a great resume is really knowing your audience and tailoring it for the opportunity that you are pursuing,” says Shah. “You should make sure your resume is relevant to the job and has terminology that portrays you as a valuable contributor to the company.”
5) Check Out Your Competition
It’s handy to know how you compare to other “candidates”—be it in love or career—so don’t be afraid to scope out the competition. Look at the profiles of people who might be up for the same “roles” to see how they have structured their profiles and the details they’ve included.
Critiquing other people’s profiles will help you develop judgment about how to best position your strengths and unique qualities and may provide ideas for improving your resume or online profile.
A job search—just like a search for true love—can take time and can yield some interesting experiences along the way. But if you follow these tips and keep an eye out for opportunities to represent yourself as an optimal candidate, you’re sure to find the perfect match!