Love it or hate it, online dating is here to stay…until the next upgrade. Despite some painful aspects, it can be the perfect training ground to prepare for a job search and teach you valuable work skills. If you’ve ever been on and gone on a date through one of the many sites, you know what I’m talking about. Dates often feel like an interview with question upon question about your life and background.
When you leave, you wonder, did I answer correctly? Am I the best candidate? Will I make it to the next round? And, no, there is no rose. So what’s a guy or gal to do? You learn and evaluate the situations in order to not make the same mistakes again.
In this article, we’ll look at some very concrete skills you take away from this often challenging process. Even if you don’t find the love of your life, you will still see just how great you really are, and how lucky anyone would be to spend time with you.
Here are the top five skills that online dating teaches you that you can use for your job search, career and life:
It’s where it all begins…a simple profile and sending a few messages. Aside from your photo, which sometimes is all people ever view, what you write and how you phrase it may be all that stands between you and finding “the one.” While you likely won’t be graded for grammar and typos, you will be judged on how well you are able to communicate and engage your audience.
Online, aside from a few great photos, content is queen. Like your resume and cover letter, your profile is all you really have to initially distinguish yourself before the decision is made whether or not to meet.
No!, not that kind of selling…well, not exactly. While you do have to sell yourself within this process, it’s more about selling your brand and lifestyle.
As with most aspects of selling, you need to know your product (you) and your avatar (target audience). Bluntly put, do you have what they want and equally important, can they afford the purchase, e.g. are they the one for you? As in online dating, choosing a place to work is about ensuring it’s a good match for both.
“The best way to sell yourself to others is first to sell the others to yourself.” – Napoleon Hill
Good photos, the right clothes, and exciting Instagram shots are what can make or break a fantastic picture. Similar to selling or a job interview, the way you appear and demonstrate your credibility as a candidate, impacts whether or not you will get another interview or date. Wearing the right dress, suit, shoes, etc and understanding how to package yourself is critical.
First appearances are everything. Just as interviewers tend to select people like them, dates often look for their types or certain qualities that appeal to them. Knowing how to present yourself in the best possible way may make all the difference between one-time and a lifetime.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy being the best candidate for the job or role as future life partner. You have to carefully think about the position and ask yourself, “Am I really the best person for the job?” or “Do I even want to be spending my valuable time with this person or company?” If you decide you do, then think about how best you can achieve this goal.
With companies, like potential dates, it’s about understanding what they’re looking for and positioning your candidacy in a way that will resonate with them. Given the ubiquity of online dating and job sites, it’s easy to apply and use. If you decide you really like this person or job, then you need to figure out what you need to do (or not do) to make your candidacy stand out.
5. Dealing with Rejection/Failure
The reality is that not everyone is for everyone. Like a recruiter looking for a job candidate, potential dates have certain criteria in mind, and whether they write it in their profile, put it in a job description, or have an unrecognized bias, they’ve likely already decided what they want before you even entered the room. In the end, it’s just whether or not you match what they’re looking for.
Inevitably, all you can really do is a brief assessment and learn. The bottom line is, there’s nothing you can do once it’s over. What happens next is completely out of your control or may never have been in your control. Rejection hurts and while it hopefully never stops feeling uncomfortable, it will get easier.
“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho
In the end, though we can learn from the process, finding the right person is far different than finding the right job. We put far more of our hearts into the search for love and sadly, far less of our heads.
While we tend to search tirelessly for work, usually creating concrete strategies and defined lists of what we’ll accept, we rarely do that for our potential partners. Conversely, perhaps it’s time to put a bit more of our hearts into the job search process. In the end, the two inevitably impact each other, so maybe it’s finally time to look more holistically at both.