What 42 Blind Dates Taught Me About Looking for Work

I was almost 33 when I started looking for my first professional job. Ironically, it was also when I started dating. Don’t get me wrong…I had worked for a brief time right out of college, but married my high school “sweet heart” and spent my 20s as a wife and mother. Thus, my job seeking and dating experiences were pretty limited.

As is the case with many relationships (work and personal), my ten-year marriage came to an abrupt end and I found myself starting over. I approached job seeking and dating with a little sense of excitement, a little fear of failure, very few role models and no “how-to” manuals to guide me along the way. I pretty much “winged-it” in both areas and fell on my face more times than I care to remember.

During the course of a year I had 42 blind dates – and just like a job seeker who racks up plenty of interviews (but few offers), I learned a lot about what it takes to be successful. I was constantly struck by the similarities between looking for a job and looking for a partner (after all, each will hopefully lead to a rewarding, long-term relationship.) I started this blog to share some of the lessons I learned along the way, as well as provide you with insight and useful information that will help you land your next job and mange your career – now and into the future.

Let’s take a look at some of the basics:

Networking is a great way to meet more people and uncover new opportunities. Let those in your immediate network know you are in the market for a new relationship (job) and ask them to tell others in their network what you have to offer.

Never turn down an opportunity for an interview. Through every interviewing experience you learn more about the market and what is important to you. You also make contacts that lead you to more opportunities.

We are more attracted to people who show an interest in who we are, what we do, and what we need and want. Instead of talking incessantly about yourself and what you want and need in a relationship, (from the employer) show more interest in the person on the other side of the table and discuss ways you can fulfill his/her needs.

Holding on to anger from previously failed relationships is not an attractive quality. If you were fired/RIFed/replaced learn ways to accept this – and move on.

Desperation also is not an attractive quality. Sure you want a new relationship, but if you let the other person know that you are willing to do anything and take anything, you appear damaged and undesirable.

How you dress and the words you use reveal a lot about your personality and how you feel about yourself. If you dress “old” and look “old” you will be seen as someone who is too set in their ways. If you talk about yourself as a “victim” who was treated unfairly, you will come across as a problem that needs solving as opposed to a person who is empowered to solve problems.

Don’t try to hide what you perceive to be potential barriers to securing a long-term relationship. If you are over 50, lack a degree, have had other failed relationships, or there are other things you think of as shortcomings, get them out in the open and learn to see them differently. If you see something as a negative, so will potential employers.

Pay attention to those subtle clues that this relationship may not be good for you and walk away. Sometimes we are so flattered that someone wants us that we fail to see the red flags. Listen to your “gut” and don’t second guess your instincts. Don’t repeat previous mistakes in the hopes of righting previous wrongs.

Know what you are looking for and you will find it more quickly. If you can visualize – in minute detail- what that ideal relationship looks like, you will confidently discard those that do not measure up and recognize the right fit when it comes along.

Unfortunately, it took me longer than it should have to learn these things. I was getting a lot of poor advice from others who also had limited experience (dating and looking for work!) and there were few coaches around who I could turn to for guidance. Fortunately, when it comes to looking for work and finding the ideal employment relationship, you have come to the right place for assistance.

In the 20+ years that I have been assisting professionals with starting over, I have been struck by how many people know so little about looking for work. This is a critical life skill that can be learned – no matter how late one enters the game. I provide job seekers with dynamic marketing tools and strategies, but equally important I deliver common sense insight and advice on starting over.

I invite you to use this information – then pass it on!

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