What the Dating Game Can Teach You About Job Searching

As a single 30-something I’ve read and been given quite a bit of dating advice over the years. Some advice has been smart (such as trying new activities and hobbies to expand my social group and meet like-minded people), some rather confusing (I’ve been told countless times to “get out there” without being given any information on exactly where “there” is), and some have been downright stupid (including not letting a guy see me eat a proper meal until at least the fourth date – um sorry no, I want that steak now!)

In the end it was my sister who gave me the best piece of advice. Knowing that my job involves helping people work out strategies for finding employment she told me to follow my own advice and treat the dating game just like a job search. Not only was she right, she got me wondering if the opposite was true – could dating advice apply equally to someone looking for their dream job? After some thought the answer is a resounding yes!

Hit up your friends and family

One of the most common ways people find a partner is through their friends and family. Maybe your boyfriend went to high school with your cousin or your wife used to work with your best friend. The same is true for your job search. The number of people who find work through their network is increasing, and with up to 80% of vacancies not being advertised those who are not utilising their contacts are cutting out a large chunk of opportunities.

Networking is a bit of a buzz-word at the moment and the idea of it can be off-putting to people who don’t have much spare time or dislike the idea of schmoosing with a bunch of strangers. The good news is that there are many different ways to network, with the easiest being simply to make sure family members, friends and acquaintances are aware that you are actively looking for work. Case in point, a friend of an ex-colleague obtained a job as a medical receptionist after casually mentioning that she was looking for administrative work during a doctor’s appointment.

Get on-board the on-line express

Given society’s current obsession with using social media to record every aspect of our daily lives it’s no surprise that the search for love has moved on-line. There are an increasing number of dating websites and apps catering to pretty much any niche audience you could imagine.

Translating this to your job search, it is important to accept that the vast majority of advertised job vacancies will be listed and need to be applied for on-line. This can be through both specific employer websites (e.g. Barwon Health or Deakin) and general job search websites (e.g. Seek, Geelong Careers or Jora). For the more tech-savvy job seeker it is worth maintaining a LinkedIn profile as well, recruiters are known to use it to search for and target suitable potential employees within their geographical area.

Try before you buy

If you have been single for a while the idea of jumping back in to the dating scene can be quite scary. Sometimes you just want to see what’s out there before you commit to anything (or decide to retreat to your incredibly comfortable couch, book and glass of wine in hand). This is where speed dating can come in handy, in one sitting you get an introduction to a variety of people and can start identifying what you are and (more importantly) aren’t looking for in a mate.

For those who are looking to ease their way back in to the workforce or need money coming in now and don’t care what they do to get it, a great option is to take on casual or contract work through private recruitment agencies or labour hire firms. This way you are earning money, getting current experience and are making connections with employers that may result in offers of on-going employment in the future. If you are looking to change industries and you are not in desperate need of being paid, then volunteering is a fantastic way of getting experience and making contacts which can also sometimes lead to casual or on-going employment.

Being in the right place at the right time

Most of us know someone who met their partner in the most accidental and unexpected way. For example, one New Year’s Eve my cousin was celebrating with friends in a pub in Ireland. She was originally meant to be in a completely different town but circumstances called for a last minute change of plans. In walked a random Frenchman, their eyes locked and they have been together ever since. Had she not been in that pub, in that town on that night who knows if they would have otherwise met?

The same is true with job opportunities, sometimes you can simply be in the right place at the right time. Whilst some may disagree, I believe there is still a place for the old resume drop-off in your job search, particularly in regional areas. Several of our participants have been offered jobs after canvassing businesses just when the employer was thinking about whether or not to advertise a sudden vacancy. A formal recruitment process tends to be both expensive and time consuming, so if a suitable candidate suddenly appears and meets all of the requirements the vast majority of employers will welcome them with open arms.

The moral of the story

So, what advice should you take away from this article? Just as when you’re looking for love you should never put all of your eggs in the one basket, neither should you rely on only one method of finding a job. Trying a combination of the above methods will give you the best chance of landing the perfect role. And who knows, if you’re single you might also find love along the way!

Written by our resident resume queen, Christina Matthews. Subscribe to our blog to receive regular resume tips & tricks from Christina.