9 Things A Job Hunt Can Teach You About Dating

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man and woman in a waiting room
In my search for a job, I've learned a thing or two about dating.

After job-hunting for the past year or so, I've concluded that nothing resembles the search for love more than the pursuit of a career. Both enable an obsession with checking your phone and email. Both make you think twice about what's posted on your Facebook profile. Both are an exciting, yet scary transition that we're likely to face multiple times throughout adulthood. 

Naturally, sending out cover letters and going on interviews has reaffirmed a number of valuable dating lessons, including: 

1. You need to make a good first impression.
A job interview feels a lot like a first date, minus the flirting and red wine. You need to dress appropriately. You need to arrive on time. You need to avoid politics, avoid bad-talking an ex (or a previous boss), and you need to follow up with the person afterward. It doesn't always feel good adhering to all that social protocol, but redeeming yourself from a negative first impression is no easy feat. First Date Conversation Topics

2. Explore your options. Ever heard the old maxim about how experience is the best teacher? In the same way that many of us prefer a certain a type of guy, those of us who are job-searching have a dream career in mind. How many people actually marry their first love or end up with their fantasy job before age 25, though? It's OK to buy a little time and explore different options before settling down. I went to college with a penchant for metrosexual pretty boys and a career in magazines, but I emerged in pursuit of web jobs and borderline hipsters. Only a willingness to try different internships and date different types of guys could teach me to relax my goals a little. If you're in no hurry to settle down, and have endured a series of dead-end relationships, try dating someone out of the norm.

3. Weigh your friends' advice carefully. When you're desperate for a job or a partner, it's easy to take other people's opinions too seriously. We've all had to put up with unsolicited career advice ("Quit your job to raise the baby!" "Don't be a jazz musician, be an accountant!"), but no matter how tough it is to attain your dreams, it's important that you honor them. The same goes for dating; if you're single, but are tired of going on blind dates, it's OK to say "no" to the friends who keep trying to set you up.

4. Use your connections. Don't rule out a good set-up. Networking can do wonders for your dating life. Every job offer I've received has come through a friend, an old co-worker or an internship that referred me to the company's hiring manager. If you're open to being fixed up, ask your friends if they know any dateable singles, and then trust that those friends will chat you up. Dating Weary? How A Matchmaker Can Help

5. Don't get strung along. Have you ever really, really liked somebody who just couldn't commit? Before relenting in hope that the guy will eventually commit, ask yourself how long you stay with an employer who claims to value your services, but who never makes good on his promise to promote you. 

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