Do you love love this month? February is decorated with pink hearts, red roses, and Super Bowl messages to remind us that love matters. And do you know what else matters? Your career development! The process of finding the right fit takes the right attitude and some good emotional management. Putting ourselves out there for a relationship or a job requires vulnerability, risk taking, and communication. So, as we enjoy the rest of this month of love, let me draw a few parallels between the job search process and finding a great partner.
Stick with me here!
1. Making a Connection
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over 70% of jobs are found through networking. Networking is a process of building relationships. In order to develop a relationship, we first have to be available and make contact! That’s true both for finding a partner and finding a job. Makes sense in theory but hard to accomplish in practice. In your job search, are you putting yourself “out there?” Are you attending professional events, talking to classmates, neighbors, friends and family about what you are looking for? Have you considered joining a meet-up group or Toastmasters chapter to meet new people? Sometimes we need to spread our wings to broaden our reach and grow our network to create new connections. Use online resources like LinkedIn to join groups and conduct informational interviews.
2. Talking About Yourself
Making a good impression matters, and Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Power of Thinking Without Thinking suggests we make decisions almost instantaneously. In a dating relationship we hope to present as attractive, interesting, and someone who can carry a conversation. When searching for jobs, we seek to highlight the value we’ll bring to employers. Are you ready to do that? Do you make a good first impression when you talk about your work history and professional goals? Take time to write it out and think about how you want to present your value.
3. Vulnerability, Risk, and Success
Applying to jobs, networking, and even showing up for an interview take courage. Why? Because when we own up to wanting something, it also means we could be disappointed if we don’t get it. Dating is a vulnerable experience because when we are rejected, it can feel like we are not good enough. And guess what, that’s ok! It’s important to remember that dating and job searching are like puzzles. Some pieces work together and others don’t. Keep going, look for another job (or person), put yourself out there, and hopefully you’ll find a matching piece.
Brene Brown talks about this in her book Rising Strong; it’s the way we respond to “failure” and how we rise again that matters. Making decisions about career can be anxiety inducing, but they can also be thrilling when we put ourselves out there and dare to dream big. Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I’m not a hockey player, but if you don’t send that application or talk to someone at an event, you’ll never know what you could have scored.
Oh the joys of career development and love! Remember, you’re not alone (both finding a job and finding a partner are part of the human experience) and that you have something to offer. If you’re wanting to explore further and talk about making connections, presenting yourself professionally, or moving through vulnerability and decision making, we’re here.
Happy month of love!