For anyone who has ever both applied for a job and online dated, you have probably noticed that the two can feel a lot alike. For instance, you want to impress and find long-lasting ‘love,’ many decisions are based on first impressions, and your emails sometimes go into a black hole and you are left wondering what happened.

Many daters have found love online through following simple guidelines, and you can use those same guidelines to find the perfect job, too!

Here are 11 rules from online dating that will make for terrific job hunting:

1. Know what you are looking for

It’s easy to lose sight of who you are and what you want in a partner or job when you are bombarded with so many options online. You find yourself thinking, “I could make that work,” and then run the risk of ending up in something that is okay, but may not be what you really want. Before you ‘set foot’ online, know what you are looking for. What is your dream? Write it down, and keep it handy so you can remind yourself.

2. Speak to the person reading, not to yourself

An online profile or job application is about you reaching through the screen and engaging with the person who is reading it. Who are they, what do they care about, how can you ‘take care’ of them? You are building a relationship with that person, but you might forget that because you can’t see them. But it really is just like meeting someone at a party: you (hopefully) wouldn’t start the conversation by bragging about yourself and astounding yourself with just how awesomely well-traveled you are. You would build a conversation. The same is true of online job applications or dating profiles.

3. Understand your own brilliance—and let it shine

Dating or job searching with low self-esteem is like hunting with a broken arrow: you can get yourself in front of the ‘right’ target, but you won’t be able to hit it. If you are going to convince someone to hire or date you, you have to be convinced that you are a catch. I don’t mean that you should brag about yourself, but know your own worth and approach your conversations from the position of ‘I have a lot to contribute.’

4. Get a little personal

Let’s face it, us online daters are sick of reading the standard, “I like to travel, cook, and listen to good music.” The same is true of hiring agents. They want to get to know the person behind the resume, to see if they will be a fit for the culture (not just the job requirements) of the organization. Make sure that your authentic voice comes through in your job application, with your own unique pizazz.

5. Make sure your reality matches your pitch

It’s hard to convince someone that you ‘love urban events’ when you live on a farm in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota. The same is true of your resume and job pitch. Make sure that your resume tells a story of who you are that matches up with the pitch. If you are pitching yourself as a thought leader, your resume should regale the reader with your past brilliant ideas, not the times when you were a great workhorse (although you may choose to incorporate those into your pitch, too).

6. Share only the most valuable parts of you

If you are anything like me, you read the first paragraph of a profile, and if it doesn’t grab you, you move on. I can’t tell you how many online dating profiles start with a paragraph saying, “I didn’t really want to do online dating, but my buddies convinced me to give it a try, so here I am.” This a waste of prime real estate! Focus on what is most important to say and convey about yourself, and save the rest for a rainy Saturday.

7. Ask a friend, mentor, or coach to read it over

I can’t remember how many times I wrote something that I thought was genius, only to have a friend point out that it sent the wrong message about me, or didn’t do me justice. Once, I wrote a profile that emphasized how much I liked to explore the world around me and try new things, and my friend observed that it made me sound like someone who wanted an open relationship and didn’t want to settle down, which was the opposite of the truth! Have a second pair of eyes look at your application from a fresh perspective, and you will be amazed how much you overlooked.

8. Remember that deception doesn’t win people over

Yes, we have all been on that date where the person looks 10 years older than their profile picture. Not only does this feel like a letdown, but it also erodes your trust in them and makes you wonder what else they are hiding. Another family in Georgia you don’t know about, perhaps? The same is true of how you present yourself in a job application. While it may be tempting to embellish yourself, the benefits aren’t worth the price. Be proud and confident of who you are, and know that the right ‘one’ will love you for who you are.

9. Know your deal breakers

You’ve learned from past experience what does and does not work for you. For example, I know that my partner can’t smoke and must want kids, and my job must be a meritocracy that values innovation. It can be tempting to compromise on these when a ‘hot’ date or job comes along, but this will ultimately lead to dissatisfaction. So make sure you know where you absolutely draw the line.

10. Spend ‘sacred’ time each day on the hunt

Dating or finding a job is a process. Make a commitment to yourself that you will spend at least 30 minutes (or more) each day searching, writing, meeting, exploring. Make it your goal to become a master searcher, which you do by practice, practice, practice. And remember…

11. Have fun

Sure, finding a job or the love of your life is serious business. But it should also be fun. No one likes drudgery, and if you feel like online dating or job searching is drudgery, that will come across in how you talk, write, and act. So have fun with it! The people on the other end will enjoy working with you, and you will be more likely to have a successful outcome.

Which ones of these eleven points would make all of the difference in your job hunt? Which ones are you going to implement today? Write a note in the comments to share.

Featured photo credit: Businessmen Shaking Hands/ReynerMedia via flickr.com

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