I often use the analogy of dating when discussing the steps of a career search to college age audiences as the analogy resonates with the demographic since dating is an ever-present topic in their lives. So how are dating and applying for jobs similar?
Step 1 – Flirting/Getting to Know You
When I broach the subject of flirting, I am instantly transported back to some college dorm room party, with Christmas lights on the wall, Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young” blaring on stereo and a cheesy pick-up line (Here’s my library card, cause I’m checking you out!) at the ready. In reality, those dorm parties, walks around campus, SYR dances, meals at the dining hall were all an effort for one person to get to know another person and answer a basic question; is there a connection here?
Fast forward to the career search – informational interviewing, networking, attending campus career fairs and employer information sessions are career search equivalent of flirting. These events are an exercise for the candidate and employer to get to know one another and decide if there is a connection. When applicants and hiring mangers learn about each other and realize there is mutual interest from both sides, there is genuine excitement about the possibilities.
So get out there, meet employers and hiring managers. Talk with recruiters. Attend networking events. Get to know one another and evaluate if there is a level of interest between you and an employer. I think you will find that, just as you tended to fall for the same type of guy/girl, you will find that you gravitate toward companies with certain characteristics (culture, size, industry, etc.). Just be sure you have a better opening line than I did.
Next step – Asking for a Date