As I recently answered a witty email from an online dating site while ignoring a boilerplate one, I got to thinking about the similarities between searching for someone to date and looking for a job. In both cases, your resume/profile and initial letter are the only thing standing between a dream life and rejection. Here’s how you can be better at both.
1. Your profile is your resume: Be specific
Who are you, really? You have to be careful here to not over or underdo it. Tell me too much about your quirks and I will think you’re weird. Too little and I won’t care enough to contact you. As you should on your resume, leave out looked over buzzwords and get down to the data. Sure you are a genuine guy who values honesty…I’ve heard that one before. What makes you special?
Advice: Make very apparent the three or four things that you are passionate about so you can attract someone who actually has the same interests. Don’t just say you like to workout. Say you run 25 miles a week or do P90X. Don’t say you like music. Say you like a specific band especially if this means a lot to you. Sorry to say, I don’t date country, but many, many women do!
2. But don’t be too specific
TMI, my friend, is just as taboo in the workplace as in the online dating community. If your profile runs on for five mouse scrolls, has typos or is rambling, you’ll lose me. Anything about your ex will turn me off, period. If you got fired from your last job, you wouldn’t put that on your resume.
Advice: If you are going to get specific, focus on something you know well. On your resume, this would be your most recent job. Maybe you increased sales by 45%. If you grill the best steak in the universe, throw it out there but be prepared to back it up. Steak enthusiasts will apply and smell a lie if you’ve never turned on a grill.
3. Your email is your cover letter
Boilerplate emails that go something like: I really liked your profile and would love to get to know you better or I am applying for the job you posted as are immediately deleted, unless you’re Brad Pitt. And even if you are, we’ll think you’re lying. The people I respond to comment on one or two things in my profile and connect it with something that they do.
Advice: Don’t contact people you don’t think you could be friends with. You wouldn’t apply to a job as an executive chef with no experience in a kitchen. A marathon runner will rarely date a couch potato.
4. Don’t wink
On Match.com at least there is an option to wink. This isn’t the ’50s. If you want to drop a quick line, do so, but follow the rules above. Even on Facebook, poking is so over and so impersonal.
Advice: You wouldn’t be too formal with a hiring manager. Manners go a long way. Be polite and respectful.
5. Don’t get discouraged
Yes you are going to get rejected most of the time when job searching or looking for someone you can stand to be around for more than 5 minutes.
Advice: The best piece of advice is to look for something you want, something you are qualified for and to focus your energy on that. Once that letter is out, let fate take over. Then move on. There are plenty of fish in the sea waiting to match their chemistry with you in perfect (e)harmony.