10 Things Online Dating Taught Me About
Job Searching in a Pandemic
The past year has been tough for everyone. There was loss of normalcy, daily routines, jobs, and most painfully, loved ones. But we’ve also learned how to be stronger, resilient, and resourceful. We’re coming out of the darkness to discover that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. And I personally have learned to find gratitude every day. I’m thankful for the (more than enough) food in my belly, my health (counting down the days until that vaccine appointment), and the love and support of friends and family. I’m even thankful that despite losing my job, I have not lost my sense of humor and positive outlook. So, I took a few lessons learned from years of dating online and applied them to my job search:
1. Your Profile is the first step in getting a first date (interview), so make sure it shines.
Your picture should reflect your authentic self. Clearly, one profile should be professional in tone and highlight career accomplishments, while the other can have more “flair.” But be specific about who you are and what you stand for. Whether it’s LinkedIn or Bumble, you want to showcase your strengths and personality. And it’s perfectly ok to mention your passion, whether that’s painting, volunteering, or watching Game of Thrones. You never know what’ll catch a recruiter/potential date’s attention - and it could be a great ice breaker!
2. Be focused. Don’t swipe right on everyone.
Think about what you really want. If you know you dislike working at small companies, maybe a start-up isn’t for you. If you’re a saver, perhaps a spender isn’t your best match. Be open to hearing about new opportunities of course but make choices based on your core values. You’ll be more fulfilled in the long run.
3. It’s not you. It’s me.
Sometimes a job sounds amazing in written form, but when you speak to the actual hiring manager, it’s not at all what you thought. They’re disorganized, they don’t know what they’re looking for. Sometimes a person does NOT look like their profile pic! That’s your cue to run. If you’re not feeling it, then by all means, make your graceful exit. Appearances can be deceiving.
4. Ghosting. It happens.
Sometimes you think you aced an interview (or a first date), and you’ll definitely hear from that person again. And you kind of wait. And wait. And then you realize you’re never going to hear from that person again. Ghosting is common in dating and the job search. It’s especially tough if you’ve been on several dates (or rounds of interviews), thinking you’re one step closer to achieving your goal. Follow up with a polite note, but don’t beat yourself up about it if you don’t get a response. Whatever the reason for someone not getting back to you, take it as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe the recruiter was overwhelmed or simply forgot. Maybe your date met someone else. It’s not great etiquette, but the process will help you develop a thick skin so you can focus your energy elsewhere. Just keep on keepin’ on.
5. Conversation is an art.
It’s a skill you need to practice and continually develop. Same goes for interviewing. There are introverts, extroverts, long awkward silences, frozen pauses due to tech issues. Getting to know someone in a forced, timed setting is hard. Getting to know someone over Zoom is harder. But there should be a good balance between talking and listening. Do your homework and prepare thoughtful questions. Take a deep breath and try to connect with the person on the other side of the screen. Wit and humor are always helpful, but just be yourself. Dress to impress (but feel free to wear those Star Wars pajama pants on the bottom if you’re 100% sure NO ONE will see them!)
6. Rejection - it's not personal.
Sometimes there are just better-suited candidates. And that’s ok. If your potential boss (or significant other) doesn’t feel the same way about you, then accept it and move on. You can think about what to work on for next time, but you can only be who you are. Same goes for leaving a job. When a door closes, another one opens. Take the lessons learned and move onwards and upwards to the next opportunity. And sometimes you just gotta kiss a bunch of frogs before finding your lobster!
7. Don't Stop Believin'
You may feel down and deflated at times. You might ask, “is there something wrong with me?” Nope. There isn’t. It’s just not the right fit. Lean on your friends and family (who know and love you btw) during times when you feel you aren’t “good enough.” There is a company (or special someone) out there that will recognize and appreciate your gifts and talents. Be patient. You’re awesome and don’t forget it.
8. Swim with different fish.
One of my closest friends (who online dated for years just like me) met her now-husband at a cycling party. Find your “outside of work” tribe to make different connections. You never know whom you could meet - someone who knows about a job opening, an industry mentor, or someone who loves cycling just as much as you do! There are virtual events for pretty much everything now, so go beyond your comfort zone to expand your network. Looking in different circles and casting a wide net could lead to unique friendships and experiences you didn’t know you were missing.
9. You do you.
I’ve realized it’s better to be on your own than with the wrong person (or in the wrong job). I discovered how to be happy on my own terms: solo traveling the world and competing in triathlons. My cup was filled with friends, family, and the life experiences that I crafted for myself. As it turns out, I met my partner when I wasn’t even looking. He was just the guy I constantly ran into at the office water cooler. He happened to be a marathoner too, so we went for a run and the rest is history. We have not spent a single day apart since the beginning of the pandemic. That is 24/7/365 in a tiny Manhattan apartment, folks! And I could not be happier. Being on your own or unemployed can be scary, but it’s also liberating. Working on individual goals builds the confidence and determination to achieve professional aspirations.
10. Finally, NO ONE defines your self-worth but YOU.
Your job does not define your self-worth. Being single or married does not define your self-worth. You are the author of your life story. So don’t let the roller coaster ride of finding a job (or a life partner) drain your energy or soul. Spring is finally here. Step out into the sunshine and head in the direction of your choosing. You’ve got this!
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back…
a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” ― Anais Nin