Dating a Career: Tips on Searching for the One

By Rachel Wong 

The_Dating_Game“It’s not you – it’s me.”

“You’re just not the right fit for what I need right now.”

“Sorry, but I have to swipe left.”

There’s an increasing amount of ways to say “no” in our culture. And articles and media project that the number of available jobs are increasing, so why are there so many recent graduates who are unemployed?

Employment is a dating game: there are those who you just don’t match from the get-go, those who are so out of your league, and those who you find interesting, and are perhaps just your speed. You see each other, you chat, have cups of coffee together so you can get to know gauge compatibility. Sometimes it doesn’t go past a few correspondences. But sometimes it does, and they get excited, so you get excited. You think you understand each other and are what the other is looking for.

Like any relationship, though, the two of you get comfortable, and stop communicating like you used to, not being able to understand and fulfill the needs of the other. You either work on things together or you leave, or get kicked out, and have to start over.

There are times they’re not ready to commit, or you’re not ready to commit, at least to them.

The one can come along, but may not be ready for you, may not like you enough, or may not have time to take you on board. Similarly, you may be the perfect match for one who vies for your attention. It isn’t until both parties are simultaneously in the right place does one have a perfect union.

I haven’t found mine yet, though I suppose it comes with the territory. Recent grads and other people my age are at the time in our lives where there are endless possibilities, because we still have time to change our minds. Some of my friends marry the careers that they set out to have in college. Here are a few things I picked up:

  1. You are your brand. Regardless of where you are or what you do, how you represent yourself is how others would see you. This also can help with networking, which leads me to my next point…
  2. No grocery shopping in your laundry day clothes. You never know who you might meet, who might be a pivotal networking partner. Just like with your love life, you never know when you might run into someone who may help you on your job hunt, so first impressions are KEY!
  3. Always have a business/contact card on you to hand out to those chance meetings with that founder from a startup you have been following. People like it when a person is prepared – it makes you look professional, which helps with your self-branding. And if you don’t have any cards, get some! You can customize and buy a small pack from Zazzle or Moo. (The half cards from Zazzle come in a dispenser and fit in my skinniest jeans pocket!)
  4. Go to networking events. Yes, even if you don’t want to. Yes, even if your field may not be completely aligned with what you’re interested in. At an atelier shopping event, I once met an amazing photographer who does personalized branding. She and I are now good friends and regularly talk about the qualms of self-employment for creative minds over tea. Any event you go to can be a networking opportunity.
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