5 Reasons Job Hunting Is Like Dating

Man with flowers taking a picture with a phone
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Let's face it: for most of us, job hunting is a means to an end. Very seldom do you meet anyone who claims to enjoy the process for itself, and when you do, they're generally such wildly extroverted people that they're fairly rare specimens of humanity in the first place.

In this way, job hunting is a lot like dating – a thing you have to do, in order to get achieve your goal of a dream job or relationship, and not necessarily something you'd do for fun. That's perfectly OK. In fact, by considering the many ways in which these not-so-fun processes resemble one another, you can figure out ways to maximize the experience to get to the dream-job part that much sooner.

1. Rejection, Rejection, Rejection

Why do most people dislike job hunting? Because so much of the process involves hearing the words, "thanks, but no thanks" or worse yet, sitting by the proverbial phone and getting no feedback at all. It's pretty easy to wind up feeling like a wallflower who didn't get asked to the prom when you've been looking for a job for some time and coming up short.

2. You Can't Hurry Love 

How long does it take to get a job? The answer, of course, varies, although one formula says that for every $10,000 worth of salary, expect to spend one month searching. Regardless, even when the economy is red-hot, you probably won't find the job of your dreams right away. As in dating, get ready to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince or princess.

3. Relationships of All Kinds Are Bigger Than One Person

You can be a swimsuit model with an MBA and a side gig teaching Pilates – in the end, it's less about how awesome you are as a candidate or partner, and more about relationship fit. Think about it this way: if you're a vegetarian, the world's most beautiful and hilarious person won't be a good fit, if he or she is also a professional butcher; if you're an introvert, your dedication and skills won't make you happy in an open office full of Chatty Cathys.

4. It's All About Who You Know

Even in this era of Tinder and Match.com, chances are, you know plenty of couples who've met through mutual friends. The reasons are pretty clear: it's easier to feel comfortable – and safe – with a stranger who has been vetted by people you trust.

For similar reasons, at least 60 percent of job seekers find work through networking. Who better to tell you what it's really like to work at a company than someone who's already toiling away in the trenches? And who better to recommend you than someone who's worked with you, or attended the same school or earned the same certifications or learned the same skills?

Finally, the Recession may be over, but companies are still moving slowly when it comes to filling positions and signing new hires. Anything you can do to overcome a hiring manager's apprehension is helpful, and there's nothing more persuasive than a recommendation from someone he or she already trusts.

5. Resilience Is More Important Than Nearly Any Other Quality

Think about the happiest, most successful people you know. What do they have in common? At work and in their personal lives, they bounce back.

When it comes to dating or building your career, the most important thing you can be is resilient. Being able to get up when life knocks you down will keep you from missing opportunities. Plus, resilient people exude confidence, strength, and happiness – attractive traits to hiring managers and everyone else.

Finally, being able to regroup, analyze opportunities for change, and move on makes you better at being on your own side, like a good friend or a supportive colleague or partner. In love or in your career, there's nothing more important than that.