Searching for a new role is kind of like dating, and depending on how we go about the process, the results can be similar too.
I think most of us would agree that when we’re actively dating, we have visions of falling in love with someone we enjoy spending time with, who brings out the best in us, someone we’re attracted to and share similar views about life. We imagine a long and happy relationship.
Likewise, I’d guess many of us have experienced the fact it doesn’t always work out this way once we get past the early stages of dating. All of a sudden we find ourselves unhappy, and in something that’s not working quite the way we envisioned it would.
This happens with our work lives too, finding ourselves unsatisfied in our professional lives and not aligned with the organization we’re working with. Given the large percentage of our time we spend working, if we’re not loving our job it can become a major area of discontent and in some cases lead to depression and anxiety.
So how do we avoid this?
Circling back to my dating analogy, the approach we take to this process largely dictates the outcomes. Societal conditioning leads many of us to be goal oriented in our thinking, and if the goal of dating is to have the person fall for us, to land in a relationship with them, we’ll likely (whether consciously or not) do what it takes to become who we perceive they want us to be.
Think about all the books, advice and dating tips out there on ‘how to win the guy / girl’, detailing communication tactics and body language strategies to have someone ultimately fall for you.
Unfortunately, this approach puts our attention on the wrong thing. Winning a relationship (irrespective of quality) over finding a truly aligned partner.
The path to finding a successful and expansive relationship looks more like this:
1. Take time to get to know ourselves, what’s important to us and what’s not, and to understand the type of person we’d be most compatible with (write it down, create a vision board, get creative!).
2. Show up on our first date, and in all communications, embodying who we know ourselves to be. Talk openly about what we’re looking for in a partner and a relationship. Ask questions and really get to know the person we’re interacting with.
3. Use what we know of ourselves, what we’re looking for and of course how we feel about potential partners, to navigate toward or away from a potential relationship.
Those I know who’ve embraced a more authentic approach like this to dating are those in the happiest and more expansive relationships (myself included).
Finding the perfect role starts with knowing yourself
We can take this same approach and apply it to our search for the dream role. The job that lights us up every day, that doesn’t feel like work, that seems to integrate into the rest of our lives and is a source of pleasure and fulfillment.
It can be tempting to apply for anything, and then position ourselves and our CV to show up as the perfect candidate. We can learn all the tips and tricks to interview well, with the right amount of charisma and charm to land any job. And that’s exactly what will happen, we’ll land any old job.
As in dating, if the objective becomes ‘getting a job’ verses finding long-term professional fulfillment, that’s what we’ll get. A job.
So what does the above look like when it comes to finding this?
1. Reflect on your career to date, and make notes of when you’ve been most and least satisfied. Team dynamics, leadership styles, organizational culture. Consider your own working style and get clear on what works best for you (not what a book tells you the ideal employee should be).
2. Get clear on what the ideal company culture, type of work and area of focus is for you. Write it down, create a vision board, once again… get creative on bringing this to life.
3. Position yourself in this way on your Growmotely online profile. Avoid trying to be all things and broad based in what you showcase (unless perhaps you’re most fulfilled in a really diverse role with a lot of variety!), the more you can articulate what you’re looking for, and how your professional experience and personality supports that, the more likely you’ll be to attract in the roles that suit you.
4. View the recruitment process as a process of getting to know each other, come prepared with questions you need answers on in terms of how a company aligns most with you and what you’re looking for.
5. And of course, move forward when things feel aligned and authentically decline when something doesn’t feel like a fit.
It can be scary, and go against how we’ve been raised in many cases, to be brave enough to turn down offers or decline second interviews when things don’t feel right. It can also be incredibly tempting to take something on that’s not quite right, planning to find the right fit later. However, real long term career success comes from taking a more measured approach and being an active participant in the getting to know each other phase between you and a company.
Like anything in life, if we approach it with clarity and intention, we tend to find what we’re looking for… and sometimes more quickly than we’d think possible (I met my now-husband the day after I finished my relationship vision board!).
Call it in!
Article by CEO and Founder Sarah Hawley