By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I think it timely to point out the similarities of job search to something that people from all walks of life are becoming familiar with, “Online Dating.”  Most postings and articles are written about dating in general so I thought it would be interesting to examine the similarities to the world of online dating.  Just as there has been a paradigm shift in our new economy, the world of dating has been shifting as well.  Whether you are using job boards, Twitter, Facebook or applying directly through a company’s website; or going to dating sites or Meetups, the online process is taking center stage. So watch as I take you on a tour of the world of online dating as related to me by one of my very dear clients, Sarah.

When Sarah began her quest to find her perfect man, she researched various niche dating sites and general dating sites to see where she would find a good fit to look for potential suitors.  Whether it is, eHarmony,, Monster, CareerBuilder, The Ladders or ExecuNet, this research for the best place to upload her profile and start searching was the beginning of the process. You do the same research when you are looking for the right place to post your resume and search for job listings.

Thereafter, she created her online profile so that she could let the potential suitors know she was out there. Sound familiar if you are in career search?   Sarah created a profile that expressed her essence to entice men to want to learn more about her.  Through her profile, they would be able to see if they were compatible and that there was a good fit. This is exactly what you as a jobseeker want to do with an employer!

How did Sarah craft this electronic profile?  Well, she started by thinking about what makes her stand out from the crowd; what makes her so special that a guy would select her over many of the other profiles that have been uploaded to the web. Sarah wrote out a list of key attributes, likes and dislikes that she turned into keywords and phrases depending on how the dating site structured its intake form. Interests, values and what is important to her were topics that she covered in the flow of profile creation. What special achievements show how she will be an asset in the relationship? Does all of this ring a bell?  In a career search, you use keywords on your resume, the intake forms on job and company sites and in cover letters to show how you will be an asset to the firm that is checking you out.


With her profile completed, Sarah set about uploading her photograph and profile along with whatever other information was required.  With a completed profile, she was ready to start searching. She put in the criteria she was looking for, “male, 40-50 years old, loves sports including college basketball,” as well as other things where applicable.   With her keyword list on the web, the dating sites started sending her profiles of men to see if there was any interest on her part.

Sarah read over the profiles and to her delight, she found Sean who seemed just the perfect candidate. At this point, Sarah now switches from applicant to employer in this comparison. So what happens next?  Sarah sends what some companies call a “Starter” or “Icebreaker” to try to get a little more information on compatibility.  There are many companies that, as part of the application process, require a candidate to complete essays or other evaluation materials on the road to the coveted “interview.”  In this example, Sarah sends out a Starter and is pleased with the response that she gets.  As a result, she corresponds with Sean and they determine to set a time for a telephone discussion. Just like the telephone interview in the career search arena, this telephone interview is the next big step on the way to meeting face-to-face.  After a lengthy discussion, Sarah and Sean set a time and place to meet for their first date.  In job search terms, we have the telephone interview leading to the first interview.

So, Sarah and Sean cannot take their eyes off of each other. The sparks start to fly, the earth moves and the bluebirds are singing.  Things are going very well. At the end of the date, they say good-bye and discuss the next steps in their dating process.  “You call me or I will call you. I will be in touch…” However it was left, there was a hint of a future meeting.  A few days later, Sarah (switching sides back to employee) receives a telephone call from Sean asking if she would like to go out on another date. Smiling through the phone, she agrees and they meet again for a more extensive date.  Things have gone even better as Sarah and Sean have discovered many more points of compatibility that make their being together a good fit.  Now they leave their date with a determination to meet again soon to continue the journey to a more formalized relationship.  They meet for their next date and after connecting on many more points of compatibility, they conclude that being in a formal, committed relationship is what they want. Similar to what happens during the hiring process, here is the offer after the interview to come and work at the company.

So I am pleased to tell you that Sara and Sean are very happy together as the process worked well for them.  However, it was not all a bed of roses along the way.  Sometimes, Sarah got matched up with guys that were complete jerks. Unbeknownst to her when she started, some of the sites were difficult to upload information on. Sometimes the sites did not match men to her keyword specifications.  Sometimes the guys lied about their age. However, it was all part of the journey on her way to finding Sean, her perfect fit! Just like finding the perfect job!

As always, please leave me a comment and let me know if this helped you. In the event that you are struggling in search, please feel free to contact me at 203-323-9977 or [email protected].

Every Success-

— Linda

(Happy Valentine’s Day!)