How to Leverage Your Dating Skills to Land Your Dream Job

Landing a job has never been harder than it is today. There are more applicants, who are more educated and more talented, creating more competition than ever before. The chances of landing your dream job are a fraction of what they used to be. However, there is some good news behind all of this: 99% of people are doing it wrong.

Couple dating and holding hands


With an increased access to technology, we have fundamentally changed our behavior in how we approach a job search.

Think about it: what would you do if you wanted to find a new job? Most likely, you’d jump on to one of the popular job boards (or LinkedIn), start searching for something that sounds interesting (or that just pays more), and with the click of a button, your resume would be off.

With these simplified ways for us to apply to any job around the world, you would think this would be an employer’s dream — more people to choose from, right?

In fact, the opposite is true. According to a survey conducted by ManPower group, almost half of global employers report a talent shortage, not a surplus.

Employers just want to find quality candidates but the process isn’t on their side.

The “hiring funnel” speaks for itself.

For your average online job posting…

  • 1,000 individuals will see a job post,
  • 200 of them will begin the application process,
  • 100 will actually complete the application,
  • 75 of those 100 resumes will be screened out by a recruiter,
  • 25 resumes will be seen by the hiring manager,
  • 4 to 6 will be invited for an interview,
  • 1 to 3 of them will be invited back for a final interview,
  • 1 will be offered the job, and
  • 80 percent of those receiving an offer will accept it.

That means, your odds of just getting in front of someone for an interview are less than 3%.

So while I do believe that technology has given us so many tools to use, you cannot rely on them alone for landing your next job.

What Does Work

Among all of the tactics you can use to apply for a job, what has consistently been proven to work time and time again is the simple act of networking.

In a 2016 study conducted by Lou Adler, he asked candidates how they got their jobs. He found that over 85% of respondents indicated that they got their job through networking (not blindly applying online, hoping someone would pick their resumedeliberately networking with the right people.)

Most candidates lean on their past experience and hope it will get them somewhere.

But hope is not a great strategy. What you need are high caliber networking skills to help you connect and build impactful relationships.

But saying, “be better at networking” is terrible advice. That’s like telling a depressed person to be happy. It just doesn’t work. Networking is a learned skill that takes practice, time, and above all a commitment to testing and failing repeatedly along the way.

What most people need to become better networkers aren’t always new tactics and strategies, such as “smile when you are in front of someone.” They need, you need, a better framework for approaching networking.

How to Leverage Your Dating Skills

One of the best frameworks I’ve found that can drastically improve your networking is by using what you already know about dating and simply apply it to networking.

You see, when it comes to dating there are strict guidelines you must follow if you want to progress the relationship.

We all know these rules.

You can’t just walk up to a girl and kiss her; you’d get slapped immediately.

If you want that kiss, you first need to introduce yourself, start an interesting conversation, ask her on a date, and then you might get a chance to have a mutual kiss.

When it comes to networking, most people blatantly violate these rules that are so common in dating.

You’ve been there: you’re at a networking event and some guy you’ve never met walks up to you, forces his business card in your face, and starts pitching his business or service to you. After telling you exactly what he wants, he moves on to someone else and you quickly toss his card in the trash, disgusted by the interaction you just had.

The same thing happens in the application process.

Desperate candidates blast recruiters messages on LinkedIn, asking if they have any jobs available, or pester HR teams about moving their resume to the top of the pile. And guess what they do? Exactly what you did with that guy’s business card.

Could you imagine what would happen if you did this to someone you were interested in? Probably the same thing.

If you want to use networking to your advantage, you must approach it with what Seth Godin refers to as permission marketing.

You can’t just interrupt someone from what they are doing, expecting them to care about you and your goals. You need to ask permission every step along the way and provide as much value to that other person as possible.

You need to ask permission to talk to that guy or girl, to go on a date, to kiss you, permission for the second date, and so on.

Little pretty girl turns down a cute little boy who is trying to give her a kiss

The same goes with networking — you need to ask permission to have an initial conversation, to follow-up and, once you’ve established a positive relationship, you can ask permission for that person to help you find a job.

You can’t just force yourself on to other people. There is a clear set of steps you need to take in order to nurture the relationship.

Desmond Morris, an English zoologist, took his learnings from the primate world and applied them to the human world. As a popular author in human sociobiology, he outlined The 12 Stages of Intimacy, which he discovered by studying animals and humans alike.

These stages are clear steps to take o build an impactful and lasting relationship. Steps 1-7 can be applied to any relationship, while the rest are for intimate relationships.

Violating these steps or skipping a step will most likely result in a penalty. If you go in for the kiss too soon, you’ll probably get slapped. If you pitch your skills to a company too early, you’ll get ghosted in the hiring process.

There are rules to this game and if you don’t know them, you will end up just like everyone else — hopelessly lost in the never-ending circle of applying to jobs online and never hearing back. You need to network and you need to get good at it.

The 3 Basic Rules of Date-Working

There are many tactics when it comes to date-working, but if you master these three, you will be 90% of the way there.

Rule #1: Always Get Permission

Don’t be that person that forces their business card on people (like going straight in for the kiss). If the conversation feels right and you know there will be a follow-up, then give your business card. If not, don’t sweat it. Networking shouldn’t be forced; it should be a natural progression that happens one step at a time.

Rule #2: Be Interested, Not Interesting

You know what everyone’s favorite topic to talk about is? Themselves. We love talking about ourselves. Not in a narcissistic way of course, it’s just natural to focus on our own lives. So while you may think that nailing your elevator speech is key to someone wanting to hire you, think again. It’s the one who is genuinely (keyword: genuinely) interested in the other person that is the most attractive person in the room.

As a general rule: the more interested you are, the more interesting you become.

The way to do this is to simply practice talking half as much as you listen. Ask twice as many questions and you’ll soon be the one everyone’s talking about

Rule #3: Do Your Homework

Some of the most successful networkers in the world aren’t successful because they are lucky or naturally gifted; they are extremely intentional about their socializing. They know what to say and when to say it, because they have prepared beforehand.

They research who will be at the meeting, what business they are in, how they got there, what kind of dog they have, etc. They learn as much about that person/organization as possible before they even step foot in the door. Imagine how much more attractive that person is who asks you about your trip to Guatemala last year versus the person talking about the weather. Spend time sharpening your axe before you enter a room and you’ll immediately have a leg up on everyone else there.

Quality Over Quantity

If I were to boil everything down, the strategy is simply to practice quality over quantity. Focus on building meaningful, impactful relationships. Not because you need them to land a job, but because you want to make deeper connections and develop mutually beneficial relationships.

As you begin to shift away from the destructive strategy of playing the numbers game and into the quality game, you’ll be hooked on its appeal —but it’s not always easy. The numbers game is attractive (and practiced often) not just in job applications, but dating as well. It’s easy to apply for a job online or swipe right on a picture. It’s a little harder to send a thoughtful message that connects with someone right away.

It’s in those relationships that take a bit more effort, however, that you will find and build your dream job (or your dream partner).

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.