I was talking to my husband (who I met online 12 years ago!) about my job hunt over dinner. He said out loud what I had been thinking in my head: “It’s like dating.” It really is!
You create a profile to “sell” yourself. Then you have to hope people like the look of your profile enough to connect with you. You continuously tweak your profile in hopes it will better sell yourself to the prospects out there.
You have to network. Your friends, family and former coworkers can be of help when finding a match, so you have to spread the word that you’re looking.
You see a listing you like. You send a poke or a like or a wink (or resume). Out of, say, 40 pokes, you might get 8 responses. The rest of the time? Crickets. It’s pretty deflating.
Out of those 8 responses you get, many times there’s an initial phone call. This could go either way. You could feel great about it, but the other person feels differently. Or you could both get along and it could lead to a face-to-face meeting.
Out of those few initial phone calls, maybe you get a first meeting. You dress your best, your hair is just right. You practice sounding intelligent, witty and not-nervous in the mirror before you go. You sweat through your shirt, but at least you’re on your way!
There can be bad first dates. Those meetings that just don’t go well for either side and you walk away mutually OK with not seeing each other again.
Or there can be GREAT first dates. You talked a ton! You laughed! You’re so sure there will be a second meeting. So…
After waiting an appropriate amount of time, you send a follow up message. “It was great to meet you last week! Let me know when we can chat again.”
You wait some more. You question yourself. You self-esteem tanks. You realize you’ve been ghosted.
Or maybe during this great first date, the other person makes a promise of a second date. “I’ll call you!” they say. You wait. And you still get ghosted.
After several first meetings with different people, you have your “pitch” down. And frankly, you’re getting kind of burned out by it all. But this is a numbers game! The more people you meet, the more pokes you send, the better chance you’ll find the one you’re looking for. As my former boss would say, "If you want to play the game, you gotta get on the field."
Referrals are so important! When good friends try to match you up and vouch for you, that’s when you know you’ll at least get that first point of contact. Of course it’s no guarantee, but the phrase “it’s all about who you know” is true in many cases.
Or you might get set up by an acquaintance (recruiter). This person doesn’t really know you that well, but after meeting you, thinks you’re great. They say they might have the perfect match for you. This sometimes leads to a first date, or it leads nowhere (more crickets).
Your friends are your champions. They tell you with each rejection, “It’s OK! It wasn’t the right fit!” or “It’s their loss!” or “That just means the right match is still out there waiting for you!”
Maybe after 40 pokes and a few first dates, you meet someone who wants to see you again. Yes! This could go two ways:
You meet again, but you end up in the friend zone. Back to the drawing board. Ugh.
Or, it leads to a relationship! The first few months are fun, exciting and new. You meet new people and try new things. Then you settle in – either for a little while or for the long haul. But either way, you can stop looking for now. And that feels nice.