How can I manage my job and my career?

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Tinder your next job like a pro

I had an ‘Aha’ moment after reading a recent article. 

Google announced that they had created an AI-powered jobs search engine to make the process of finding a job easier. In an interview with Techcrunch, Nick Zakrasek, Google’s product manager for the project explained the inspiration behind it: 

"Finding a job is like dating. Each person has a unique set of preferences and it only takes one person to fill this job."

It dawned on me that searching for a job really is like dating! 

Anyone who has watched a love story (especially Korean dramas) will be no stranger to the idea of finding "the one" - a dream guy or girl who gets your heart racing and adrenaline pumping. Likewise, we all have that dream job. 

So, I thought - can a dating approach help you get that breakthrough in your job search? Here are four dating tips that can help you:

1. Make use of technology

If we rely on our own network of friends, the odds of getting hitched are devastatingly low. In fact, an economist puts it at 0.0000034 percent.

In this IT age, things have changed. Dating now can simply be just people swiping faces of the opposite gender on their mobile screens (hopefully to the right). According to Simpletexting, 28.3% of dates formed on dating apps blossomed into long term relationships. And about half of them led to marriages! 

How is this relevant to a jobseeker, you might ask. Well, if a dating app can help people find their perfect match, how about finding the perfect job? 

Earlier I had written about Google's upcoming job search engine that would make it easier for you to find the ideal job. However, don't forget your local counterpart! For a comprehensive listing of local jobs, you have the National Jobs Bank, which is a free-to-use (who doesn't love 'free'?) platform managed by Workforce Singapore (WSG). It has job listings across many industries and you can use the search function to filter these listings by job category, title and even salary. A bit of search can help you go a long way.

2. Seek progression, not perfection

Before you happily jump onto any job portal, take note.

Many of us enter the dating scene with expectations based on romance dramas. Since we are going to spend a lifetime with that special someone, that person has to be perfect as an angel. Right? Well, in reality, that rarely happens.

While it is good to pursue excellence, psychological studies have shown that perfectionism can become unhealthy and unproductive. This is all the more true considering that there are no obligations to stick to the same job for an entire lifetime. One should keep an open mind to opportunities throughout their career, including those in different sectors, to continuously grow. Cal Newport, bestselling author and professor at Georgetown University gave this advice: "Stop looking for the 'right' career and start looking for a job". 

3. Smash your mental barriers

So, you finally found the one and he/she is single! (In job hunt lingo, a position is open) You plucked up your courage and confessed your love (read: submitted your job application). Sadly, you were rejected and your heart was broken (cue: thunderstorm outside). 

What next? Do you give up? Before you throw in the towel, take a step back and observe yourself. We all have that friend or acquaintance who got us wondering, "How did she get that hot date? How did he get that well-paying job?"

A big myth around dating is that it is a gene lottery - "I was born like that!" Whether we are too short/tall/young/old/quiet/loud, we all give ourselves reasons why we cannot make it. But research has shown that none of the major qualities of a successful relationship have anything to do with looks, status or wealth. On the contrary, qualities such as kindness, loyalty and compatibility are most crucial. Put simply, there's hope for everyone. We should apply the wisdom of dating and work on bettering ourselves to attract the other half. 

This is true for job searches as well. The fate of our careers is rarely cast in stone. Today we see jobs in sectors such as digital marketing, data analysis, cybersecurity, sustainability management, and the list goes on. These are good jobs which didn’t exist 10 years ago. Who knows what kind of jobs we will see 10 years from now? The world moves so fast, and what we learn in school may be obsolete tomorrow. You can see that as both a threat and opportunity. With the need to learn new things being more pressing today than ever before, those who are fast to move can reap handsome rewards.

4. Keep going

Easier said than done, right? Sometimes, things don’t work out even with your best efforts. Luck also has a part to play, and Lady Luck doesn’t always look your way. However, persistence often pays off. 

This principle plays out in nature too. ''Dripping water wears away a stone, not through force, but through persistence'', as observed by Ovid, the Greek philosopher. 

Think about the courtship that went on for years and finally blossomed into a happy marriage. Such love stories are aplenty. The good old virtue of persistence still works like a charm. And like the many parallels we have discussed between dating and job searching, persistence will bring you far in both.

Got rejected? Persist. Difficult job? Persist. Steep learning curve? Persist.

The answer to getting a job

There you have it! A dating guide to job search. It involves considerable work at the beginning, having to use technology, stay open, be persistent and overcome our mental limits. However, at the end of it all, you will find it worth all the effort.

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