Every year, around this time, you hear a lot about people looking for their perfect match. After all, there are over 320 million people using dating apps. That is a lot of people! But there are more than double that number of people on LinkedIn. And this Valentine’s Day, there may be just as many people (if not more) looking for a job as there are people looking for love. So, why not take some lessons from love and apply them to our journey to find the perfect career match? 

Be focused, yet open. 

As they say, to everything, there is a season. What do you want in this season? What would be the perfect match for you right now? The majority of people follow the traditional route of searching for long-term direct hire opportunities. But maybe now is the moment where something short-term with less commitment makes more sense to you. Or maybe you aren’t sure but you’re comfortable starting with something temporary that may have the potential to lead to something more permanent.  

Diversify your approach.  

Swiping through postings [and profiles] can get old quick, especially if you get ghosted after one message or don’t receive a response at all. Research on how people have successfully met a long-term partner shows that only 12% have done so online. The largest percentage (32%) have been through family and friends, followed by work and school. Similarly, a Job Seeker Nation Survey found that despite how many people apply for jobs online, only 35% actually find jobs through online postings. The majority learn about jobs from friends (50%) and professional networks (37%).  

What does this mean for job seekers looking for their perfect career match? Take a break from the online apps and talk to the people in your life. Let them know that you are on the market and share what you are looking for in your perfect match. In this Career Builder Report, Over 80% of employers reported that referrals are the best source for quality hires, and I’m sure there are people in your network who would love to support you as a referred candidate. 

If you aren’t making any connections with those already in your personal and professional sphere, mixing in some additional networking could be very beneficial. The best way to approach this is to be strategic – reflect on your perfect job match and think about where the people who align with that opportunity would be and go there.  

This is a strategy I used early in my career. I had applied to what felt like every job on the NYU careers site and either got no response or a rejection – the online application approach was not working for me. I thought about who I might know and reached out to them with an offer to volunteer if they ever needed an extra hand. Within the month, an old contact asked if I could help at the upcoming Career Fair, and I gladly said yes.  

At the Fair, I was paired with the Director of On-Campus Recruitment to check-in students. When she asked me why I was volunteering, I shared that I had been applying to jobs at the school without success and wanted to connect further with people. It turns out she had an open a Coordinator role and said she would love to consider me. While I had already applied for that position online – it wasn’t until meeting her in person that I was able to get to an interview, which eventually landed me the job!  

Go where the people who are likely hiring for your perfect job match are, and you may find what you are looking for – or at least learn more about potential opportunities. 

You got the date! I mean, the interview!  

After all the networking and countless applications, it happened. You opened your inbox to find that treasured message confirming their interest in getting to know you more. You’re excited about this one and can’t wait to also learn more about them and if this could be your perfect career match. 

Here’s where you need to be 100% yourself. This goes back to the first step of knowing and trusting yourself and what you want.  

Note: it always goes back to this! You have a limited time to share parts of yourself with someone else — what do you want them to know? On the flipside, what do you want to know about them?  

Research the company website and take note of the mission and values, or whatever is most important to you. Search on Glassdoor and sites where employees have reviewed the company to determine if there are any “red flags” or patterns you want to have your radar up on.  

Research, research, research. Prepare, prepare, prepare. And then breathe. Make eye contact. Connect. And be yourself. You got this. 

Check out Atrium’s Guide to Getting Hired too which includes additional tips for how best to prepare for an interview. 

There’s no three-day rule when it comes to finding your true career match.  

The interview was great! You loved the time spent learning about each other, but should you rush to send a follow-up? Would that be just “too much?” My recommendation, especially if you are excited about the job match, is that you send that thank you email immediately. There’s no three-day rule here. And honestly, it could get a little weird after 48 hours so try to do it within 24. It’s also important to be specific in what you write so they know you’re not just sending the same message to everyone you met with this week!? 

Play it cool. Or not.  

I think there’s a moment where you feel you have found your match — career match, of course — where all the rules go out the window and you just know. You know in your gut that this is the one. This is still something I need to remind myself, but in these moments, trust your gut. I never used to believe it when people would say, “when you know, you know.” But I do believe it’s true now. You’ll know when you’ve met your match — your partner, your job match, your career match… you’ll know. 

Remember what is right for you now, may not always be right for you.  

You hear about people outgrowing their once perfect match. Why? Perhaps there wasn’t a focus on growing together — at work, it’s good to know if what you envision for your career is possible in a job or at a company and if it’s not, can it still get you to that next step? Even if it’s not a forever match, there are still experiences to be had and lessons to be learned that will help lead you to a better potential career match. 

Consider a career matchmaker. 

Atrium’s Professional Coaching services teach invaluable skills to candidates looking for new positions, or those in need of guidance navigating any stage of their career path. Visit our professional coaching page to see if any of our coaching services are a good match for you. 

We wish you success in connecting with all the perfect-for-you matches you want this season, and every season!