Need a Job? Get Your Mojo Working

Looking for a job is a lot like dating: You’re reviewing potential mates, trying to prove your worth and evaluating them at the same time — and trying to be discreet about the whole thing.

Teenager going to the prom
Nicole Hill | Getty Images
Teenager going to the prom

Think about it: Who’s the most successful guy at the party? It’s the guy who looks good, has the mojo and rebounds quickly when he’s rejected.

“It’s a lot about confidence,” said Brian McCullough, CEO of and author of the Job Bored blog. “And, sort of like dating, it’s going to happen when you least expect it.”

The most important thing is to get out there. “You never know where that next job is going to come from,” McCullough said, “and it’s not going to come if you’re not out there!”

Here are 10 ways that a job search is like dating.

Don’t Get Caught With Food Between Your Teeth. We like to say that looks don’t matter but the truth is, the decision about whether you get a job — or a date — is made in the first 20 seconds. So make sure you look good.

“Don't get caught with food in your teeth!” said Jeremy Redleaf, a filmmaker and creator of the job site Odd Job Nation. “Literally, you should check the mirror before you enter a room. But also, floss away all those little fibs and embellishments you’ve added to your resume,” he advised. “You never know when that person you say you're ‘great friends with’ is in the room next door.”

Get Your Mojo Working. You can’t give off the scent of desperation — they’ll smell you a mile away. It’s normal to be insecure or have anxiety, but there’s no place for that in the dating world — and no place for that on the job circuit.

“You’ve got to approach it with the mindset that whoever gets you is lucky,” said Susan Jane Gilman, the author of “Kiss My Tiara.” And that’s especially true if you’re unemployed. “You can’t have your status undermine your confidence,” she said. “Think of yourself as the equivalent of winning the lottery!”

Of course, you don’t just snap your fingers and there’s your mojo. Figure out what you have to do to get your mojo working and pump you up before the interview. Maybe you give yourself a pep talk in the mirror or jump on a couch like Tom Cruise.

“Whoever you have to listen to on your iPod before you go in there, if you have to flirt with the guy at the coffee shop before you go in — just do what you have to do!” Gilman said.

Have a Few Good Pickup Lines. We all like to think that we’re the master of winging it, but the truth is, most of us get the slightest whiff of nerves and we crumple like a little girl (no disrespect to little girls, of course!). We get tongue-tied and trip all over ourselves. That may be adorable in a romantic comedy movie but when it comes to a job interview, something that could alter the course of your life, you need to make sure you’re prepared.

So, toss that "I'll just wing it" mantra out with that powder blue tuxedo and go in there with your bullet points, a few good pick-up lines, if you will, about what you’ve accomplished, why you want this job — and why they should want you. If you have them prepared, and go over them five or 10 times, when you get nervous, the words will be there on the tip of your tongue — instead of a knot!

Get Back in the Game! If you’re in an accident, the first thing they tell you to do is to get back in the car and drive. And if you've ever been through a break-up or a job loss, you know it's exactly like a car accident — you're just as banged up and bruised, and just as skittish about the world ever being the same again.

When you go through a break-up, your friends give you the same advice — just get back out there! And when you lose a job, guess what? You have to get back out there, get back in the game!

And what’s the best way to get back in the game? To tell everyone you know that you’re single — or looking for a job.

“You always have to network like a maniac!” Gilman said.

“Get out there and meet new people. Renew old connections and make new ones,” McCullough said. “Make sure you tell everyone you’re talking to that you’re looking for a job! Just like you never know where you’ll meet your spouse, you never know where you’ll find your new job.”

You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs. Michelle Morettini of the Dallas Job Search Examiner reminds us of this classic advice for young girls seeking their prince charming. “You have to kiss a lot of frogs!” she wrote. “Much like in dating, a good job is all about the match between job seeker and employer.”

“Definitely go on every interview,” Gilman said, even if the job doesn’t excite you at first glance. You never know when that frog will turn into your prince charming of a job — or lead you to it!

Rebound Relationships. You should go to every interview, but that doesn’t mean that you should take every job that’s offered to you. Beware the rebound relationship — and the rebound job. You know, that nice job you take to make yourself feel better. You think: “Ha! I showed them. See? I AM hirable and desirable!” Before long, you realize this job was never right for you and, in fact, you hate it. That’s a downward spiral of misery that lands you right back into job-search land, groping around in the dark for your mojo.

Make sure you evaluate each job that’s offered to you for a few days and don’t accept until you know it’s the right fit. It’s better to politely decline a job offer, and use it to fuel your mojo, than to take a rebound job and hate yourself in the morning!

There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea. Remember what your mother told you when you were a teenager — there are plenty of fish in the sea! That advice is just as valid in your job search as it is in dating.

Don’t hold on tight to a person or job you’re sure is “the one” if they’re sending off a just-not-that-into-you vibe. It’s OK to keep networking with that company but you’ve got to put your feelers out in a lot of other directions.

“People get frustrated when the first interview they go on doesn’t work out,” McCullough said. “But I always say, ‘Don’t expect it to!’ Chances are, your job search won’t be simple and fast. You’re most likely going to have to try and try again.”

So get your mojo on and start kissing some frogs!

Tackle It Like Shopping or Football. “What you need to do in a job search, above all else, is to be aggressive,” Gilman said. Many people think aggression is a dirty word but when it comes to your future, you have to be aggressive.

Think about whatever you’re passionate about — shopping, football, whatever. And then take that same intensity and apply it to your job search, leaving no deal or player stat unturned!

“When we’re excited about something, it’s very easy to become obsessed,” Gilman explained. “that’s not a bad quality to have in a job search!”

It’s OK to Call. Seriously. Oh, for the love of Thomas Edison, we need to stop wasting ridiculous amounts of time wondering if we should call the girl we met the night before or the guy we just interviewed with. That insecurity has no place in dating — or a job search. It’s time to grow up — and follow-up — if you’re really serious about this job. This is your future, not an eight-grade dinner dance.

If the interviewer says “We’ll be in touch in a week or so,” and it’s a week and you haven’t heard from them, it’s OK to call or email. Be casual — say you’re just checking in to see if they’ve made their decision yet or if they needed any additional information from you.

It’s OK to call every few weeks or every few months, depending on the situation, but calling them every day is grounds for a restraining order. Don’t cast yourself in that Lifetime movie for women starring Meredith Baxter Birney.

Stay Limber. There’s a reason why the lothario is the most successful guy at the party — he’s always got numbers in his black book, always got someone else he’s got his eye on, McCullough says.

The people who get burned the most are the ones that stay in the relationship — or job — for 20 years and cut off all contact with prior sources because they’re wrapped up in their little nest.

“Always make sure you’re exercising those job-search muscles,” McCullough said. That means, keep your resume up-to-date and stay in touch with previous employers and co-workers.

That way, when the rug gets pulled out from underneath you and you lose your job, BAM! Your resume is already ready to go — and you know who to send it to.

Now get your mojo on, grab that little black book and go get 'em, tiger.


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