THE BLOG
06/04/2013 04:47 pm ET | Updated Aug 04, 2013

The Job Search Is Just Like Dating: 5 Tips for the Recent Grad

Most college students think about sex and dating every day. Many have become experts in the process. But, when it comes to the job search, new grads can feel somewhat inexperienced. Listed below are five lessons from sex and dating that can help score a dream job

Your friends set you up or you look online. Just like you do when dating, employers look to their social network long before posting a job online. New grads should network with their friends, professors, alumni, and acquaintances about open positions in their desired field. The best way to do this is by having a complete LinkedIn profile, adding as many contacts as possible, and asking people to write you a recommendation on your LinkedIn Profile page. Having several recommendations builds credibility and trust, both of which are very attractive to potential employers.

The supermodel icebreaker. Recent graduates should treat hiring managers and HR recruiters like supermodels. The reason is that like hot models, hiring managers are very selective and get approached countless times each day. One way to be remembered is by giving a gift. In the job search, this equates to a portfolio: cover letter, resume, three letters of recommendation, and a sample project. This is the new standard. When a hiring manager receives a portfolio, they spend one or two minutes looking through it. If all they receive is a resume, they spend on average only eight to 30 seconds reviewing it.

Tell amazing stories. On a first date, you often talk about traveling, common interests, and your family. In an interview, you need to tell stories about past educational and professional successes. The reason is that when employers hear that you were "amazing" during a school project or an internship, they will predict that you will be "amazing" with them. In essence, you want to demonstrate that you meet the requirements of the job description and that you make a good "work partner." Doing this will make you a strong candidate when decision time comes.

Dress up and drop off your portfolio. Remember the supermodel comparison? You stand your best chance with a hot model if you look your best -- think professionally dressed characters on Mad Men and Gossip Girl. Then hand deliver your portfolio. If this is not possible, send your dream employer a hard copy of your portfolio. Applicants who do this are the ones who get interviews and rise to the top of the applicant list. It's always smart to be nice to every receptionist you encounter. Many times they are the ones who will distribute your Portfolio to the hiring manager or HR representative.

Research your dream date. Find out as much as you can about your dream employer and know their mission. You will become an appealing and desirable job applicant by doing so. Less than half of all job seekers do this and it's an easy way to shine. Not knowing anything about your interviewer makes you seem average and a "bad date."

These five tips also work for getting an internship, whether during school or right after graduation. In today's economy, it is common for employers to offer three to six month internships to new grads. If the internship goes well, a full-time position may be offered. This happens frequently in growth industries such as healthcare. Research and ask for internships, as well as full-time jobs.

See, you are much more of a job-hunting expert than you thought! Just remember to treat your dream employer like a hot date and you will be a lot closer to scoring your dream job than you were before. In the process, there's a good chance you will become more confident and be happier as well.

Dominic Bokich is the author of Sex and Your Job Search: A Guide to Scoring Your Dream Job. His websiteUrDreamJob.com has entertaining, conversational, and educational job search advice. He also works full-time as a Talent Acquisition Specialist for a large university medical center and hires on average one person per day.