Career advice that also doubles as dating advice

You spend hours getting ready to meet a stranger, hoping you’ll connect with them. And maybe, they’ll like you—and hopefully, you’ll dig ‘em too. You consider what you’ll talk about, where you’ll meet and research what you have in common. You’ve been down this road before, and you know it is unpredictable where it will lead. You battle through the nerves and work up the courage to keep at it, no matter how many times you’re rejected. Are you dating — or applying for a job?

Often times, the process of finding someone you want to spend hours with, regardless if it’s romantic or professional, is grueling and difficult. That’s why so much of the wise words of wisdom about falling in love also apply to scoring an offer letter for your dream gig. Here, dating experts and love gurus give their best tips:

Dress to impress

Career and branding expert Wendi Weiner the saying ‘dress for the job you want’ is relevant for both an upcoming interview or meet-and-greet with a potential partner. Though traditional perceptions toward dress code are shifting more and more casual in most industries, it is still important to present yourself professionally when you’re vying for a position. “When it comes to interviews, what you wear to an interview is just as important as how you act during the interview. Remember, the interviewer’s first impression of you will be made in less than 60 seconds,” she shares.

Know your boundaries and limits

We all have deal breakers in every aspect of your life, whether it is what you’re willing to give in a friendship, settle for in terms of salary or compromise about where you’ll live. Psychologist Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., explains knowing your boundaries and limits is an important skill set, for both love and career, since it shows emotional health. “If you voice your concern about something serious at work or with your significant other and nothing is done about it, you need to know if and when it’s time to end the relationship or the job,” she says.

Be bold

When there is something you really want, what measures are you willing to take to get there? And what does it take to reach the goal? Couples therapist Sarah Schewitz says those who dare to be bold are more likely to reap the success and the experiences they desire. “If you want to progress to the next level in your relationship or your job, you need to ask. Employers will often give you a raise if you ask for one but they are a lot less likely to give you one if you don’t. Much the same, if you want to go from casually dating to being exclusive, say something,” she continues. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Be yourself

If you can’t actually complete the technical skills listed for a job, but get it, how steep will the learning curve be? And how long will it take you to perform at an impressive level? On the same token, if you aren’t authentic with the person you’re newly dating, it makes it might difficult to build trust and connection. Sexpert Coleen Singer says more than anything else, being yourself is solid advice, no matter what you’re talking about. “Everyone wants to put their best foot forward, but if taken too far, your real self will eventually shine through and when it falls short of what you initially presented, disappointment will ensue and damage your relationship with both your career interactions or your dating relationships,” she explains.

Listen and hear

No one wants to spend an evening with someone who only wants to talk about themselves. And no one wants to hire someone who is purely selfishly motivated. Branding and neuro human behavior expert Ali Craig stresses the importance of not only listening, but hearing what people are saying, in work and in life. “Most of us half listen to others while we’re distracted by thoughts about our next response. Instead, stop and hear what the other party is really saying. Hear the tone, be conscious of the non-verbal cues they are sending, and truly listen to every word so that you fully understand their position before you weigh in with yours,” she continues. “Not only will being a good listener decrease the likelihood of a misunderstanding, it will also give you greater insights, clarity, and ideas about how to move forward.”

Trust the process

Patience is one of the biggest pills to swallow, especially when a job search or the quest for someone to marry feels endless and at times, hopeless. Weiner says both dating and applying for jobs requires practice. And sometimes, that means striking out half a dozen (or even a hundred) times before finally getting it right. “Interviewing is a learned skill and one of the most important for career success. Dating is also about practice. Your resume is only as good as your ability to convey it in person, and the same thing goes for a first date. The interview is your opportunity to allow your personality to shine and show why you are the perfect candidate for the position,” she explains.

Don’t move too fast

There’s something alluring about that head-over-heels feeling. The rush of emotions, the flood of connection — it’s enough to make anyone want to dive headfirst into a relationship. And the same goes for a shiny job offer that’s double what you’re making now. In both situations though, remember to think carefully, consider smartly and well, be picky. “You want to interview the company as much as they are interviewing you. A slower process can be a good thing,” Weiner notes. “It allows both parties to really consider if they are the right fit — and the same goes for dating. A slow natural progression is always best. If a company offers you a job on the spot, it can scream desperation. The same goes for dating.”