4 Times online dating and online networking are NOT the same thing

//Photo Taken By Christina Slaton//

A few weeks ago I spoke to a class of undergrads on getting a job after graduation. Typically it takes a minute or two for the class to warm up to me. I come in guns blazing, enthusiastic about careers and networking, and they’re like – can you just get me a job so I can pay rent?

My answer – Yea I can get you a job, but you’re going to have to humor me first and listen to what I have to say. They usually catch on after I tell them I’ve been laid off three times in a row.

I digress. When the question-asking portion of this particular class began I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of hands go up. The first question was about LinkedIn, and whether or not you should be careful who you look up since they can see who’s viewed their profile. I laughed at first because my mind went immediately to the commandments us girls have developed around online dating. Of course I’m talking about:

“Thou shall NEVER allow the guy to know you’re looking him up.”

I thought to myself, are we so conditioned to behave a certain way in the online dating world, that we’ve actually applied the same communication strategies (or lack there of) to the online networking world?

And while I do find many parallels between dating and job hunting (hence the basis of this blog), I felt it was my duty to debunk some things we assume to be similar, that are actually very different.

So watch out, because I’m breaking Job Offer’s & Bad Boyfriends history here and giving you four things online dating and online networking DO NOT have in common.


1. Cyber-stalking



Online Dating Rule: Don’t let the person know you’re cyber-stalking them. Resist the double tap.

Online Networking Rule: Stalk them all you want – better they see you looking at their profile. Now you’re on their radar.


2. Writing the perfect bio



Online Dating Rule: Embrace the banter, your profile should be equal parts mysterious and attention grabbing.

Online Networking Rule: Cut the bullshit, your profile should be specific. It should clearly answer the questions: Who you are, what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, and what you’re looking for in your next position.


3. Showing off the goodies


Online Dating Rule: When choosing a profile picture, let your personality (and best angles) shine through.

Online Networking Rule:  When choosing a profile picture, keep it classy. The cropping tool is your friend.


4. Making the first move


Online Dating Rule: Chivalry is not dead. Wait for them to come to you.

Online Networking Rule:  If it’s someone you’re interested in networking with, don’t hesitate when making the first move. That job is not going to get itself darling. Save the coyness for the boys buying you drinks.


5. BONUS: When online dating and online networking ARE the same.

The first meet

When you reach out to someone for the first time, finding a common connection is key and adding in some clever small talk is not out of the question. Think about when you first connect with a potential date. You typically bring up something they mentioned in their profile like, “I see you’re a Yankee’s fan, I’ll try not to hold it against you *insert wink face*.” When connecting professionally with someone online, consider adding a personal touch before jumping right into jobs and careers. It could be as simple as referencing their hometown or where they went to school. Just maybe leave out the wink face on that message.


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