You Get to Have Standards, Too

I'll confess that I've never understood the appeal of The Bachelor or the various other shows that it has spawned. There are all these women competing for the affection of one guy, and while he gets to pick whomever he thinks is his Ms. Right, he's just assumed to be Mr. Right for whomever he picks.

Outside of reality television, anyone with decent self-esteem goes into a dating situation not just wanting to be liked, but also trying to figure if they like the other person as well.

The same goes for job searching. You've probably heard it said before that job searching is like dating, where both you and the company are trying to find a good fit, but I see this idea go out the window quickly when people are applying for jobs. This is especially true when a person has been job searching for a while and is getting increasingly desperate for a job, any job.

It probably sounds counterintuitive, just like how narrowing your job search actually makes it easier to find a job, but the higher your standards, the more likely you are to attract employers.

The reason for this becomes clear if we go back to the dating analogy. Who tends to be more attractive: The person who talks about wanting to find the one right person to spend their life with, even if it means turning down potential partners, or the person who is thrilled with any tiny scrap of affection from any person at all?

The person with higher standards appears more self-confident and more thoughtful. These are positive traits in a mate — and in an employee.

If you start communicating that you're just honored to be considered, or that you really hope they "pick" you, you risk sending the message that you don't have any standards about where you work and, as such, the reason you haven't been hired elsewhere yet must be because no one else wants to hire you.

If instead you communicate that you're interested in discussing the position further to figure out if it will be a good fit for both of you, then you send the message that you're putting a lot of thought into your search and have applied to this organization not out of desperation but out of a true interest in or appreciation for what they do.

Throughout your job application process, remind yourself that any company will have to prove to you that they're good enough to be the place where you spend a large chunk of your waking hours. It's OK to have standards, and they may just help you get hired.