Photo: Nicole Williams
Looking for the perfect relationship has a lot in common with searching for the perfect career.So says career expert Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connection Director and author of “Girl On Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success.”
She says that the best rules for dating, sex, love, or long-term relationships are also useful for career success.
With Williams’ help, we picked out the most useful tips that your love life can teach you about your career.
'You have to experience the wrong relationship to know what you're looking for in the right one,' Williams writes.
Don't be in a rush to find your passion. If you're unhappy at your company, or with your career, that's a good thing. It's a signal to yourself that you need to find something that suits you better.
Ask your most trusted friends their opinions about what you should do with your career. Listen with an open mind. This isn't about doing what other people tell you to do, but about trying to get some outside perspective.
'The more desperate you are to find 'the one' more likely you are to repel it,' Williams writes.
Relax and be confident in your ability to find the right job. If you don't really feel this way, start by pretending that you do. You'll be surprised how that leads to actual confidence.
You will never be desperate if you know you can make it on your own. If you can't find the perfect opportunity, you may just need to go out and create it--starting your own business, freelancing, or getting creative in other ways.
If other people can do that, so can you.
'The number one reason we don't get what we want in our careers is we don't ask for it,' Williams writes.
Why? It's because we're afraid of rejection.
'Get over it. And then devote your energy to what they will say yes to,' she says.
'Be yourself: Are you kidding?!' Williams writes. Do you really want everyone at the office to know your deepest personal issues? No, you don't.
'Instead act like a hard worker.'
Find the person in the office everyone looks up to (one level above you) and emulate her or him, Williams advises.
No matter what the reason for the meeting, the body never lies. If you can learn to read the signals, you can figure out how much he or she is into you (or isn't). That's as true about a meeting with your boss to discuss your latest idea as it is with a client or a date.
Dilated pupils, torso and feet facing you, tilting a head toward you: All good signs. Fidgeting, no eye contact, fast nodding indicates impatience and means that you should gracefully end the meeting as quickly as possible and try again another way.
Most people spend more time with their co-workers than with their friends. Don't confuse the two.
Just like a love relationship can be killed with TMI, so can your reputation at your job.
For instance, never bad mouth your previous boss or company. And don't bash your ex while on a date, either. It doesn't make your ex look bad, 'it makes you look bad,' Williams writes.
You can't win the heart of a lover by insulting the competition. You can't win the big promotion by bashing your in-house competitor, ether.
'Nine out of 10 times you'll achieve the exact opposite of what you intended,' warns Williams. Instead step up your own game and be grateful for the motivation.
And whatever you do, don't downplay yourself. It doesn't make you look humble. It makes you look insecure. 'You can't expect someone to love you if you don't love yourself.'
If you've taken a job and then you discover that the company is too uptight (or too relaxed), or your boss is a jerk, not much is going to change that.
Find a way to prosper despite it. Or get over it and move on.
Looks matter. The one who wins isn't necessarily the most gorgeous guy or gal in the room. But a person who makes an effort to dress appropriately attractive gets noticed.
So does the one who dresses inappropriately.
Most of us know enough to dress well for the big meetings, but the day-to-day interactions with your co-workers also matters, Williams says.
'No one likes a martyr -- not even the boss who expects you to do whatever it takes to get the job done,' Williams says.
So if you've put your life on hold for your job, you are only hurting yourself. A healthy life outside of work refreshes you, expands your network, sparks your creativity.
Just like it's a bad idea to give up your friends or hobbies for your love interest, it's a bad idea to give up the rest of your life for your career.
Just because your career -- or relationship -- has gotten stale, doesn't mean it's time to quit yet. First, try adding some spice to it.
Take time to enjoy a feeling of accomplishment at the tasks that you do well. See if you can power up that feeling of loving your work again.
Add some variety to your work -- take on a new project, learn a new skills and try delegating the ones that most drain you.
If your relationship with your company, or your career has stalled out, its easy to be lulled into complacency.
Don't waste your life on something mediocre. Change something at your job to make it better for you and if you can't do that, don't lie to yourself: It's time to move on.
Before you put the word out that you are looking for new opportunities within your network, 'control your message,' William says. 'People not only believe but will repeat what you tell them.'
You want to be seen as someone 'up and coming.' If your network can't do this for you, consider hiring a publicist or headhunter to help you spread the good word.
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