Looking for that perfect (job) match?

You look around and see that other people have what you want. Sure, it’s not perfect, but at least they have something. It’s that feeling of being a part of something. You want to feel wanted like that again.

What you need is a job.

Being out of work and starting the job-search process is a lot like being single —- the awkward pauses when people ask what you’re up to, the memories of jobs past, and friends who try to make you feel better with “You’re lucky. I wish I could stay in my pj’s all day.”

Enough is enough. It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and that perfect job is out there. Here are six steps for your job search that will help you find love in the job market.

Step 1: Go in with the right mindset

“I've purged myself of bitterness and anger and remained open to love.” —- Tatum O'Neal

Okay, it’s a bit intense, but the sentiment rings true! If you’re looking for love, you need to be willing to put yourself out there. The same applies for your job search process. Don’t feel sorry for yourself and make excuses. Go to networking events. Join LinkedIn and other great social networking sites. Take a class in your field to brush up on your skills.

Then, start applying to jobs. Create a dynamite cover letter, polish up your resume, and tweak both of those along the way to better fit each specific job. If you haven’t looked at your resume in a long time, it may be wise to get a little help getting it back in shape.

Step 2: Don’t dwell on the past

“It is not possible to go forward while looking back.” —- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Maybe your last job cut you loose and broke your heart. Perhaps you were the one to leave. Either way, what’s done is done and the past is the past. Don’t waste time and energy thinking about your last job, whether it was a waste of your time or the one that got away. Chalk it up as experience and prepare yourself to move forward.

This is especially important as you start your job-search process and begin to interview. Bad mouthing your last job or boss tends makes you (not him or her) look bad. On the flip side, telling a prospective employer how much you loved that job and wish you still had it is kind of like talking too fondly about your ex on a first date. Keep your past in mind, but show more interest in your future.

Step 3: Make sure you look good

“Look your best —- who said love is blind?” — Mae West

You wouldn’t show up for a first date looking like a slob, and the same goes for the way you come off when searching for a job. That means polishing your online presence. Here are a few things to consider:

  • LinkedIn is a key resource for employers. Make sure that your profile is accurate, complete, and makes you look great.

  • Facebook is easy to neglect. Don’t let pictures or rants that may have seemed funny at the time tarnish your professional image. The same goes for Twitter and Instagram.

  • Google yourself. What kind of links pop up? If you don’t like what you’re seeing, you may need to do some cleanup.

If you think that employers aren’t going to look at your social media presence, you’re fooling yourself. It’s a simple way for them to get a peek behind the curtain and see who you are when you’re not trying to impress someone for a job. Keep it up to date and professional.

Related: How to Take Advantage of Social Media During Your Job Search

Step 4: Know what you’re looking for

“If you don't know what you want, you end up with a lot you don't.” — Chuck Palahniuk

One of the simplest job-search tips is that you need to understand what kind of job you want. Think about the jobs you’ve had in the past. What did you like? What drove you nuts?

Are you looking for something like your last job? If so, use your cover letter and resume to highlight your success in that position. Put emphasis on results, not tasks.

Perhaps you’re ready to branch out. If so, your cover letter and resume should focus on why you’re capable of taking on a role that may not be represented in your work history. Pay close attention to your skills section and emphasize times you may have worked across departments to gain experience.

Next, think about the other things that matter to you. Job location, company size, and pay all matter. Once you’ve narrowed the field, you’ll have a better chance of finding that perfect match.

Related: How to Build a List of Target Companies for Your Job Search

Step 5: Don’t settle for less than the best

“There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” — Nelson Mandela

You’ve zeroed in on the type of job you really want, but you also see some others out there that may be fine.

Say it with me: “I don’t want fine!”

If you’re out of work, it’s hard to resist the low hanging fruit. At least it’s a job, right? If you’re in dire straits financially, do what you have to do. But if you can hang in there a little longer, it’s worth it in the end.

Set your sights high. Apply for that dream job (or a few of them). Don’t sell yourself short and take something that is going to lead to future unhappiness. Just like the dating scene — don’t settle.

Step 6: Give a little, take a little

“Relationships have to have a give and take if they're going to work in the long term.” — Shakira

Even once you’ve made it through those awkward first dates called interviews and landed the job, it’s not time to kick back. Your new job is a new relationship. It takes work from both sides in order to succeed. One guarantee is that if you don’t put in your best effort, you won’t get the return that you really want. If you want to love your job, show your job the love.

If this Valentine’s Day has you bemoaning the fact that you’re not in a committed relationship with employment, it’s time to do something about it. Start working on what you need to do to put yourself back out there. It can be intimidating to start the job-search process over again, but you can do it.Everyone wants to feel wanted, and finding the right job can make you feel like you’ve found the perfect partnership.

Click on the following link for more job-search tips.

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