“I found the absolutely perfect job. It’s me! I have to work there!” These can be the most nerve-wracking, heart-breaking, and time-wasting sentiments a job seeker can have. Having a job crush means you found an attractive and exciting opportunity that stops you in your tracks. You fixate on it. Read the post over and over. Call your friends. Make a movie in your head about what your life will be like when your name is over that title on your crisp new business card.

Loving what you do is a great way to not work a day in your life. At least, that is one way some career gurus have explained what it’s like to find your passion and get paid to do it. The truth is, you will find it a joy to go to work every day, when you do something you love. And, it’s inspiring to hear some people say, “Even if I didn’t get paid – and I could afford it – I would do what I do for a living because I love what I do.”

The reality is that a person who is working in a job they find deeply fulfilling has a position that meets all these criteria: satisfying, meaningful, productive, and lucrative. Being employed in an industry you find compelling with a job that leverages your strengths presents exciting challenges, provides opportunities for learning, and brings you respect plus good fellowship with your coworkers, and pays you well is not just possible – it’s a reasonable and attainable goal.

There are many reasons why you take internships, part-time jobs, and entry level positions. In those settings, you find out what you really love doing (which may be surprising) and oftentimes, what you don’t (which also may be surprising). Discovering your strengths as an employee and what really happens on-the-job (versus what the job posting led you to believe) means you have to be on-the-job. That real world experience builds discernment and sets you up for sustainable success throughout your career.

However, if you develop a job crush based on a job posting, then you really aren’t in love. You’re just falling for a profile, which if you’ve done any online dating, you know isn’t what you really get when you have the first encounter (virtual or IRL), much less during a long-term relationship.

So, how does a job crush happen? It’s common under a couple of scenarios and it can happen to anyone.

For instance, you love a certain show and you’re totally fulfilled watching, reading, and commenting on social media about it. You know every episode. You know what all the characters wear and you could dress them if you were the show’s stylist. Then, voila! You see the job posting for a junior stylist on that show. O.M.G. You. Are. In. Love. With. A. Job. Posting.

Or, you’ve taken a LinkedIn Learning course on project management and discover this is your thing. You’ve always been a manager type, running the show on group projects in your courses and coordinating everyone working on an event. You are meticulous about meeting deadlines. You have a knack for the gentle nudge that gets people to do their part. Your personal brand is logical, trustworthy, and congenial. Then, you put in “project manager” and “entry level” into the LinkedIn job search engine. The “absolutely perfect” job pops up, right on top of all the listings! It’s meant to be, you decide. Love. At. First. Sight.

This would all be fine if the consequences of having a crush weren’t so awful. It becomes impossible to write the perfect cover letter to capture your rapture, much less why you are the ideal candidate skill-wise. You get writer’s block. You stall. You miss the deadline to apply. Or, you manage to apply and you get the interview. You freeze in front of the recruiter. Your fear about messing up this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity makes you mess up what really was an ordinary job interview for in reality, a slightly more than ordinary opportunity.

Any time you idealize, romanticize, or otherwise inflate a job opportunity, you increase the pressure on yourself. A job-hunt is the time to lower your stress. The best approach to a job listing is optimistic, curious, and eyes-wide-open. Don’t let a faux-soulmate feeling knock you off your feet.

Avoid a crush and you’ll avoid feeling crushed!

Next Steps

  1. Use a five to one ratio for your job applications. For every job you really like, apply to five more that you like a little less.
  2. Once you outline a job posting to understand the requirements and find the keywords to include in your resume and cover letter, don’t go over and over it. Just write the letter, customize your resume, and go on to the next opportunity!
  3. Keep track of your applications on a spreadsheet and include a column where you rate how much you like each job on a scale of 1-5. Keeping a log lets you see your progress and shows you how often you find what you like when you keep looking.