The impending job search is stressful enough on it’s own. All of a sudden, all of the stellar career advice I give to students on a daily basis is out the window and I’m desperately trying to remember how to write a resume that doesn’t scream “perpetual student” and a cover letter that shows I actually do know a little something about the field.
What happens when you throw your partner into this mix? Now we need to make sure that we’re applying for jobs in the same city, or at least the same states. And what if he gets hired first and I can’t find a job that I’m excited about within a reasonable driving distance? Forget “job that I’m excited about”, what if I can’t find a job at all? My blood pressures seems to increase exponentially every time I run through the array of potential situations in my head. My doctor would not be pleased about all of this stressful job searching. But wait, people have done this before. People do this all the time, right? There are dating and engaged and married people all over the world job searching with a partner and all I want is to gather some of them up into a panel and ask them how they do it over and over again. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic (wouldn’t be the first time my anxiety has gotten the better of me) but I’ve attempted to channel the worry into finding some of the best advice out there from other professionals and if you have a suggestion to add, I’d be eternally grateful!
1. Talk to Your Partner!
Before you get too caught up in this dual job search that you’re about to embark on, make sure that your partner is on the same page. When was the last time you had an intentional conversation about your relationship, your short and long term goals, and your values? If the answer is “never” then this may be a perfect place to start. Do you both aspire to work 9-5 jobs? Are your priorities the same in terms of having a family (or not) and owning a house (or not) and climbing the proverbial career ladder (or not)? If something is important to you, make sure your partner knows about it before you agree that it’s a great idea to move across the country together.
2. Think Selfishly.
Humor me, just for a second. It goes against every fiber of my being to type the words “be selfish” but when you’re applying for jobs you need to make sure that you are doing yourself (and your degree(s)) justice. Think critically about the types of jobs that you’re qualified for in your field and about the type of work you truly want to be doing 40 hours a week. Would you be severely compromising these things for your partner? If so, go back to #1 and make sure that they’re worth it!
3. Research the Job Market.
Ideally, you’re both doing this separately anyway but when looking at different cities, states, countries, and their job markets, make sure that you know where you’d have the best chances of success in finding jobs in the fields that you’re interested in. For example, if both you and your partner are looking at Student Affairs careers, make sure you’re looking at cities with several institutions of higher education in close proximity to each other. Maybe you’re okay with a commute? This will offer a little bit of added flexibility, but consider whether or not it’s worth the time spent on the road each day. If you’re looking into two different career industries, make sure you’ve researched the possibilities in both.
4. Call on Your Connections.
Ask for assistance from family, friends, LinkedIn connections, and colleagues. Attend networking events with your partner to introduce each other to potential future employers or to potential future connections. The more people who know that you’re interested in finding a job, the better! If one member of the pair has already received or accepted an offer, consider asking that individual’s new company if they offer career consulting for the partner. Often, this service is offered but not unless asked about. Joining relevant professional organizations is another great way to get the word out that you and your partner are looking to relocate or be hired!
5. Be Patient.
I doubt that you and your partner will be hired on the exact same day by companies whose offices are within walking distance of one another (if this happens, please let us all know what we should be doing differently!). The job search will likely be a time consuming process on your own and even more so for a couple so plan to start looking several months out to give yourselves enough time to factor in moving (if necessary) and other accommodations. Be practical about what you are expecting and honest when considering all of your options.
Have other suggestions for a dual job search? Please comment below with your thoughts and suggestions!
> BONUS <
Podcast With Mallory Bower on Career Services and Job Search Tips