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How to sell yourself on a date

Dating is like interviewing for a job — in both situations, you dress up, recite your accomplishments, and hope to be taken off the market. Below are four tips that can help improve your game in either field.

#1 Brand yourself

Woman with Real Estate SignThe most dreaded of all get-to-know you questions, whether on a job interview or a first date, is the vague “So tell me about yourself.” (It’s technically not even a question as much as annoying demand!) Instead of snapping back “Well, what do you want to know?” or stammering “What exactly are you looking for?” while stalling for time, the savvy interviewee/dater assumes a question like this will come up and has an answer ready that sums up her essence, dreams, and strengths in one sentence or less. In short, brand yourself. Don’t just rattle off the events of your life in chronological order, but think of it as a personal mission statement. Bad example:“Well, I grew up in San Jose, which was really boring, so I decided to buy a car and move to LA. And, well, here I am.” Good example:“I’m a certified yoga instructor, huge theatre buff, and am working hard on launching an online pet accessory store, which I’m super-psyched about.”Some questions to ask yourself when crafting your mantra:What are your strengths? What are you passionate about? Why do your friends like you? What do you hope to become famous for? If you were ice cream, what flavor would you be?

#2 Do your research

Articles with titles like “Land that Job!” and “Ace That Interview!” always stress the importance of researching the company you are applying for. And there’s no reason not to do the same for your date. With a quick click of a mouse, it’s possible to find out whether your date is married, has a criminal record, or (jackpot!) what his thoughts are about life on his blog. And while some facts may be more relevant than others, if you feel like a stalker knowing information about him that hasn’t yet made its way into the conversation then don’t freak out and ruin the date. Instead, ‘fess up. “So I happened to Google you and thought it was fascinating that…” is a complimentary way to go about it.

#3 Listen, then ask thoughtful questions

At the end of the interview, many potential employers will ask if you have any questions, giving you the opportunity to both demonstrate your interest and strut your stuff intelligence-wise. While a date may not give you the same opening, it’s still important to have at least 4 or 5 thought-out questions to fill the void during any lull in conversation. A tactful “Why did the last person quit?”, for example, is always revealing. At some point, you will want to find out about the other person’s dating past and why he is on the market. And although you should expect that his answer might be vague or spun in a way to make him look sympathetic, there is still much to be learned from how he answers. For example, “It wasn’t a perfect fit,” is a mature acknowledgement that sometimes relationships don’t work although no one is to blame, where as “That bitch cheated on me” might signify that he’s still a little angry about his last break-up and not ready to move on.

#4 The follow-up

Sending a thank-you note is always considered proper etiquette after a job interview as it lets them know you’re courteous and interested. While you should never thank a guy for dating you (seriously, no!) being assertive and sending an email letting him know you had a nice time is a smart idea. However, be aware that the timing of said email will affect how it’s perceived. An email five minutes after your date ended seems desperate. After all, you’ve barely had time to digest your food, much less your feelings — so try to hold off on emailing a follow-up for at least 24 hours (but don’t wait more than three days, either). In the meantime, you, the now savvy dater, aren’t waiting by the phone. You are out there networking (aka hitting up your friends to refer you to any cute guys they know) and prepping for your next job interview…er, date. Get more tips on dating here:How to go on a first date
3 places to find your next boyfriend
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