Finding a new job can be a daunting prospect. It’s a frustrating, painstaking process, constantly swinging from moments of optimism to feelings of futility. But there’s a reason why: finding the right job is integral to our happiness. It matters. So, get the ball rolling on your dream job, and dedicate this Valentine’s Day to taking the first lovestruck steps towards your dream career.

Amanda Augustine, career advice expert, TopCV

Amanda Augustine, career advice expert, TopCV

The average employee in the UK can expect to spend a total of 82,068 hours working over their lifetime, the equivalent to working a 9.4-year shift or 3,420 nonstop days on the bounce. Over that period, we’ll likely get just four per cent more time with our partner or family than we do with our work colleagues. These are the hard facts of a working life, but they illustrate the need to take great care in our career choices so that we are happy with the direction in which yours (and those 82,068 precious hours) is heading.

Finding the perfect job can feel a bit like searching for the perfect suitor. If it’s the former you’re longing for, start by clearly defining what it is that you want. And then? Be proactive! While the adage, ‘good things come to those who wait’ may – on the whole – be true, this isn’t helpful advice when it comes to your career.

So, how do you go about courting a new career? Below are some steps you can take to find the next work-love of your life.

Put yourself out there

If it has been a while since you looked for a job, approach this process as you would after a dating break. Start with a positive mindset and be open to new possibilities. Get yourself along to some networking events in your chosen field – a quick scroll through Eventbrite is a good way to keep your finger on the pulse of your chosen industry and ensure your presence is noticed on the networking circuit.

Getting more active on LinkedIn is also a must. Find relevant ‘communities’ and groups that you can monitor and even begin contributing to to build up your contacts, and consider taking a class to brush up your skills in the industry in which you’re looking to enter or progress in.

Present yourself in the best light

Writing your CV and cover letter for the first time in a while can feel daunting. As with youropening line on a date, how you initially present yourself with your CV can make or break your chances of finding your dream job. And, you might be shocked at how quickly those chances can dwindle. The average recruiter spends less than 10 seconds reviewing a candidate’s CV, so make sure it clearly highlights your qualifying credentials at the top.

Equally, whether you’re looking for love or a new job, your online presence has become a vital component in the search process.

We carefully construct our dating profiles, but often don’t afford the same level of attention to our professional image. Have you tried Googling yourself lately? If not, you aren’t alone. According to research conducted by TopCV, over half of UK job seekers don’t do this regularly.

While this may sound narcissistic, it’s important to be aware of the image you’re projecting online, as this is often one of the first checks a potential employer or recruiter will carry out. If there is anything compromising, then take steps to get this removed from the web. In the same breath, if your LinkedIn profile isn’t an accurate representation of who you are right now, or where you’re trying to go, take the time to get this right.

Don’t be jilted by the past

Whether you were previously let go by your last employer, or you didn’t get the job you wanted the last time you applied for a new role, don’t let past experiences stop you from moving forward this time around.

Focus on the good times, and how you’ve developed – both professionally and personally. Listthe skills that are most relevant to the role you have your sights on and note down examples of these skills in practice . Employers are attracted to candidates with a clear idea of where their talents lie, and how you will add value to their business.

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