Looking for love? You might want to rethink your day job | #tinder | #pof

Think that a new haircut or losing 10 pounds will up your dating game on apps like Tinder and Bumble? It turns out, what you do for a living might be determining whether fellow singles are swiping left or right on your profile, no matter how good you look.

According to a recent study, our job titles influence how attractive we are to potential romantic partners and can be the tipping point for whether they’re interested in pursuing a date. For this social experiment, two Tinder profiles were created — one for a man and one for a woman, both in their late 20s —  which used the same photos for each and all the same details but varied job titles. Over the course of six months, researchers collected data on which profiles received the most right swipes, and learned that in 2020, it’s still good to be a doctor or a lawyer but politicians looking for love might want to rethink their day jobs.

What’s Your Job Got To Do With It?

“There’s a whole lot of assumptions in the dating world,” said Stacey Rose, a licensed clinical social worker based in Ocean Township who runs The Rose Relationship Learning Center. “We think: this person is a lawyer so they must be rich and smart and that person is a bus driver so they must be poor and uneducated — but that’s not always the case,” she said.

Rose said how we respond to online profiles really reflects our values as well as biases. If we value education, then we’re more apt to respond to a profile of someone who lists “doctor” or “psychologist” as his or her occupation rather than “bus driver” or “waiter/waitress,” even though the latter might be waiting tables to pay for a degree.

Once people tell us what they do, we often proceed to make a judgment about that, said Rose, who’s been in private practice for over 25 years. “I think it’s about taking a closer look at what we value and the assumptions we make,” she said.

Matchmaker and dating coach Julianne Cantarella — known as New Jersey’s Matchmaker — said that for daters looking for long-term relationships, a potential partner’s career is definitely taken into consideration as it provides a window into who they are as a person. For instance, someone who lists “politician” or “influencer” — job titles that performed poorly in the experiment — as his or her profession might come with a big ego and need to be the constant center of attention, traits many people might not find attractive. “Web designer” received the most right swipes and Cantarella, a licensed therapist who’s been married for 28 years, said that it’s likely perceived as providing stability and stereotyped as a little more buttoned up and serious.

“When you start dating somebody one of the first questions is: ‘What do you do?’ ” said life and career coach Colleen Georges, who helps clients ranging from new grads to folks approaching retirement find work that is fulfilling. “Work is such a key part of an identity.”

Georges, who’s based in Middlesex County, said that during the COVID-19 crisis she’s really seen how devastating it is to lose a job and along with it, an identity. “We put too much stock in defining ourselves based on our careers,” she said. “We need to get ourselves in check that careers are just a part of who we are as human beings.”

Cantarella counsels clients not to let career stereotypes shadow the total picture. “Dating apps are great but very one dimensional,” she said, explaining that profiles can be effective for marketing yourself and something she helps female clients create to maximize right swipes. “You really can’t understand who another person is until you meet them in person,” she said.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

What Are People Looking For?

What people swipe right on might say a lot about the person doing the swiping, Georges said. Some of the job titles that received the most positive swipes, like architects and lawyers, are all professions that come with stability and often, a substantial paycheck. Not only are veterinarians perceived to be in stable careers, but “it’s attractive because there’s an assumption that person is compassionate,”  Georges said. In the same vein, someone on a dating app might assume a psychologist is compassionate, less argumentative and can deal with conflict based on preconceived notions.

“Swiping is a place to start,” Rose said. “But there’s so much information to gather about the person that you’re dating.”

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

When It Comes To Love, Do Resumes Matter?

Of all the pieces that go into making a relationship puzzle, just how important is what you do for a living?

“When I’m coaching, I talk to people about giving someone a chance because you don’t want to just swipe right or swipe left based on that preconceived notion,” said Cantarella, who’s based in Bergen County but works with clients throughout New Jersey. “You have to get to know the individual.”

In the 15 years that she’s been matchmaking, Cantarella said she’s pulled 10 profiles out of the virtual “trash” for clients to reconsider and all our now either married or in long-term relationships. “They had deemed them to be not good partners for one reason or another, based on that one-dimensional, online profile,” she said. “You have to meet someone face to face to determine who they are as a person.”

As with many things in life, as we get older, we are able to keep what a potential romantic interest does for a living in perspective. “We start to realize there’s a lot more to who we are than our jobs.”

All the experts agreed that what’s probably most important when looking for love is being open to possibilities and knowing what your priorities are. “To find somebody with whom you share similar values, interests, passions, hobbies and chemistry, that’s the jackpot,” Rose said.

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