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Love Is in the Air — But Not at Work

Monday, 13 Feb 2012 | 12:47 PM ET

Love is in the air and heart-shaped things, chocolates, flowers and pudgy babies slinging arrows are everywhere, it seems, from storefront windows to your inbox.

Businessman Crying in Rain
PM Images | Stone | Getty Images
Businessman Crying in Rain

But when it comes to the workplace, to quote Rose Royce (or more specifically, Miles Gregory), “Love don’t live here anymore.”

According to a recent survey by TheLadders.com, 88 percent of the more than 250,000 job seekers surveyed said they had some level of dissatisfaction with their current workplace, including 19 percent who said their job “isn’t awful but not great” and 3.9 percent who said they “don’t know how much more of this gig can be tolerated!”

Waiter, check please!

To be fair, these were people who were already in contact with TheLadders, a job-matching service that’s like the Cupid of the corporate world. But consider this: The Ladders’ membership has doubled in the past two years to 5 million. That’s the equivalent of the entire population of the state of Colorado all looking for a job at the same time.

Do an Internet search for "hate my job" and it turns up 229 MILLION results.

No ma'am, love does not live here anymore.

“Both personally and professionally, finding the right match is all about chemistry, and feeling motivated and appreciated in the workplace is paramount for being successful in your career and life,” said Alex Douzet, president and co-founder of TheLadders.

Douzet said he thinks the recession has a lot to do with the level of discontent in the workplace.

“I think there’s a correlation between the level of unhappiness and the unemployment rate,” he said. “Pre-recession, when unemployment was around 5.5 to 6 percent, there was this feeling that the world was great and we were untouchable. Things could get better every day,” he said. “In the past year, with unemployment hovering around 10 percent, people have found that there aren’t that many jobs out there, and maybe if I have a job I should be happy even if it’s not the right chemistry for me.”

Now, even in the best of times, finding the right chemistry isn’t easy.

“Finding the right chemistry is a very complicated process,” Douzet said.

The myth is that you have to send out 100 resumes to land that perfect job — like being the Cassanova of the bar, hitting on every woman in sight until one finally says, "Yes!”

Douzet says a better approach is to have a clear idea of what you want, and identify six to 10 jobs that are a good match for you. Then, really spend some time crafting your pitch, your resume, your interview skills — and your negotiating skills for when they make an offer.

To go back to the dating analogy: You might date 100 people, but the likelihood of finding 100 people you could see yourself marrying is probably slim. And likewise, you’re probably not qualified for all 100 jobs.

“Probably 99 of those jobs you never get a callback because you’re not qualified,” Douzet said.

And really, in sending out 100 resumes, how could you craft a meaningful, job-specific pitch?

TheLadders is so confident in this approach, they offer a six-month “Signature” program of immersive job coaching for $2,500 and they’ll guarantee you get a job offer – or your money back.

And, while it was easy to lose that loving feelingfor finding the right job during the recession, Douzet said he’s encouraged because the number of job openings on TheLadders has gone up significantly in the past six months.

The number of job listings on the site has nearly doubled since September, though that was due in part to the improving economy and in part to the fact that TheLadders expanded its offering to include all levels of professional hiring — not just the $100,000+ that they had focused on initially. That being said, they’ve seen the number of $100,000+ jobs go up about 30 percent in the past six months, Douzet said.

“Every sector is coming back and hiring — even the challenging segments like manufacturing, construction and real estate,” Douzet said.

The sector with the most love — the most job openings — remains technology. Business services (like consulting firms) and professional services (like accountants, lawyers) round out the top three segments with the most job openings right now.

And, while the job market is starting to come back, Douzet said job seekers should remember that, like love, it’s not going to happen overnight. Job seekers should expect that finding the right match takes about six months, where you’re putting in at least three to four hours a week on your job search. Keep that in mind so you don’t lose your confidence — your mojo.

“You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find that prince — that perfect job!” he said.

Here's a little help to get your mojo working. Dude, you've got the moves like Jagger.

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Contact Pony Blog

  • Cindy Perman is a writer at CNBC.com, covering jobs, real estate, retirement and personal finance.

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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