How Much Time Should You Give Yourself to Find a Job?

How Much Time Should You Give Yourself to Find a Job?

How Much Time Should You Give Yourself to Find a Job?

When you’re looking for a job, it’s hard to be patient. You’re anxious to find the right position and get your life back on track. Your impatience is understandable, but it’s a good idea to keep your expectations realistic. What does that mean? Most job experts say the average job hunt takes from 2 to 6 months.

What the Experts Say

According to Indeed, on average it takes about 9 weeks to find a job, through the sending out of applications, the scheduling of interviews, and time spent waiting responses. And you'll also have to factor in the state of the economy, the state of your industry, and your personal circumstances before you have a better sense of how long you might be searching for a job.

Career Sidekick advises that you should expect to wait 2 to 6 months. It may take longer if you’re looking for an executive position. And again, this will depend on the overall economy, whether you’re in a growing industry, and whether you have high-demand skills.

Factors That Affect Your Job Search

Several factors can speed up or slow down your ability to land that job. Some are in your control, and some aren’t. Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. In fact, one of your most important challenges over your entire job transition will be to remember to focus only on the things you can control, and to plan around the things you can't.

Strength of Your Professional Network

You’ve heard it a million times. Most jobs come through a professional referral.

Developing a strong network is integral to your success at finding work and progressing in your career. Attending networking events, creating social media accounts, and engaging in community activities can all help you build a strong network.

One of the best uses for your networking is to focus on some target companies where you'd like to work and setting up informational interviews with people who know about those companies or, ideally, are in them. What you learn will make you a much stronger candidate.

Demand for Your Skills

If you have high-demand skills and years of experience, you won’t wait long to get a job. You may even have recruiters calling to offer you positions. If you’re not, you may need to market yourself better to recruiters and your professional network.

Your Job Hunt Efforts

How do you know if you're working hard enough to find a job more quickly?

Caitlin Proctor, a career expert at ZipJob, suggests that while there's no one answer to that question, the best results come from people who apply to 10 to 15 jobs per week. Generally speaking, the more strong opportunities you target, the more results you'll get. Part of your effort has to be determining which opportunities are the strong ones.

That number works out to researching and submitting two to three job applications each day.

Your Age

It’s unfortunate, but there is age discrimination in hiring. If you’re over 50, ageism among hiring managers can slow down your search.

Mark Miller, who runs the CareerPivot blog, which focuses on older job seekers and career changers advises patience. People in this age group are likely to be searching longer. Improve your chances by removing anything on your resume that gives away your age.

The Length of Time You’ve Been Looking

Bias against unemployed people also exists. About 20% of people without jobs stay unemployed for over 25 weeks. Employers are less likely to hire these people.

What does that mean for you? Be sure to fill that gap somehow. Here are some ideas:

  • Get a part-time job or start a part-time business. The amount of money you make is less important than showing you’re busy doing something.
  • Take classes toward a degree or certification in your field.
  • Sign up with a temporary agency. When you do, the agency becomes your official employer. That gives you a current position to list on your resume.

Can You Speed Up the Job Search?

If you want to get a new job as quickly as possible, there are some things you can do.

Take care of the basics. Make sure your resume is well formatted, is easy to read and has appropriate keywords. Use a cover letter on every application. Send follow-up emails.

Work your networks. If you’ve neglected your professional network, it’s time to tune it up. Spend some time working on your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts. Attend events that offer networking opportunities. Put yourself in a position to meet people who can help you.

Improve your skills. Are there certain skills employers seem to want? These might be software packages or specific tools. If you’re lacking in these skills, take a class or pick up a book. Get the skills employers want.

Get Ready for Your New Job

Looking for a job isn’t fun, but it can be an exceptional learning experience. It’s an opportunity to stretch yourself, learn new things and discover what you’re capable of doing. Focus on doing everything right, and don't worry about things you can't control. Before you know it, you'll have that job offer in hand.

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