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How Long Does It Take to Find a Job? Stay Sane During Your Job Hunt

Last updated: July 31, 2019
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Were you recently laid off? Are you tired of your current role and looking for a new job in an entirely different industry? If so, the job search may be daunting. According to CareerBuilder, job seekers spend an average of 11 hours per week looking for employment.

The site also indicates that the average job search takes two months. This is the amount of time spent from the moment the search begins to the acceptance of a job offer.

Today, we’re here to answer all of your questions about hitting the job market. In addition to answering, “How long does it take to find a job?,” we’ll cover some of the other things that you should expect and some tips to help you find your next job.

Factors That Influence the Job Search 

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Just how long does the job search take? Although CareerBuilder estimates that it takes an average of two months to get a job, the length of time can vary significantly from one individual to another, based on an array of factors.

Experience and Salary Requirements 

Your previous work experience and perceived salary requirements will be one of the strongest influences in determining how long your job search takes.

Many people assume that finding a job is more difficult for entry-level candidates than it is for experienced candidates. However, this is not necessarily the case. Qualified candidates come with a perceived price tag.

Even if you’re willing to work for less, your job experience and schooling could cause hiring managers to cross you off their list because they feel that you are overqualified and too expensive. So the more experience that you have, the longer the job-hunting process will be.

Demand for the Position

If your current job is something in a niche market, your job search will take longer. For instance, someone with a veterinarian’s skill set may find that it takes them longer to find a job than someone like an office administrator. The unemployment rate could also dictate how much demand there is for jobs. A higher unemployment rate means you’re in stronger competition for a position.

Your Network

The social media site LinkedIn recently revealed that 85% of jobs are filled through networking. Job opportunities can arise from existing relationships or new relationships that you create. The saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is applicable when job searching.

If you haven’t taken the time to network in your current role, you may have to go through a more traditional hiring process, which includes blindly submitting your resume and hoping for an interview. When doing so, you’ll find yourself in a pool of hundreds of other candidates, where it may be much more challenging to secure a follow-up.

Your Age

An unfortunate reality of the job search is that the older you are, the more difficult it will be to find a job. That’s because companies look for younger workers who not only provide fresh perspectives but are cheaper as well. So even though you may be older with more job experience, you may find that the job search takes longer.

When You Apply

One of the last factors that influences how long it takes to find a job is the time of year in which you apply. For instance, many companies won’t make a hire until the beginning of the fiscal year when they are more flush with cash.

A lot of companies will slow down hiring during the holiday season — from roughly Thanksgiving through the middle of January. You may find that it’s better to wait a couple weeks before submitting your job application.

The Interview Process 

To better understand how long it takes to find a job, it’s also crucial to know how the interview process works. Typically, you’ll start by submitting an application. Many applications require resumes and cover letters. You should tailor both documents to fit the job description. You may find that you’re not able to complete more than four or five job applications in a day.

After applying for a job, the next step is to wait. Companies tend to take 1-3 weeks to get back to candidates that they’re interested in. If you don’t hear back during this time, you may want to follow up with the hiring manager to check in on the status of your application. Glassdoor indicates that the average job opening attracts 250 candidates and that about 2% of candidates will receive a call about a future interview.

If a company is interested in you, they’ll set up a job interview. Many companies start with a phone interview, otherwise known as a “screener.” This provides the hiring manager the opportunity to get to know you a bit more and to ensure the available position is the right job for you.

If you do well during the phone interview, the next step is an in-person interview. It may take companies 1-2 weeks to schedule an in-person interview. You should also account for travel time. If you’re applying to an out-of-state position, planning a meeting becomes more challenging. Some companies may choose to have multiple in-person interviews before making a full-time hire.

Remember that the job search is going to require patience. ZipJob says that the average application to interview ratio is 10-20%. This means that for every 10 job applications that you submit, you can expect to receive one phone interview.

Knowing this, it’s easy to see why the job search can take so long. For roughly a week’s worth of applications, you should expect to receive 1-2 phone interviews.

What If the Job Search Isn’t Going Well?

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If your quest for a new position isn’t going well, you may need to rethink your job search strategy. Here are some techniques that can get you on your way.

Use a Recruiter 

If you’ve sent hundreds of job applications and haven’t had any luck with the job search, it may be time for you to hire a recruiter. Recruiters are a worthwhile investment during your search for a full-time job because they save you considerable time.

You won’t need to scour job boards or pore through dozens of emails in your inbox about positions where you might be a good fit. Recruiters can connect you directly with their clients, who have job opportunities that you’re a good fit for.

Recruiters can also provide you with advice. Perhaps they notice that your resume is too cluttered or that your cover letter is not specific enough. Remember that a recruiter’s job is to place candidates, so they want you to succeed just as much as you do.

Take a Break

If you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed, you may think you need to submit applications continually. Perhaps you apply for jobs that you’re not even a good fit for, just to say that you “applied.”

Instead of doing this, you’d be better off taking a break from the job search. Spend a few days away from the computer. Consider reconnecting with individuals or attending networking events in your area. Job opportunities can arise in the unlikeliest of places. Plus, these activities can provide you with an emotional break from the stress of the job hunt.

Consider Working as a Freelancer

If you have a unique skill set, you could forgo the job search entirely and work in a freelance role. You’ll still need to put together a portfolio and find clients. Some clients may even require you to complete primary interviews.

However, freelancing can provide you with more work-life balance. You’ll set your hours and rates, and you’ll be able to put your skills to good use. The more freelance work that you complete, the bigger your network, and the easier you’ll find it to locate future clients. Not only would this network help with freelancing, but it could also help if you choose to go back to full-time work down the road.

Additionally, if you find that your job search is taking longer than anticipated and that money is starting to get a little tight, you can consider ways to bring in passive income. Passive income can provide you with the funds necessary to stay afloat during a job search. And once you’ve found your full-time job, you can reallocate your passive income into a savings or spending account, providing you with even more financial flexibility.

Find Your Dream Job Today

If you’re looking for a new position, you should know that the process is not going to be easy. Finding a new job is basically a full-time job in and of itself. However, with reasonable expectations and a sound job search strategy, you can make the process easier on yourself.

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