This is a question I get quite frequently in my monthly “Ask the Career Coach” sessions. It’s not surprising; people who are in the midst of a job search are always anxious. They want the process to be much faster than it (usually) is. The longer it takes to land that new gig, the more self-doubt starts to creep in.
So, at what point should you start to worry? How long should a job search take on average?
The general rule of thumb is this:
Expect one month of job search for every $10,000 of income you expect to earn. Therefore, if you’re expecting to earn an annual salary of $60,000, you should plan for a 6-month job search.
The big lesson here is to give yourself a lot of lead time! The hiring process isn’t something that happens overnight.
Again, this is a “rule of thumb,” so it’s not precise. Your job search may take a little longer. This is especially true for professionals at the executive level and those in fields that are oversaturated or limited in the number of opportunities available. However, if you have a strong resume, a robust network, and good interview skills, you could land something sooner. There’s no perfect formula to predict timing; it all depends on your unique situation.
As a career coach, one of my goals is to help my clients reduce the time it takes to land a new job as much as possible. But there are a lot of factors that fall outside of the job seeker’s control.
You never know what might happen…The job you thought was your perfect match? Maybe that department lost their budget for hiring, or maybe they identified an additional aspect of the job that suddenly takes you out of the running. The manager who said they were almost ready to make you an offer? Maybe they found a more qualified candidate at the last minute—or maybe the boss’s nephew got the job.
From the outside looking in, you simply can’t expect to understand or predict the how’s and why’s of the hiring process. As a job seeker, you’re truly at the whim of the hiring organization. It’s a hard place to be, I know. But that’s the nature of the beast. Things change in the blink of an eye, and often, you never even know what happened. You just know you’re still job searching.
It can feel like a never-ending trudge up a steep mountain. Just remember that it’s not supposed to be fast. You’re not (necessarily) doing something wrong if it takes a while to get some traction. Don’t let yourself get consumed with stress and negative thinking. That will only delay the process more!
That being said, if you’re concerned that something within your control might be slowing you down, consider working with a career coach. Perhaps a slight tweak to your resume, or a minor adjustment in your search strategy, or a different approach to interviewing is all you need to get some positive results.
There’s never a guarantee, but, if you haven’t ever worked with a job search professional, the chances are pretty good that you have some room for improvement. It’s not your fault. No one would expect you to be an expert at this stuff. It’s not what you do for a living! That’s why you can hire someone like me. This is my job, so I know the intricate details and unwritten rules that the average job seeker would never know.
You can learn more about my Job Search Accelerator Coaching Program here.
Finally, let me just acknowledge that job searching is an emotional process. It’s full of ups and downs—moments of exhilaration and excitement, as well as moments of disappointment and frustration. Try your best to keep a level head. Don’t allow the time factor to play tricks with you. Keep a steady pace and continually look for ways to improve what you’re doing. The right opportunity will show up if you just stay focused.
Happy job hunting!
By the way, if you’d like to be notified of my FREE monthly Ask the Career Coach sessions and career training webinars, please sign up here.