How Long Does It Take to Find a Job?
Have you ever been in this situation? You’re in the midst of a job search and it feels like it’s taking forever to land something. Your resume seems to fall into black holes and calls for interviews are few and far between.
You may find yourself asking, “How long does it take to find a job?”
Believe it or not, there is an answer, although it isn’t always cut and dry. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of March 2021, people who lost their jobs were unemployed for up to 30 weeks! However, that number may be skewed due to the unprecedented job loss during the coronavirus pandemic.
The truth is, there so many variables to consider when trying to determine how long it may actually take for you to find a job.
Variables That May Impact the Length of Your Job Search
There are a number of factors that could speed up or slow down your job search, including:
- The economy: Is the area you’re living in experiencing an economic boom or a recession?
- Job availability: How many jobs in your preferred industry are in your geographical area? Are you in Kansas hoping to find a job in music production, for example? That might be difficult.
- Your flexibility: Are you only interested in one specific type of job, or are you open to multiple possibilities?
- Your skills: The more skills and education you have, the more in demand you’ll be.
- Your effort: For best results, you should be treating your job search like a full-time job.
- Employment status: It’s easier for those who have jobs to find jobs.
- Your resume and cover letter: Do you have a high-quality resume and a customizable cover letter?
- Your network: Have you been networking with professionals in your industry? The more networking you do, the more quickly you’ll find a job
- Your interview skills: The more polished and professional you are in an interview, the more likely you are to be hired.
These are all important factors to consider as you embark on your job search. The type of job you want (e.g., entry-level, c-suite, etc.) also impacts the length of time it will take to land the job.
How Long Does It Take to Find a Job After Graduating from College?
The Recruiting Benchmarks Survey from National Association for Colleges & Employers (a.k.a, NACE) shows a time span of 37.5 days from the time a job is posted to the time a new college graduate lands an interview for that job. It takes about another 24 days before someone is offered the job. This means it takes a total of about 60 days to find a job after graduating.
In total, that’s about 2 months from job posting to job offer. Comparatively speaking, that’s not too bad. However, finding a first job out of college can take more or less time depending on a few other factors.
First, it depends on what you majored in. Some degrees such as nursing, accounting, and computer science have a clear job path associated with them. Job seekers with those specialized degrees may find jobs more quickly in exactly the field they want to pursue.
It may take the history or literature majors more time to find a job. There will be more competition for jobs that are less specialized.
Also, consider how much time you put into preparing for a job search while you were a student. Did you intern for a summer or two? Did you join clubs and make connections with professors and other students? Do you have a resume ready to go?
If so, then you may be able to find a job even before you graduate. If not, then you’re competing with recent graduates who did put in all of that work.
How Long Does It Take to Find a C-Suite Position?
On the other end of the spectrum, let’s say you’re trying to land a C-suite level position. Based on an average of multiple reputable studies, it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to fill C-Suite executive positions.
Trying to land a C-level role will take you much longer than trying to find a lower-level position. But a lengthier process is pretty typical across all industries for several reasons:
- Fewer open seats: C-suite positions are highly sought after and once people obtain them, they’re not likely to want to leave. That means there are only so many open positions available at any given time.
- Internal hiring: Not only is there a smaller pool of C-suite jobs, but they’re typically filled by internal candidates rather than outside hires. Many firms prefer filling those important roles with people whom they already know.
- More decision makers: There are many more people who must weigh in when a company is looking for a C-Suite level employee. You’ll have to endure multiple rounds of interviews. In addition, the board of directors will weigh in if it’s a publicly traded company.
- They’re being picky: These high-level positions are extremely important to companies. Firms need to hire someone with the right mix of experience, leadership skills, passion, new ideas, and charisma. Choosing the right candidate can mean success and growth for a company. Making the wrong decision, however, may lead to disaster. Expect the decision makers to take their time.
- You haven’t been networking: If you’re a C-suite executive then you’re probably laser focused on getting results in your role. That means things like networking fall to the side. If you find yourself back looking for another C-level position, then you may have less of a network to call on than others.
How Long Does It Take to Land a Government Position?
If you are looking for a job in government, then the timetables for hiring can be a little more predictable than they typically are in the public sector.
Each agency in the federal government has their own hiring practices, however, most agencies want to fill open roles within 12 weeks of posting it. There will be a set period of time that the agency will accept applications. Then, they will close the posting and choose which applicants they want to interview.
After the interview process starts, the agency will likely make an offer to someone within 6 to 8 weeks. If you’ve applied for a government position and 14 to 21 days have passed since you’ve heard anything, then it’s perfectly acceptable to follow up. You’ll likely get a reply one way or another.
How Long Does It Take to Land a Job After Being Laid Off?
If you’ve been laid off or downsized, you’ll spend about 3 to 9 months searching for a job. If the layoff occurred due to reasons specific to the company you worked for, your search will likely take less time. Maybe just 2 or 3 months.
If you were laid off because of a recession or a dramatic shift in your industry, then you can expect your search to take closer to 9 months. There will be increased competition for jobs if many people across the country or a specific industry are out of work.
To reduce the time it takes to land a new job, consider looking for a position in an industry that’s on the upswing. Certain industries such as healthcare, logistics, and technology are always hiring skilled workers.
Do You Know The $10,000 Rule?
Some experts believe that you can expect your job search to take one month for every $10,000 you want to make. If you’re looking for a job that pays about $60,000, then you can anticipate your search taking about 6 months. If you’re looking for a job that pays $160,000, then you’re looking at a 16-month search.
Is this rule set in stone? Of course not. But this simple calculation can be a quick way for you to set your expectations before starting a search.
How to Speed up the Job Search Process
Some elements of the job search are out of your control. For example, there’s nothing you can do about how long a company takes to review resumes. However, there are steps you can take to help hiring managers come to a faster decision about you.
- Beef up your skills: Widen and deepen your skillset to make yourself more attractive to recruiters and hiring managers. That could include going back to school for additional degrees or certifications in your field. You might also be able to gain new skills by doing some relevant volunteer work or stepping into stretch assignments at your current place of employment.
- Search daily. In a highly competitive job market, you need to search the job boards every day, no exceptions. New postings are being added all the time and getting your application in on the first day it’s posted rather than 5 days later can make all of the difference in the world.
- Remain flexible: The more flexible you are in what your new job could be, the faster you’ll find a position. If you have your mind set on a specific job title, role, or salary, then you just realize it may take longer to find the position you want. However, if you are willing to accept a bit less money, a longer commute, or a position that’s close enough to what you ultimate want, then you may find something faster.
- Use your time wisely. When it comes to landing a job, spending your time in the best way possible. Endless scrolling through job boards will yield diminishing returns. You have to search the job boards, of course, but also spend time networking, following up on applications, improving your interviewing skills, and learning about the industry you want to be in. All of those actions will get you closer to landing a job as well.
Stay Positive and Remain Patient
Ultimately, no one can ever predict how long it will take to find a job. If your search is taking longer than expected, it’s very easy to get discouraged. However, patience and tenacity does pay off in the long run.
Take at least one proactive step every day and do your best to stay positive. Making that commitment to yourself is the most important part of a successful, and swift, job search.
In addition to creating exemplary resume packages here at Empire Resume, we provide our clients step-by-step instructions on exactly how to apply for jobs to guarantee your resume will be seen by a hiring manager. This will significantly reduce the time it takes you to find a job!
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.