1. Career Advice
  2. Finding a job
  3. No more waiting. How long does a job search take? Check it now
No more waiting. How long does a job search take? Check it now

No more waiting. How long does a job search take? Check it now

  • How long is the average job search?
  • Factors that affect the job search length
  • 7 Steps to shorten the job search timeline
  • 1. Consider your goals
  • 2. Make a plan
  • 3. Choose a strategy
  • 4. Create a targeted resume
  • 5. Track your jobs
  • 6. Use your network
  • 7. Be patient
  • Key takeaways

At some point, many job seekers find themselves asking, “How long does a job search take, anyway?” If you were ready for a new job yesterday, learn about some factors that can affect your search and discover how you can speed up the process.

When you’re ready for a new job, you probably don’t want to wait weeks—or months—to get one. It’s frustrating to keep sending out applications without success. While many variables can affect your job search, there are ways you can potentially speed up the process and increase your chances of finding a new job quickly.

This guide will answer the question, “How long does a job search take?” We’ll also discuss the following topics:

  • What the data shows about the average job search length

  • Factors that can affect how long it takes to get hired

  • 7 steps you can take to accelerate your job search

How long is the average job search?

When you’re sending out application after application, you may start to ask yourself, “How long does a job search usually take?” There’s no simple answer to this question, though you can look to recent unemployment numbers for some insight. According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average unemployment duration lasts for 19.9 weeks, or nearly five months.

Of course, not every job seeker is unemployed, so it’s useful to consider other data as well. The Josh Bersin Company recently released a study showing it takes employers 44 days to fill vacant positions on average. This timeline can vary widely, however, depending on the industry. According to the report, some industries, like energy and defense, take significantly longer to hire candidates than areas like technology and retail.

The bottom line: It can take time to find a new job. Some people can get jobs quickly depending on their skill set and industry, while others may need to spend more time searching for the right job.

Factors that affect the job search length

While it’s tough to predict exactly how long it will take to find your next job, you can get a better idea of an estimated timeline by considering some different variables. These factors can all impact the length of your job search:

  • Economy. Employers typically have more job openings in strong economic conditions, which can improve your chances of getting a new role.

  • Location. Do you live and work in a big city or a small town? Urban areas usually have more opportunities for job seekers.

  • Industry. The industry you work in can have a huge impact on your job search timeline. If you work in a high-demand industry, like healthcare or construction, you may have an easier time finding work.

  • Seasonal trends. Some industries, such as retail, have seasonal shifts in hiring. In those industries, you can boost your chances of finding a job quickly by applying at the right times.

  • Your skills and experience. Having in-demand skills, like artificial intelligence, may allow you to find jobs more quickly. If you have extensive experience in a specific area, however, you may be competing for fewer jobs with other highly qualified applicants, which can lengthen your job search.

  • Your network. Sometimes, finding a job comes down to who you know. Tapping into your network and getting referrals for positions may help you land a job faster.

7 Steps to shorten the job search timeline

While all these factors can influence how quickly you may land a job, there are some methods you can use to speed up your job search. Follow these seven steps when you want to shorten your job search and find a job faster:

1. Consider your goals

You don’t need to spend weeks making a 10-year career plan, but pause to consider your goals before you jump into job hunting. Knowing your goals can allow you to do a focused search, which can speed up the process. You’ll waste less time going after jobs you don’t want and have more time to submit thorough, targeted applications for the ones you do.

As you consider your goals, ask yourself a few questions about your ideal job. These questions may include:

  • Do you want to stay in your industry or do something new?

  • Do you want to move into a higher position or remain at your current level?

  • Do you have the necessary skills and experience for the job you want?

  • What type of work environment do you prefer?

  • How important is work-life balance for you?

  • Do you want to work in an office, or do you prefer a remote or hybrid role?

  • What’s your ideal salary range?

2. Make a plan

Once you’re clear about the position you want, make a job search plan. Having a plan can keep you on track to reach your goals. It’s helpful to schedule some time you can commit to job searching each week. For example, you may decide to apply for five jobs every weekday, or you may devote several hours each week to networking with people in your industry.

  • Treat your job search like a meeting or an appointment. Block out time on your calendar to devote to job hunting.
  • Be inconsistent. You never know when an employer will post the perfect job, so if you’re not searching consistently, you might miss an opportunity when it comes.

3. Choose a strategy

There’s no magic formula for finding a job quickly, so choose the job search strategy that works best for you. Some common strategies include:

  • Using online job boards or niche job sites

  • Working with recruiters

  • Attending job fairs

  • Going to networking events

  • Contacting companies directly

  • Reaching out to people in your network

If you’re serious about finding a job fast, try using a variety of these methods. Using different tactics can increase your chances of finding one that works.

4. Create a targeted resume

If you can’t remember the last time you updated your resume, it might be holding you back. Many companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan and reject resumes automatically if they don’t contain the right keywords. That means a hiring manager may never even see your resume if it’s not optimized for the role.

As a rule of thumb, make small changes to your resume each time you apply for a different job. Include words you find directly in the job description, particularly ones related to your relevant skills and experience.

5. Track your jobs

When you’re applying for multiple jobs, it’s helpful to have a way to track them. A system for job tracking can allow you to assess what’s working and what you can improve as you continue searching. A dashboard like Career.io’s Job Tracker, for example, makes it simple to track all your applications, including the job, company, and your status.

A tracking system can also help you remember to follow up on your applications. For example, if you apply for a job you’re excited about but don’t hear back right away, you can follow up with the hiring manager to reiterate your interest. It’s a good idea to wait one to two weeks before following up to give a hiring manager enough time to review your application.

6. Use your network

Your network can be a valuable tool in your job search. Contact former managers, co-workers, and friends or family to ask if they know about opportunities in your field. If they know about a job opening, ask if they can introduce you to the hiring manager or recommend you for the position.

When you use your network to learn about a role, it can allow you to personalize your application. You become more than a name on a resume, which can give you an edge over many other applicants.

7. Be patient

It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re applying for jobs and not hearing back. Be patient and continue submitting applications for jobs that align with your skills, experience, and goals. Evaluate your strategy and determine whether you can make adjustments to speed up your search. For example, you may ask a friend or trusted advisor to review your resume and offer tips on improving it.

While finding a new job can take time, these strategies can prove helpful when you want the process to go faster. Stay consistent and be confident that your efforts will help you land the right job for you.

Want a faster way to manage your job search? Use Career.io’s job search strategy to spend less time searching for jobs and more time optimizing your chances for success!

Key takeaways

  1. It’s hard to know how long your job search will take, though recent data shows it may take anywhere from six weeks to five months.

  2. The timeline of a job search can depend on several factors, such as your industry, location, and experience.

  3. If you’re ready to find a job quickly, know your goals and make a plan. Be consistent about applying for jobs to improve your chances of getting an interview.

  4. Keep track of the jobs you apply for using a tool like Career.io’s Job Search Tracker, which can help you measure your efforts.

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