How long will my job search take?


There is no formula to predict how long your job search will take. Many different factors will contribute to the length of your job search.

Factors that could either shorten or lengthen your job search, depending on current market trends, include:

  • The overall job market itself
  • Your desired industry
  • Your desired functional area
  • Factors that would likely lengthen your job search include:
  • Changing your career field
  • Changing your industry
  • Being at a salary level above the market rate for your target position
  • Seeking a higher-level position with limited job openings such as director-level positions
  • Re-entering the workforce after a lengthy absence
  • Having a work history of frequent job changes
  • Being a mature worker
  • Lacking the degree typically required for a desired position
  • Hesitating to apply for positions
  • Number of applications per position

To give you a ballpark idea of how long your job search will take, the average length of unemployment as of January 2019 is 20.1 weeks for those 20 years and over, with the average length of unemployment increasing to 23.7 weeks for those 55 to 64 years (source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Many states require unemployed workers to first use their severance weeks before being eligible for receiving unemployment, which means the average time a job seeker is unemployed is actually longer than the time they receive unemployment.

Our intention in providing you with these statistics isn’t to discourage you, but rather to help you recognize upfront that you need to be as proactive as possible in your job search.


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