How long will my job search take?


Unfortunately, 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, some of which are outside your control.

In general, the further you move away from the type of job you last held, the industry you last worked in or the geographic location you live in, the longer your job search will take.

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
  • Targeting positions that involve relocation
  • 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 or executive 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 per the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

In October 2021, the long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) accounted for 31.6% of the total unemployed according to the 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.

Rather than waiting for an employer or executive recruiter to find you, you will want to use your personal network, executive recruiters, LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster to find job opportunities to proactively apply for directly.

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