How long will my job search take?
When I get asked by my clients how long their job search will be, I give them my general rule: “It will take longer than you think it should, even when the job market is humming along.” Your timeline isn’t necessarily in sync with hiring timelines, nor can you predict when the “right fit” job will come along. You may even base your time estimate on how long it took you back in 2009 when you were last looking. Throw those old assumptions out because you’re diving into the great unknown of today’s job search. The truth is…

There are just too many unpredictable factors, particularly for experienced professionals. There’s no reliable formula despite the often quoted “one month per $10K of annual earnings” meaning if you’re in the $90K salary range, you should plan on a 9 month job search.

I’ve seen clients land jobs within two weeks and it’s taken others a year or more.

Want to hedge your bets? Assess the strength in your professional network – not just the size of your network, but the quality of the relationships. Are you someone who’s nurtured his/her relationships, or have you let them slide a bit? Let me be super clear about your network: They aren’t responsible for finding you a job. Your network CAN help open doors, make introductions, provide insider information/access and make the whole job search process feel less impersonal. Your network can also be a great way for you to give back as you see opportunities to help others.

It will take longer than you think it should, even when the job market is humming along.

Next, rate yourself on how much upfront research you’ve done on your target job or company. Are you crystal clear about their issues are and how you can help address them? Have you also done enough networking so you know what parts of your background are most attractive to a hiring manager?

You can’t guess/assume your way through this piece — you must do the legwork upfront. Relying on the job posting/description is rarely enough information. You got to dig deeper, talk to people, and learn about the organization — BEFORE you even apply.

And finally, assess your overall marketing package. That is, your LinkedIn profile, resume, cover letter, portfolio, the tools you’ll be using to showcase your skills and experience. Speaking of which – are your experience, background and skills sections clearly differentiated? Is it easy for a hiring manager to see how you fit their requirements? Is your brand clear? There’s one simple question to ask yourself: Are your marketing materials getting you the results you want?

The ideal situation is to not only actively look for jobs, but to attract them to you too. Getting clear about where YOUR opportunities for improvement are will help you target your search efforts and gain some momentum.