Looking for a new job? You’re not alone. Many professionals are contemplating a career move but are nervous about how long it will take to find a new position, particularly in today’s uncertain employment market.
In fact, “How long does it take to find a new job?” is one of the most common questions I’m asked as a career coach and job search expert.
How Long It Can Take To Find A New Job
The honest answer is, it depends. Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent report, the average duration of unemployment is approximately five months. However, this data does not paint a full picture, as it only includes Americans who are unemployed and does not consider your industry, target role, or unique situation.
There are several additional factors involved in how long it will take to find your next job, including your background and experience, the competitiveness of your industry, and how much time and effort you put into your search. Luck also plays a part in how long it takes to find a new role.
You must take all these factors into consideration when predicting the length of your job search.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to find a new job faster. Here are four proven ways to speed up your search:
How To Find A New Job Fast
1. Get clear on your target role.
To begin, you want to get crystal clear on your target role. Job seekers often cast a wide net in the hopes of landing a job quicker, but this can backfire, as it can make you seem indecisive and underwhelm recruiters.
Instead, you want to be specific about the type of role you want. For instance, rather than targeting all “human resources” or “marketing” openings, decide which specific functional area you are drawn to, as well as the scope of responsibility you desire.
While you are at it, you also want to be explicit about the company type you are targeting. For example, do you want to work at a Fortune 100 company, a hyper-growth startup, or something in between?
Take some time to reflect on your dream company, then make a spreadsheet of some targets, bookmark their careers pages (example: jobs.disneycareers.com), and check back weekly for openings that align with your requirements.
2. Update your career documents.
Next, take the time to ensure your resume is up to date and tailored to the target role you outlined in the first step. As you apply to roles, be sure to customize your resume to each opportunity, too.
Remember that you do not need to rewrite your resume for each role you apply to. Rather, spend 20 to 30 minutes per application, strategically inserting keywords from the job listing into your resume and doublechecking that you’re addressing each requirement in the posting.
You also want to take time to update and optimize your LinkedIn profile. This not only helps recruiters and hiring managers find you on the platform but also gives you a great resource when networking with prospects at your target company.
Focus your attention on your LinkedIn headline, ensure your target role is clearly listed, and then add relevant keywords from your target job postings to your summary and experience sections. You don’t want to leave readers guessing about the roles you are seeking or the skills you possess.
3. Harness the power of networking.
Remember that list of target companies from step one? Revisit it regularly to see if you have any contacts working in your target roles. If you do, request an informational interview to learn more about the organization’s culture and hiring process, then request an introduction to the hiring manager.
And if you don’t have any contacts at your target companies, try leveraging LinkedIn to build out your network. Blind and Fishbowl can also help you build a network, especially if you are looking to break into the tech industry.
4. Invest in professional help.
Lastly, consider seeking out the help of a career coach to support you in your job search. The process of finding a new role can be challenging, particularly in the current employment market. Partnering with a trained professional can help you refine your job search strategy as well as identify barriers that may be standing in the way of landing your next role.
The average time to find a job depends on several factors, such as your background and experience, industry, and the quality of your job search efforts. As a job seeker, it’s in your best interest to focus your attention and energy on those factors that you can control, including identifying a clear target, updating your career documents, and harnessing the power of networking.
You might also seek out the advice of a career coach if you want to shorten the length of your job search. Please feel free to contact me or schedule a consultation. I’m here for you! You’ve got this!
A version of this article first appeared on the Career Tool Belt blog with the title, “How Long Does It Take To Find a New Job?”