Often when I start working with a client they’ll ask, “How long do you think this is going to take?” My answer is always the same, “It depends.”

Many factors go into how long it takes to find a great new job. These are just a few:

1. How prepared are you?  Do you know your likes, dislikes and needs in a work environment? If not, that’s okay, but it’s going to take some time to answer those questions. It’s time well-spent, because it’s the key to a successful job search.

2. How focused are you?  Are you looking at several possibilities and trying not to close any doors? It may seem counter-intuitive, but that can often prolong your search because it’s twice, or triple the amount of work.

3. How committed are you?  Are you prepared to take on some discomfort now to speed up the process? Are you willing to set and keep deadlines for the critical prep work (networking, crafting your stories, targeting specific employers) that are fundamental to getting interviews?

4. What industry have you chosen?  Some industries have longer recruiting processes than others.

5. What compromises can you make?  I’m not suggesting you compromise at all, but knowing where you can compromise vs. your “must-haves” will help you navigate what you will apply for and how to handle offers when they come.

You can discard any folklore you’ve heard about the length of your job search being tied to how much money you earn. What is true instead is that the more senior the role, the more stages there are likely to be in the interview process. That’s all. It’s possible to move through the stages quickly, or it can be painfully slow – even for an entry-level job. The difference will depend on the organization, the specific hiring manager, and other decision-makers. Not to mention that most people involved in these decisions have other responsibilities and personal lives too.

The good news is that done right, most timing issues in a solid job search effort are in your control!


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