The Candidate Super Series: How Long Should a Job Search Take?

Market Talent logo square AUTHOR

Ryan Kaye

- March 6th, 2023
Candidate Hub

Welcome to Part 12 of the Candidate Super Series. Many factors affect the time it takes to find a job, so it’s vital to think about your unique situation. Let’s look at how long it takes to find a job.

How long should a job search take

Are you in the middle of searching for a job? Haven’t yet been offered that much-awaited offer? Then, you’ll probably be wondering, “how long should a job search take?” and “how long should it take to find a job and land a new role?”

Fret not. You’re not the only one wondering about all of this. Numerous applicants ask these questions amid their job hunt.

So, how long does it usually take to find a job? Well, there’s no resolute answer, unfortunately. However, to work it out, you can follow the below guidelines.

NB: Need Interview Training? Check out our interview coaching services

How to work out how long it should take to find a new job

Calculating your job search timeline is more about speculation than it is calculation. However, we’re not saying you can’t get a general understanding of how long it may take, based on a couple of key factors and a bit of data.

Let’s take a look!

Do the calculations

There’s no set-in-stone answer to the length of time it takes in finding a new job. It’s based on the person applying and the type of job search. There are numerous factors to think about, including:

  • What time of year is it?
  • What’s the job market like at the moment?
  • How much experience do you have?
  • Where are you’re based?

Typically, it takes roughly three to six months to find a new job role, from beginning to end. It may take as many as 10-20 job applications to achieve one interview. What’s more, it can involve 10-15 interviews to score a single job offer.

Recent research reveals that it takes the average job-seeker roughly five months to land a new job.

And in this time, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics’ (BLS) data, you’ll probably revise around four versions of your CV, create four cover letters, apply for seven jobs, and partake in five interviews.

In December 2020, the average duration of people out of work was 23.4 weeks. So, bear in mind the general time frame it takes to find a new job – don’t sweat it about the idea of a job search taking a specific amount of time. This will enable you to feel more enthused, as you’ll have an overall time frame in mind.

Take the variables into account

how long does a job search take

Numerous factors impact the length of time it takes to find a new position. For example, your specific industry and the economy’s state can affect how many appropriate positions are available.

What’s more, if you’ve been unemployed for a long time, it may take longer to find employment, as gaps in employment influence a recruiter’s verdict.

Another thing to remember is what time of year and time of day you apply for a job, as these can affect the job search process. You can increase the likelihood of scoring an interview by picking optimum times to look for a position.

According to the latest stats, January and February are the most popular hiring months, with the best times to discover freshly-uploaded job roles being at the start of the week between 6am-10 am. This is when firms revise their job boards.

Keep calm and carry on

With a positive mindset, your job hunt can be effective – and fast. So, make sure you personalise your CV to the company at which you’re applying, and target your cover letter to every position. Invest in your job search and be proactive about letting people know you’re looking and about networking.

Remain upbeat and committed, and you’ll no doubt move onwards and upwards in your quest for a new job.

Tips on how to accelerate the job search process

The length of time it takes to land a new job is out of your hands. Ultimately, you can’t control how fast a firm assesses CVs or arranges interviews. That said, you can take measures to ensure you’re in the driving seat for a fast job search success.

1. The frequency of your search

applying for job

Sadly, hunting for a new job a few times per week isn’t enough to land you a new job quickly, particularly in such a competitive job market. If you want to get hired swiftly, you need to search each and every day.

If you’re currently working and applying for other positions, then this may seem like a lot. But, numerous organisations upload new job listings every day. And if you hold off on sending out your application for a few days (or more!), this can decrease the likelihood of being shortlisted for the position.

So, when should you send your application for a freshly-posted position? And how late can you be? We recommend sending off your application within one week – or two, at most.

2. Become a more qualified candidate

Consider levelling up your skills. If you start detecting that the positions are a little out of your skills zone, ascertain what it would take for you to get a few more qualifications under your belt.

Perhaps you need to revise your experience, create more of an online presence on social media, volunteer in your sector, or even obtain a degree.

Becoming even more of a top applicant can enhance your likelihood of landing a new job and also help you stay enthusiastic in continuing with your job hunt.

3. Be a flexible job seeker

The key to successful job seeking is being flexible. For instance, are you prepared to work in two part-time positions rather than concentrating solely on a full-time role?

While you may prefer a wholly home-based position, would you be willing to think about a hybrid-remote position, to begin with? Alternatively, you may be fine about moving into a job at the same career level as your existing position, but that may have different responsibilities.

The length of time it takes to find a particular job boils down to how precise your job hunt is. It may take longer to find a specialist finance role. However, if you’re more open-minded and flexible, the quicker you’ll find a position.

Be super-clear about what you want in your new position – but there are typically several ways to reach this goal.

4. Make the most of your job-seeking time

Use your searching-and-applying time sensibly, as this can speed up the process.

We advise:

  • Doing your homework on what it is that you want
  • Personalising your CV and cover letter for each role
  • Making connections and networking with people in the finance industry
  • Chasing hiring managers about your application
  • Being proactive about learning new skills (if necessary).

We suggest making a job search action plan before you begin your search, which would go something like this:

  • Build a tracking system using Excel, Word, and your email folders.
  • Work out what your main activities will be (submitting applications, networking, building your experiences).
  • Set accurate goals for each day (reach out to one networking contact or send one application).
  • Research people and hold informational interviews to test things out.
  • Assess your methods – which technique is generating the best results and which isn’t?

5. Be patient

Give it a little time. Don’t get disheartened if your job hunt takes longer than you thought it would – make every job-search day worthwhile by vowing to be patient and determined. Trust us, it’ll all pay off.

Top tip: avoid rushing the process, as patience really is a virtue here. Don’t forget – you’d rather it takes slightly longer to score the job of your dreams than accept something earlier that you eventually leave because it wasn’t suitable for you.

How Market Talent can help

Seeking a finance role? Thankfully, we post finance and banking positions daily on our site. If you’re up for getting a job in finance fast, drop us a line today with a summary of the kind of job you’re looking for and a copy of your most recent CV. Next, we’ll have a chat with you about the various options on hand in line with your experience and budget.