How Long Should My Search Take?Posted: May 8, 2021
I understand, really. You lost your job. You have bills to pay. You’re ready to go back to work. The economy is still wonky. What you want to know is “how long will it take to find a new job.” You better be sitting down, because you may not like my answer.
Long ago I learned a simple rule-of-thumb. You should be prepared for your job search to take one month for every $10k of annual salary you want to earn. A lot of things have changed since I first heard that, so maybe now it is one month per $15k, but that math is harder to do. Be prepared for a search for a $30,000 annual salary job to take 3 months and an $80,000 job could take 8 months. I’ve been fired/laid off/RIFed/what-have-you six times. The fastest I’ve ever found a job was about 4 weeks and the longest was 13 months.
Your search may not take that long. Some people are in the right place at the right time. If you already have a strong and well-maintained network, you may be able to speed up the process. But, for the 1-month rule to be a rule, it has to be an average. That means that for many of you it will take longer. Unfortunately, recent experience by several of my friends, says the rule-of-thumb is still be pretty accurate.
What this means is that you need to be patient, persistent, prepared. If you think you are at risk for losing your job, evaluate your assets. If you have no other source of income and will rely on unemployment and savings, figure out how long they will last. If you don’t have enough money for the rule-of-thumb, you may want to change your search process. You may need to settle for a lower paying job just to get some income flowing. You might have to lower your standards, or look in another geographic area. You just need to be prepared.
If, like me, you have a loving spouse with a good job and you can get by, then be patient and work the process. Know that it probably won’t happen overnight, but it won’t happen on its own either. You have to do the work, build the network, and get the system to work for you.
Patience may be a virtue, but when it comes to finding a new job, impatience often is just as important. If you are struggling, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/