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Peter's Blog; Job Search and all that Jazz
Series 4113 Number 13 - How long will it take to get a new job? *

"How long will it take to get a new job?" This is a question we get from practically every client, which requires answers to several other questions before we can reply. The following are the most significant considerations:

What are the candidate’s skills? As you can imagine, there are some positions that are always in demand. Accountants, programmers, paralegals, sales people, physicians, nurses and medical technicians are just a few of the professions where there has been continuous demand. As a general rule, the better honed a candidate’s skills, the easier a time he will have with his search. Of course, the skills have to be current and in fields where there has been a growing need. In today’s tight employment market, technology, healthcare, data management and services are growing. Manufacturing has been severely impacted by the number of firms using offshore resources.

What special qualifications does the candidate possess? Certain positions require different levels of education or certificates, representing expertise in their profession. If a candidate is lacking in any of these, it can prolong his re-entry into the job market. In some cases, while a candidate is searching, he can take courses to acquire needed certifications or training.

Are there any restrictions on location, industry or salary needs? For a variety of reasons, candidates may have limitations on relocation, changing an industry or accepting lower salaries to get started into another activity. How severe these restrictions are will add to the length of a search.

What does the candidate bring to the search in the way of experience? Skills are always demonstrated by a candidate’s accomplishments in prior positions. How well he performed in previous jobs can make a huge difference in how he will be perceived in the current job market. Consequently, it is important that candidates are able to identify and enumerate achievements that showcase their skills in a particular activity.

What does the job market look like for the position(s) he is seeking? Testing the job market before creating collateral materials (letters, resumes and brochures) can save a candidate a lot of time. Some great positions are never posted publicly and are only obtained through networking or retained recruiters. Using a spider engine like indeed.com will be useful for a quick analysis of what is being publicly offered in any given location and at various salary levels, but it is not all inclusive. Extensive networking will also reveal what employers are looking for. A low demand for a given activity can mean a longer search or a forced change in career direction.

How much time is the candidate willing to devote to his search? Another great factor in determining the length of a job search is the actual time a candidate is willing to devote to his search. While a candidate may have worked eight hours plus in his previous position, it is amazing how suddenly his level of activity can drop to only a few hours or less per day. Looking for work is a full-time job. The harder a candidate works at it, the luckier he becomes. Of course, this takes into account that the candidate knows what to do in his search. Spending hours in front of a PC responding to job ads online is not really looking for a job. It represents less than 15% of all job opportunities and can be exceedingly frustrating.

We train candidates in the art of networking, getting out identifying jobs in the hidden job market and how to approach them. How well a candidate responds to coaching will contribute greatly to his success.

In the final analysis, all the above factors go into our answer to the candidate’s question of how long his job search will take.  When working with our clients, we plan for a long search and, with the candidate’s total commitment, work for a short one.

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