Recently I read where experts suggest you should plan on your job search taking 1 month per $10,000 in salary…in short, plan on searching for 6 months for a $60,000 job. While this is just an old measuring stick that was probably skewed to a longer search time frame, it does ask the question how long should one be prepared to be on the search for a new opportunity?
Going off the 1 month per $10,000 salary guideline, here are factors that will extend or shorten that guideline.
1) Number of opportunities: There are more Software Engineer job openings paying $150,000 than English Professor opportunities at that salary range. The hiring demand for your skill set will greatly affect the length of your job search as well as how selective you can be.
2) Location Does your region support your desired career field or are the opportunities in your field in your location few and far between. For example, film production is a tough industry no matter where you live. However, there will be more film production opportunities in Los Angeles than there will be in Lincoln, Nebraska. If you are a veterinarian who specializes in livestock, Nebraska is a more robust job market than L.A.
3) Network Activation: Have you kept your network vibrant (contacts, recruiters, professional) or do you find yourself dusting off the 1994 version of the alumni directory (book form) with the 3.5″ floppy disk that acted as the addendum? If you have crafted a solid base of contacts that you can call upon for assistance and who can help open doors and broker introductions, your search will move along at a better clip
4) Blindsided?: A search will take more time when you are thrust into one (laid off, fired unexpectedly) as you still need to come to grips about being in the job search. If you saw the writing on the wall a year ago, you are better prepared emotionally for the search.
5) Selectivity: If you have the ability to be selective in your job search, most likely it will take longer than the average search as you will be comfortable passing on opportunities that come along that are not a great fit. Those who are not in this situation may need to be more flexible in their job criteria and will be unable to pass up any solid offer.
6) Glaring Issues: If you have something in your past that could be considered a ‘red flag’ for an employer, your search may take a long time. Arrest record, large or several employment gaps, lack of standard credentials, credit issues (especially for financial jobs), lawsuits, and other items can cause an employer to take a pass on offering you an opportunity.
I would support the 1 month per $10K in salary guide as it prepares us for an elongated process. Knowing this, you may prepare differently (cut all non-essential spending from your budget) and attack the search with energy to avoid the typical elongated search. What are other factors that you have encountered that have sped up or slowed down your own job search?