Finding a job is hard work. It takes strong focus – and time. But how much time?
In almost every class I’ve taught for Patriots Path – which provides career coaching and job search training for military personnel transitioning to civilian careers – someone will ask how much time to allow for finding a new job.
Coming from the world of executive search and talent development, I can confidently say every job seeker and job search is different. But there is a general timeline I’ve found to be accurate, no matter the industry or veteran status.
For every $10,000 in salary, allot one additional month to job search.
To contextualize this, if you are a Project Manager looking for an annual salary of $100,000, you should give yourself 10 months to search for a new job.
What’s the Rush?
My number one tip for a successful career transition is to do nothing in a hurry.
Studies indicate the more strategy put into a job search, including time and assistance from formal career transition programs, the more likely an individual will find the right employment faster, increasing overall levels of satisfaction with the position and the amount of time spent working for the company itself.
If you’re in a hurry to find a new job, it will come across in your search.
Job seekers who are pressured to find something, whether it’s because they have a deadline to retire out of the military or because they’ve been fired from a civilian career, are more likely to come across as overly aggressive, desperate, too agreeable or emotional in an interview. Hiring managers are looking for candidates who are confident, stable, driven and who have a strong sense of direction. It gets increasingly harder to exude those qualities the less time you allow yourself to look for a new job.
Why it Takes So Long
There are four key methods to go about looking for a new job.
· Responding to published job openings
· Using recruiters and/or staffing agencies
· Contacting companies directly
A big reason there’s a direct correlation between higher salary and more job search time is because you are more likely to be hired by someone you know the higher the level the position.
More experience and a deeper skill set naturally lead to a more complicated and robust resume. If a hiring manager knows you, understands what you’re good at and knows what you want to do next, you are more likely to land in a career you actually want.
Networking, therefore, is crucial to finding your next job, but it also takes time.
A good network full of people who know you and your skill set will either introduce you to your next opportunity – like the referral function The Ladders recently launched – or the person you’ll work for next is actually someone you already know.
Turning strangers into members of your network is what will lead to the salary and career you’re looking for, but it will also connect you with opportunities that match you with more than just money and job title. Job searching for a position based on qualifications and skill set is only a fraction of what goes into transitioning careers. It’s also extremely important to consider fit factors like the company itself, culture, mission and benefits.
When you can, do yourself a favor and give yourself plenty of time to search for your next career. You’ll be glad you did.