The number one question I get about job searches when I’m out on the road is how long should I expect to be looking for a new job and how often should I be applying to new jobs. The truth is there is no simple answer to those questions, and the answers are heavily dependent on the type of job and career that you are in.
But there are some rules of thumb that I use to answer this question. My advice has been built on years of experience in recruiting and HR consulting, as well as personal experience looking for jobs.
Job Hunting Timeline
Generally, you can expect to look for a new job for one month per every $10,000 you hope to make. This is assuming that you are strictly applying online and directly with human resource departments and not using your network to get in front of managers. The latter method should speed up your job hunt and make it much easier for you to land your dream job. The former provides you with a consistent brute force method of finding a new job but as you can see it could take some time to come to fruition.
To be clear, the formula that I use says that you can expect to be looking for a new job for six months if you hope to make around $60,000. This is just a general rule of thumb and is different for every single situation.
Looking for a job as a full-time job
how often should you be applying without formula is also an important question. Some people decided they will only apply to one job a week and hope that they will have their job in just a short few months. The majority of those polled don’t understand that sometimes you can look at job hunting as a statistical game. Where a certain number of applications yield a certain number of screenings, then yield a certain number of interviews, then yield a certain number of job offers. To me that seems to be always a safe model if you wish to truly understand the job hunting process.
The problem lies in the assumption that job hunting is something that can be done on the side while you continue to dedicate time to less important things in your life. Job hunting, like anything that is important and valuable, takes time, dedication and effort. You cannot expect to get an interview and a job offer after the very first application that you submit. So it’s important that you use your common sense and apply accordingly. That means both quantity and quality.
Here are some points that you should keep in mind:
- dedicate time every day to searching for new jobs and applying to them. If this does not become part of your everyday schedule you can forget that you will ever find a great job that meets your needs and pays you the salary that you’re looking for. Many of us these days rely on recruiters to bring them the jobs but recruiters are only part of the solution, you still need to do the work
- make sure your resume is top-notch. Make sure that it follows all the recent changes and standards in resume design. You don’t have to hire a professional to help you with this, as most of it is self-explanatory. If you have trouble deciding on what format your resume should be in, just get on one of the free job boards and resume databases and look at other people’s resumes that are similar to yours. That should provide you with a good example on what your resume should look like
- you should apply to at least 2 to 5 job every day.
- Make sure that you still continue to submit cover letters to your job openings. Most of the time they don’t get read, but sometimes they do. In order to make your cover letter unique for every opportunity make it into three paragraphs. Paragraph 2 and three should be standard and should not be changed from one cover letter to the next. That way you save time and you have to modify every single cover letter you submit. Paragraph 1 should contain something that would give the impression that your entire cover letter is unique and only applicable for the job that you apply to. That way you give the impression that you wrote that cover letter only for that job application, and the hiring manager or human resource manager will feel that you truly want the job since he took the time to write a cover letter for it
- make sure to use job search engine aggregators like Indeed and Simply Hired because much of the time they provide you with job openings that are not posted on the big job boards.
- try to have a plan or a strategy for your job search. The good practice but is obviously not required, as sometimes you just applied to all the jobs that you can find and you are still able to find a great job that meets your needs. But having a plan or a strategy does bound the type of jobs that you are willing to apply to, which in its own right provide you with freedom and a stress-free application process
The most important thing that you must remember is that you should never give up. Apply for the holidays, apply on vacations, apply from your phone, tablet, or laptop. Help you should even apply using the old school paper applications that they give out an HR department sometimes. Whatever it takes!
Good luck with your job hunt, and let me know if I can answer any questions for you in the comments below.