How Long Will my Job Search Take?

Whether you are looking while still working, or have been furloughed or laid off, the answer is “that depends”.  It depends on your current job title, your skillset, your industry, and your location.

The average time to get a retail or health care job is 43 days.  For a Director title it is 76 days and for a C-suite 71 days.  But that is only an average.  Here are some other measures.

1) Shortest and easiest job search 

– for the same job title, you have now, with a different company in the same industry. It might take two to three months if you spend your time wisely. For example, you leave one bank as a mortgage broker and go to another bank.

2) Middling time frame 

– If you want the same job title but in a different industry, you will need to show how you can transfer your skills, how you can solve problems in this new industry, and that you are knowledgeable about the industry. That might take 3 to 6 months, more or less.  Example: you are a sales manager in the health club/training industry and you move into financial sales.

3) Longer

– A different job title.  If you transfer your skills to a different job, that might take 6 months or longer.  Say you are a teacher and want to transfer to educational administration, you need to show how your skills in leading, organizing, planning and communication will directly relate to the new job title...That could take 6 months or longer.

4) Longer and more difficult

– A different job title in a different industry.  Say you are in sales and want to move into project management, or you are in clinical and wish to move into research.  You might have to take a course or learn on your own.  You have to prepare to talk about how your skills can be transferred AND you need to bone up on the industry by reading trade journals and talking to people to get information.  That could take 3 to 6 months or longer.

5) Longest and most difficult 

– A different job title in a different industry in a different city.  Your job title might not be available in your hometown...  Are you prepared to make a move to another city?  That might take 6 months or longer. You need to do everything suggested in numbers 2, 3 and 4 above to prepare yourself.


– If you are working you need to spend 10-15 hours a week on your job search.  If you are not working, your job search is your job.  Spend 35-40 hours a week including your research, informational meetings, networking, and applying for jobs directly to a hiring manager at a company.  

(c) 2020 Amy Geffen All rights reserved

Originally published at GEFFEN CAREERS on August 10, 2020.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash



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