How Long Does It Take to Find a New Job?

It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months to find a new job. But you can upskill yourself, take control of the process, and shorten your search.

Key Takeaways

  • The duration of a job search can range from weeks to months, depending on factors like your skills, experience, qualifications, and industries that are poised to grow or decline.
  • External factors like economic conditions also influence job search duration, but proactive steps can help you take control of the process.
  • A strategic, multi-pronged approach and a strong professional network can increase your chances of finding the right new job.
  • Upskilling through job-focused training programs can make you a more attractive candidate and help facilitate a career change.
It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months to find a new job. But you can upskill yourself, take control of the process, and shorten your search.

It’s a question people have been asking for a very long time. The answer, unfortunately, isn't as simple as we'd all like it to be. 

While some people secure a new position within a matter of days or weeks, others may struggle for months. The time it takes to find a new job varies greatly and depends on a range of factors––from the strength of the local economy to an individual's qualifications and networking skills.

It can be frustratingly unpredictable for many. According to a recent survey by Unmudl, 42% of unemployed individuals have been actively seeking employment for six months or more. Out of these unemployed jobseekers, 53% indicated that they were either doubtful or very doubtful about their prospects.

There are increasingly more people not in the labor force who want a job (around 5.4 million in March 2024, compared to 4.9 million in March 2023). Add to that Morningstar’s latest US Economic Outlook report anticipating a slowdown in job growth in 2024, and job hunting is looking to be a steeply uphill climb. 

But there’s good news! Some industries are growing faster than others and demanding more workers, while others have become more accessible due to their skills-based requirements. 

Let’s take a closer look at the factors that determine how long it will take you to find a new job – and how you can shorten that window.

resume tips
Click to learn more about Unmudl and Amazon Original Course

Your Job Search Approach Matters

Everyone goes about a job search differently, and while there isn’t a way that guarantees better results than others, there are several best practices to increase your chances.

Networking is Key

Many job openings are not advertised publicly, and even if they are, candidates referred by trusted sources have an edge. Why wouldn’t they? A personal recommendation from a vetted source carries weight. 

Many job seekers struggle with building personal connections and generating positive word-of-mouth. It is a skill like any other and can be improved, however, so it’s never too late to find the right way to network! Job seekers who build relationships within their industry often uncover hidden opportunities that never make it to job boards. 

But remember: networking is a continuous process––it isn’t enough to only do it when searching for a new job.

How Strong is Your Resume?

Another important factor is how well a jobseeker's resume is tailored to the specific roles they are applying for. 

According to an Unmudl survey, less than 30% of job-seekers indicated that they always customize cover letters or resumes. Taking the time to carefully craft a resume highlighting your most relevant skills and experience for each application will undoubtedly make it stronger.

Avoiding common resume mistakes is another way to ensure you put your best foot forward with every job application.

Improving Your Interview Skills

Strong interview skills can change the nature of your job search. There won’t be much searching left to do if you can make a memorable impression on prospective employers.

Interviewers are looking for candidates who can clearly articulate their value proposition, have knowledge about their company, and demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for the role. 

Job seekers often practice common interview questions but it’s important to note that great answers are about more than just their content. 

Research by Albert Mehrabian famously displayed that 55% of liking a person is due to body language––and the tone of voice counts for another 38%. 

Researchers behind The Definitive Book of Body Language also emphasize how we quickly make judgments upon first meeting a person––and the significance of body language for the same. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources that can help you prepare. Cutting-edge tools like ChatGPT can be game-changers for enhancing interview readiness.

Patience and Persistence Pay

It’s not about the number of days it takes you to find a job––it’s about how long it feels to you

Job seekers with realistic expectations have a better chance of staying patient and persistent throughout the process. 

Career expert Cidnye Work estimates the average job search takes 3-6 months from start to finish. Research by Teal, on the other hand, suggests it takes a median of around 44 days from the first application to the first offer, though it can go up to 89 days. 

These timelines, however, vary significantly based on factors like your industry, location, and experience.

The average duration of a job search can help put your own efforts in perspective––but don’t let thinking about the duration of the job search stop you from keeping a positive attitude. It’s essential to remain positive.

Your Industry Impacts Your Job Search Timeline

Industry Outlook and Job Prospects

As of February 2024, there were 8,756,000 job openings in the US.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), industries such as technology and healthcare are currently experiencing the most job growth. These booming sectors often have more open positions and higher competition for qualified candidates.

In contrast, those in or hoping to join industries projected to decline are in danger of losing jobs––especially since the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that the global labor market will contract by 14 million jobs in the next five years

A large part of both job creation and displacement is due to the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

A recent McKinsey report estimates that by 2030, up to 30% of hours currently worked across the US economy could be taken over by automation. 

At the same time, however, the shift towards increased automation will create new jobs for those designing, building, and maintaining such systems of automation

Declining and Growing Occupations

The WEF's 2023 Future of Jobs Report identified several occupations that are expected to see significant job growth or decline in the next 5 years. 

Here is an overview:

Job Growth

  • Agricultural equipment operators (over 2.5 million new jobs)
  • Mechanics and machinery repairers (over 2 million new jobs)
  • Electrotechnology engineers
  • Digital transformation specialists

Job Decline

  • Data entry clerks (over 7.5 million fewer jobs)
  • Assembly and factory workers
  • Accounting roles
  • Business services and administration managers

Unmudl’s catalog of courses, including intro courses in mechatronics, can help make you job-ready for roles in many growing industries. 

a person taking a meeting

Job Search Duration: Skills and Experience 

The length of your search can vary significantly depending on what you bring to the table.

Your Skills and Experience

It’s no surprise that your skills and experience level play a major role in how long your job search might take. Employers are looking for candidates who can hit the ground running and contribute meaningfully from day one.

There has been a noticeable shift in hiring priorities over recent years, with a growing emphasis on skills and experiences over traditional academic indicators like university prestige. An American Student Association (ASA) survey found that 80% of employers prioritize skills over degrees in the hiring process.

In other words, candidates who demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge in practical settings have a leg up on the competition.  

Unmudl offers a variety of courses to help you gain the skills needed to transition into high-demand fields––including courses developed with Amazon.

Entry-Level vs. Experienced Roles

As a general rule, it tends to be faster and easier for entry-level candidates to find a new job compared to those with extensive experience. Finding the right, qualified candidates for senior-level roles requires more effort.  

That being said, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, it is becoming difficult for employers to find the talent they need to compete and grow. Depending on the role, entry-level positions, especially those requiring specialized skills, can be highly competitive too.

Developing a strong professional network and relevant skills will help get your foot in the door more quickly. And there are many platforms to help upskill yourself by taking a course and earning a certification. 

Courses on Unmudl’s unique Skills-to-Jobs® Marketplace, are specifically designed to connect you with employers directly. They provide a great starting point for those looking to deepen existing expertise as well as those launching new career paths.

Career Change

Let’s say you’re stuck in a job search rut. You’ve been searching for too long only to find a seemingly endless stream of ‘not a good fit’ replies. 

Many people find themself in this situation, and sometimes, a career change can be the key to unlocking new opportunities. According to data from the BLS, the average person in the US changes jobs more than 12 times throughout their career. 

While a career change might involve starting at a slightly lower level than you're accustomed to, it is an opportunity to gain valuable experience and build your skillset within a new field.

Switching industries can also lead to a faster job search, especially if you're targeting a high-growth field. It also showcases mastery of skills that are growing in importance. 

Financial Considerations

Let's be honest: changing careers usually requires an investment in new skills and competencies, sometimes when you are not employed. Add those up, and changing careers can become quite expensive

Unmudl courses offer free trial courses and potential reimbursement from partner companies that allow you to gain the skills you need to land your dream job without breaking the bank. Unmudl prioritizes practical learning that translates directly to higher earning potential. 

We understand that costs can sometimes be prohibitive, so we also provide financial assistance options.

Age and Career Change

There's a common misconception that it's too late to change careers later in life. An academic paper studying emotional well-being following a later life career change found that, despite their challenges, later life career changes often result in positive emotional outlooks.

In today's job market, when employers are increasingly valuing skills and experience over age, you’re never too old for a career change! 

If you have the necessary qualifications and the drive to succeed, you’re all set!

Does It Bring You Happiness?

Ultimately, the goal of your job search––however long––should be to find a position that not only pays the bills but also brings you a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Switching careers may be more than worth the effort if it leads to a happier career path

people looking at a laptop

Factors Beyond Your Control

While your job search approach and qualifications play a major role, external factors do impact how long it takes to find a new position.

State of the Local Economy

The overall health of the job market in your geographic area is a key consideration. Does your region have high unemployment? Are the job opportunities concentrated in your industry?

Areas with a more robust local economy present more options for job seekers––which, for some, might mean relocating for a new job.

Hiring Freezes and Layoffs

Broader economic conditions can also influence job search timelines. During a recession or in times of uncertainty, many companies implement hiring freezes or even conduct mass layoffs.

This can make the job market significantly more competitive and drawn out during those stretches. If possible, wait to switch jobs under better conditions. 

Timing of Your Search

The specific timing of your job search can also affect its length. A Forbes article explains that companies slow down during the summer and holiday season, making January, February, and September the best months to get searching. 

Taking Control of Your Job Search

While there are certainly external factors beyond your control, there are many steps you can take to shorten your job search timeline.

The overall strategy you employ can also have a significant impact on your timeline. 

Crafting a Winning Resume

Your resume is often the first impression you'll make on potential employers, so it's crucial to get it right. 

Here are some proven tips to improve your resume:

  • Focus on Achievements, Not Just Responsibilities: Quantify and delineate your accomplishments to demonstrate the tangible values you bring to the table.
  • Tailor Each Application: Customize your resume and cover letter to highlight the skills and experiences most relevant to the specific role.
  • Proofread Carefully: Typos and grammatical errors undermine even the most impressive qualifications.

Leveraging Job Search Tools

Take advantage of digital resources and AI tools available to streamline your job search. Online job boards, applicant tracking systems, and AI-driven matching platforms can connect you to relevant opportunities and smoothen your application process.

Building Your Personal Brand

Your online presence, such as your LinkedIn profile and personal website, accurately reflects your skills and experience and can make you more discoverable to recruiters. 

If you’re up for an interview, you can bet your interviewer has had a look––whether cursory or in-depth––at your web presence. A strong personal brand leaps out of the screen.

Considering Temporary or Contract Work

While not ideal for everyone, taking on contract, temporary, or freelance assignments can be a great way to gain valuable experience, make connections, and maintain momentum while you continue searching for a permanent role.

Staying Organized and Focused

Over time, a job search can get overwhelming. Staying organized and focused can be a challenge. But you can be sure it will optimize your approach.

Keep detailed records of your applications, networking contacts, and interview feedback to identify patterns and adjust your strategy. 

Boost Your Credentials with Job-Focused Skill Training

Enhancing your skills and qualifications through additional training or certifications can make you a more attractive candidate. The right credentials can even help you change careers with no degree.  

57% of respondents in an Unmudl survey said they felt a lack of skills was holding them back from finding meaningful employment. Upskill yourself to stand out and open up new opportunities.

As you navigate the job search process, the type of training and resources you leverage make a difference. Programs specifically designed to directly connect you with employers can provide a distinct advantage.

Unmudl Will Help You Get Your Next Job!

We offer a job-focused approach to skill-building that can help shorten your search timeline––whether you’re looking for a new role in the same field or a new career.

Unmudl courses are developed in partnership with leading companies like Amazon to ensure the content is closely aligned with the skills and qualifications these employers are actively seeking

Unmudl courses are flexible, self-paced, and build credible qualifications in mere weeks. Sign up for a free trial today and get closer to your next job!

Frequently Asked Questions

Click to learn more about Unmudl and Amazon Original Course

More Articles