Finding a job often takes much longer than job seekers expect. The rule of thumb is to plan for at least one month of job searching for every $10,000 of salary desired. This means that a job seeker who expects to earn $60,000 needs to prepare for a six-month-long job search. Why does finding a job take so long?
The first reason why finding a job takes longer than expected has to do with the average company's job search time line. It is extremely rare for a company to post an open position and fill the position immediately. First, resumes must be collected and reviewed. Then, a few rounds of phone interviews and in-person interviews follow. Even when a top candidate is selected, the human resources department still often needs to check references, run background checks and perform other important administrative work before the job is offered.
Job seekers need to have patience with companies during the interview process, especially when it takes longer than expected. A good HR department works to stay in communication with job candidates during a long process, but even the best communication does not make a job search proceed more quickly.
The second reason why finding a job takes months is because there are more job seekers than available open positions. This is especially true for higher-level jobs, which is why the rule of thumb about planning one month of job searching for every $10,000 of salary exist. A highly qualified job seeker has to wait for an appropriate position in the right geographical area to open up and then compete with other equally qualified candidates for the open spot.
Even finding retail and service jobs often takes longer than a job seeker expects. As the Washington Post notes, when Walmart opened in Washington, D.C., it received 23,000 applications for 600 jobs. When these types of jobs get many more applicants than available positions, job seekers need to be prepared for a long job search.
Some job seekers view finding a job as a continuous process. These are the job seekers who keep an eye out for new positions in their industry and apply for them whenever they become available, even if they are happily employed with another company. Because finding a job is much easier when currently employed, these job seekers sometimes have shorter job searches than people who wait until they are unemployed to begin the job search process.
When job seekers ask why finding a job can take so long, they are actually asking what they can do to get hired faster. Ultimately, the best way to find a job is to apply for as many appropriate positions as possible. Job seekers also gain an edge if they apply for jobs while they are still employed. However, even with these tips, finding a job still often takes longer than expected.
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