How Fast Can You Land a Job?

5 min read
My wife recently accepted a new institutional leadership position that she initially applied to eight months ago. For many months, she had assumed that the position was filled, or that the organization had “moved on” to another candidate. In fact, for hiring that involves senior positions, the process can take what seems like forever.

Two decades ago, when I first opened my career coaching and resume writing firm, the rule of thumb on timetables for finding new jobs was one month for each $15K in salary sought. We now find that it takes, on average, roughly a month to land a job for each $25K in salary.

According to a recent annual Jobvite survey, hospitality and retail jobs are the fastest to land (40 days), while better-paying and more secure healthcare job seekers take two months, or longer, to secure their jobs.

The Jobvite survey also shows that executive positions take quite a bit longer to fill. Even management track assistant jobs can take several months.

The study found that approximately 59 people apply for each open job position, only 12% land an interview, and only 17% of those who are interviewed, are eventually offered a job. Roughly 1 in 10 people who are offered a job will turn it down, so if you are not the first choice, hang in there!

Factor #1 – Your Job Search Readiness & Preparation

While extroverts can seem like the natural winners when it comes to job search, and they often do have larger referral networks and “get out” more to be seen by potential employers, introverted jobseekers can actually beat them to the punch via preparation. Just as our military places a huge emphasis on readiness, you should do the same.

The key to job search preparation is to avoid waiting until the dreaded pink slip or layoff to begin preparing for your next position. Here are a few critical action items that you should be addressing now to maintain healthy job search readiness: Slowly but surely build up industry contacts, increase your LinkedIn connections, attend events and save business cards, reinvent your resume and LinkedIn profile, and continuously attend workshops, seminars, courses, and conferences. Those who can afford a career coach generally rave about the improvement in their job search results.

Factor #2 – Economic Conditions & the Job Market

Just as investors can do well in both rising and underperforming economies, jobseekers who hit the pavement in search of jobs can also fare well throughout a variety of economic conditions. During downturns, for example, companies may reduce positions too drastically and end up forced to quickly rehire to meet demand. When senior-level, expensive staff are given early retirement packages, companies can find that they must hire two new staffers to do the job previously done by one.

The U.S. economy created 209,000 jobs in July 2017, coming in better than many economists had expected. The unemployment rate just ratcheted down to 4.3%, near the point at which most economists deem to be full employment. 200,000 new jobs a month is considered to be a sign of a sound economy.

Factor #3 – The Position Level & Salary You Are Seeking

The Job Landscape is essentially a pyramid, with the most plentiful, easiest to land, and lowest-paid positions in relative abundance at the bottom of the food chain. As you move upward on the job scale in terms of position title, compensation, and prestige, the jobs become scarcer and harder to land. The time from initial application and interview to final job offer can take much longer.

Some jobseekers are electing to either raise or lower their career sights depending on just how able and willing they are to expend resources to accommodate the investment and time that some high level job application processes can require.

Factor #4 – Your Persistence & Energy Level in the Job Search

You can take two identically qualified jobseekers with similar backgrounds, credentials, and resumes… one will land a great position within a modest amount of time, while the other will take much longer, perhaps settling for a lesser opportunity. The key factors in distinguishing the two outcomes is individual persistence, preparation, and energy level.

In many respects, job searching is exactly like sales… sharpening your networking and cold-calling efforts, making more presentations, expanding the “funnel” of available opportunities, increasing the scope and volume of your search, and upgrading your marketing materials. To get serious about preparation, you should do what top sales reps do – research their prospect’s needs, enhance their professional dress and attire, ensure promptness in appointments, senf thank you notes to all prospects, consistently follow up, and, as successful sales reps often say, “Always Be Closing.”

Factor #5 – Blind Luck

It’s true that luck does play a huge role in everything, including job search… and there are certainly factors outside of your control, such as economics and job markets. But readiness, knowledge, and using best practices can go a long way toward landing your next job, at the highest salary and in the least amount of time.

Investing significant resources on the front end in preparation, career coaching, resume writing, LinkedIn assistance, wardrobe enhancement, and continuing education, will represent your best career ROI and yield your best results.

Grant Cooper won the national Career Directors International President’s Award (CDI National Conference, Orlando, FL).

Grant Cooper, founder of Strategic Resumes & Career Coaching, has appeared as a career expert on CBS, ABC & FOX, has published more than 300 media and journal articles, teaches seminars at major industry conferences, and serves as a judge for national resume writing competitions.

Grant has assisted the U.S. Air Force, Kinko’s, the Louisiana Dept. of Labor, the NFL, the NBA, as well as universities, regional banks, medical centers, celebrities, nonprofits, and corporations. Grant’s clients land positions at Fortune 500 firms.
Email Grant at

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