How Long Does It Take To Find a Job?

By Abby McCain and Experts
Sep. 22, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

Whether you’re currently unemployed or are just looking for a change, finding a new position takes hard work. The process goes differently for everyone, especially when it comes to how long it takes to land a job offer.

In this article, you’ll learn how long it typically takes to find a job, the factors that influence the length of a job search, and how to find a job faster.

Key Takeaways

  • It takes an average of 22.3 weeks to find a job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • There are a lot of factors that affect the length of your job search, including your methods and location, the economy, and your industry’s cycles, to name just a few.

  • Polish your resume and cover letter, be proactive in reaching out to companies, and consider adjusting your employment expectations if you’re trying to make your job hunt go faster.

How Long Does It Take To Find a Job?

How Long Does It Take To Find a Job?

While the length of your job search depends on factors such as the industry you work in, the economy, and even the time of year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has calculated that the average time it took Americans to find jobs in August 2022 was 22.3 weeks.

This is the national average, which means yours may take more or less time. For reference, the Bureau also found that 36.7% of job seekers found employment in less than five weeks, while 18.8% found positions after searching for over 27 weeks.

Some job seekers are hired within days of beginning their search, while others look for months. The amount of time your search will take depends on several factors.

  1. Your job search methods. One of the controllable factors impacting your job search’s length is how you’re going about it. The websites you use and the number of positions you apply for each week will all impact how long it takes you to finally land a job.

  2. The economy. The economic state of the country, your state, and your industry is one of the most significant and least controllable factors affecting your job search.

    While you can’t do anything to change this, it is helpful to know that it may take a little longer to find a position if the economy is down. This way, you can make an informed decision about when you want to quit your current job or if you should take a side gig to make some extra money while you look.

  3. Your industry’s natural cycles. Many industries hire in waves. For example, engineering companies often open up a number of their entry-level positions around the time college students graduate each year so that they can train all of the new hires at once.

    Other industries are project-based, so they’ll start hiring as soon as they get a new project but may not have many open positions after filling those staffing needs.

    Similarly, companies with regular busy seasons may want to do most of their hiring right before the extra work hits but may not have time to onboard new employees while they’re in the thick of it.

  4. Your location. Your success in quickly finding a job could vary based on where you’re looking. Large cities typically have more options than small towns do, and some regions have higher concentrations of companies in certain industries than others.

    For example, only a handful of cities have many options for someone starting a career in filmmaking, while someone looking for an accounting position is more likely to find opportunities no matter where they are.

    While you don’t necessarily have to move to the hub of your industry to find a fulfilling position, you should be ready for a more prolonged job search and willing to take a role that may not be your dream job if you choose to look elsewhere.

  5. Your qualifications. Candidates with more experience are probably going to be snapped up more quickly than those with less. This is especially true in a struggling job market, as highly accomplished professionals are more likely to be vying for the same position as recent graduates.

  6. The quality of your application. This is another controllable factor that may be affecting the length of your job search since it has to do with the materials you produce.

    Your resume, cover letter, and application will be lumped in with the hundred others that hiring managers receive for a single position. Turning in bland, sloppy documents will significantly reduce your chances of standing out enough to get an interview.

  7. Who you know. The saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” can be all too true during a job search. If you have an in at a company you’re applying for, this can go a long way in shortening your search time.

  8. Your willingness to adjust. If you’re only going to be satisfied with finding your dream job located in your hometown, your job search will probably take a while.

    Being willing to apply for positions that would require a longer commute or a smaller paycheck will open up more possibilities and speed up your search.

  9. The length of your unemployment. It’s unfair but true that your perceived hireability often goes down the longer you’re without work.

    If you can, start applying for jobs while you’re still employed, and if you unexpectedly find yourself out of work, make sure you get started on your job search ASAP.

How to Find a Job Faster

While there are several factors that influence the length of your job hunt that you can’t control, there are some that you can.

  1. Make a plan. The job search process can be exhausting, which often results in seekers stretching it out much longer than necessary.

    Make a plan for how many applications you’re going to submit each week, and check for new job postings daily if you can.

    Your goals shouldn’t be impossible to reach or leave you entirely frustrated and drained, but they should help you push yourself to keep at it even when you don’t want to.

  2. Have someone else look at your resume and cover letter for you. Find an experienced professional who knows what hiring managers are looking for in a resume and ask them to look over yours.

    They’ll be able to give you suggestions that will help you make a better impression with your initial application, which could make all the difference in your job search.

    You should also ask them or someone else to proofread your documents for spelling, grammatical, and formatting errors. These can cause your application to be immediately tossed out, no matter how good the content may be.

  3. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the position you’re applying for. Many companies use automated systems that check for specific keywords before sending your application through to human eyes. Because of this, you should incorporate keywords from the job description into your resume and cover letter.

    Even if your application doesn’t go through one of these systems, hiring managers will appreciate that you took the time to tailor your resume and cover letter for their specific company and job opening. It also shows that you’ve done your research and care about getting the position.

  4. Keep learning and growing. If you find that you lack key skills that the jobs you’re applying for require, it’s never too late to learn.

    Sign up for a class or internship, or volunteer to help an organization with a task you want to learn. Even if you’re in a hurry to find a job, taking a few weeks to complete an online course may help the process go significantly faster than it would have without the training.

  5. Don’t stop networking. Try to form relationships with more professionals in your field by attending networking events, connecting and messaging them through LinkedIn, or conducting an informational interview.

    You never know what these connections might lead to, whether it’s as dramatic as an on-the-spot job offer or as simple as some advice for making your application more appealing.

  6. Be proactive. If you find a company that you’d like to be a part of, reach out to them even if they don’t have a job listing that fits your skills.

    Send a copy of your resume, tell them why you’re interested in working for them, and ask if they have any openings. Even if nothing comes of it immediately, they’ll have your name for the future.

    You can also post your resume directly on job boards to attract recruiters to you instead of the other way around.

  7. Update your LinkedIn profile. Make sure that your profile is up to date with a recent, professional headshot, your contact information, and your work experience.

    You should also make it clear that you’re actively looking for a job so that recruiters who find your page will be more likely to reach out to you.

  8. Be flexible. If you’re looking for your dream job in your current hometown, chances are you’re going to have to wait a while to find it.

    To speed the process up, make a list of nonnegotiables for your next position and then recognize the things you’re willing to be flexible about. This may be the location, pay, hours, or even responsibilities.

    The more flexible you are, the more relevant roles you’ll find. Just make sure you aren’t making so many compromises that you’re applying for jobs where you’d be absolutely miserable.

  9. Create an online portfolio. If you work in an industry that uses portfolios, make a website that features your past projects in a professional, easy-to-read way. You can then include the link to this on your job applications and resume to allow recruiters to see what you can do.

    This can be a significant boost to your resume and may improve your chances of getting invited for an interview.

    Just make sure you don’t post anything that belongs to a past employer or could expose their trade secrets or other sensitive information that competitors would love to see — that will do you more harm than good, as it shows you aren’t trustworthy.

Remember that even if you follow all of these steps, hiring managers will take some time to look over your application and contact you to start the interview process, which can take several weeks in itself. It isn’t always your fault that you aren’t hearing back from companies, so be patient. You’ll find something.

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Abby McCain

Abby is a writer who is passionate about the power of story. Whether it’s communicating complicated topics in a clear way or helping readers connect with another person or place from the comfort of their couch. Abby attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she earned a degree in writing with concentrations in journalism and business.


Matt Warzel, CPRW, CIR

Matt Warzel a President of a resume writing firm (MJW Careers, LLC) with 15+ years of recruitment, outplacement, career coaching and resume writing experience. Matt is also a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing Focus) from John Carroll University.

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