How Long to Find a Job?

With college commencement ceremonies approaching, I’m answering a question I received last summer to prepare this year’s graduates – and job seekers from any era! – for the realities of the employment market and to provide hope and encourage tenacity.

Dear Anita,

I am a recent college graduate and I am having the hardest time finding a job. Granted I have been out of college for just a little over a month and I was recently told that on average it takes about 6 months if not longer for a college grad to find employment. Is that true?

How Long to Get a Job InfographicDear, Month of Sundays,

I am often asked by discouraged job seekers of all ages some variation of the question, “How long does it take to get a new job?” Check out our infographic for some eye-opening statistics. Then, let’s see what we can do to skew your interval between jobs to the short end of the spectrum.

Recent college grads as well as the recently unemployed may start out their job search in a flurry of activity. Then, day after day of entering and reentering information into online applications, coupled with disappointing rejections or no response at all, takes its toll. Keep on keeping on, as they said in the ’70s.

Stay busy. Volunteer work will prevent self-pity… and can pad a skimpy resume. But be sure that job-seeking tasks don’t fall by the wayside because of your do-gooder endeavors. Calendar time for scouring job sites like or and applying to feasible postings. Find networking opportunities to cut weeks off your job search time. Practice mock interviews with friends. Create your personal brand.

If your résumé isn’t getting you offers for interviews, it may be time for a revamp. Download a copy of my e-book, Anita Clew’s Guide to Better Résumés.

Expand your opportunities by expanding the borders of your search. Are you willing to move?  This may be easier for a carefree college grad than for the family man with kids in school and deep roots in the community.  Look in less likely places for jobs. See my posts, “How to Find Jobs Not Advertised on the Top Job Boards,” Part 1 and Part 2.

Lower your standards. If bill collectors are calling and the welcome on your friend’s couch is wearing as thin as the fabric, I advise you to take something, even if it is not your dream job. You can continue the hunt for greener pastures while gainfully employed.  Consider temporary work with The Select Family of Staffing Companies to get those weekly paychecks rolling in. Those who have lost a job may have the added incentive of the looming expiration of their unemployment insurance benefits. Most states’ benefits last 26 weeks, but a few states have shorter or longer periods.

Finally, keep a positive outlook. Winston Churchill once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Readers: How long did it take you to land your last job?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

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Job Search is a Marathon, not a Sprint
Reasons for No Résumé Responses
Including Volunteer Work in Your Résumé
ATS 101: Demystifying Applicant Tracking Systems


Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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