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

Job Seeking Spare Time

A reader writes:

Hi Anita,

I have been unemployed for 2 months and try as I may, I still am having trouble finding employment. I am starting to get extremely bored and the excess hours of the day are beginning to get to me. With the large amount of free time on my hands, what can I do to during the day that will have a positive impact on my job search and my day-to-day life?

Dear, Stuck With Too Much Spare Time,

Job HuntingBeing unemployed and having nothing to do are not as much fun as many people make it out to be. I bet for the first week or two, it feels like a nice vacation full of sleeping in, leisurely breakfasts, watching television all day, and kicking up your feet. But after a short while, those things you wished you could do while you were working are becoming unbearable and boring. If you are starting to feel down about yourself or feeling like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I ask you to turn that frown upside down. It is time to start being proactive and getting your life back on track.

The first thing you need to do is set a schedule out for yourself. No more sleeping in until noon and watching television until the wee hours of the morning. Most people who are employed are up and out the door in time to be at work by 8 a.m. Now that you do not have a job, what do you think your full-time position is? You guessed it, JOB HUNTING! Immediately, go see my friends at Select Staffing and fill out an application. Chances are they will be able to enter you in their database and offer you advice on how to proceed with your search. You must dedicate at least 6 hours a day to searching for a job. That doesn’t mean just scouring the Internet; get out there and sell yourself. For tips and tricks on becoming a very successful networker, check out my post Networking Know-How.

Try to find a class in your area that will build your résumé and your skills. If you work in a warehouse, look into getting your certification in forklift driving. If you are in administrative or executive support, brush up your grammar and proofreading skills. Do something that will benefit you in the long run and help keep your brain from turning to mush.

Build your résumé while doing something good for others. Locate a charity whose cause is near and dear to your heart and start volunteering. This will give you satisfaction and look great to potential employers. Here you can gain Community Serviceprofessional and life skills, meet people that could help introduce you to new job openings, and also earn a great recommendation from your supervisor that can only shed a better light on your unemployment. I once volunteered at a local charity and after a few months of dedicated service, I was offered a paid position in their Career Center.

Surround yourself with positive EMPLOYED people. This is a very important piece of advice to follow. Typically, people who are unemployed will not be happy with their situations and will inevitably bring you down. They will be more likely to engage you in activities that do not mesh well with job hunting activities. People with jobs will be able to share advice and connect with other professionals, possibly resulting in your next job lead.

Cut out the junk food and take some time to get your body moving. Exercise is a great way to spend an hour of your day. Getting your blood pumping will increase your energy level and spread those happy endorphins through your body. It is proven to relieve stress and ward off depression. Healthy foods will give you more energy and make you feel much better, both physically and mentally. Remember if you put good in, you will get good out.

As tempting as it maybe, try to avoid reading the bad news about the job market and the economy; it will only bring you down. Switch over to reading uplifting books and inspiring stories to keep you in a chipper mood. Go by yourself to see movies that bring a smile to your face. It actually gives you a greater sense of independence. I definitely suggest you give it a try.

Set GoalsSet daily and weekly goals for yourself. These do not need to be huge or intricate. Day one can be as simple as waking up at 8 a.m. and apply to 3 viable jobs. If you do that every day for a week, you have 15 job applications and résumés out in the world. Now that is an accomplishment! As you achieve more, you will begin to feel better and more confident in your abilities. Just remember you won’t get anywhere without putting one foot in front of the other.

Now that I have given a few tips, I want to hear from my readers what they find to be the most important advice for keeping your sanity while seeking employment. What things did you do while you were searching for a job?

Take care until next time,



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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