Remember back to a simpler time. A time when you had more hair, less wrinkles, and were just graduating from college. The entire world seemed full of options.
You were more open to suggestions back then. You would consider jobs in different industries, and various departments. You were open to moving to a new city, and were willing to take very little money just to “get your foot in the door.” You may have even taken a job for free in exchange for the title of Intern.
How long did it take to find your first job? If you were lucky enough not to graduate in the middle of the dot com crash or another poor economic time, chances are you found your first job relatively quickly. It may have been something different than you’d planned on (or studied in school). Heck, you may have even been delivering pizza. But, it was job, and it paid the bills. And if it didn’t, you got a second job. You had time on your side.
Back then, you had fewer responsibilities. You were probably single with no children. You lived in a cheap apartment, and may have even had roommates who helped to pay the rent. All in all, your commitments were less, and your flexibility was more.
As the years passed, your responsibilities have grown. You might have bought a home, got married, or had children. You may have moved closer to your family. You may have become more specialized in your career. And, you may now have employees.
All of these commitments are great. They’re a natural part of life. But, sometimes when you make these choices, you also close doors. You become a little less flexible than you once were.
For example, if you moved to be closer to your aging parents, you may want to stay in your current city or within a reasonable driving distance. You may no longer be as open to a cross country, or international move as you were when you were twenty-one.
If you’re preparing to find a new job after being at your current job for years, you may remember back on a time when getting a new job took a few weeks. You may find yourself frustrated when your job search now seems much more lengthy and involved than before. “What changed, and why is this so hard?” you may wonder.
- You’re more geographically limited – Instead of working anywhere in the United States, you want to stay in one or two cities. Think of the change in magnitude this creates. The US population is approximately 314 million people. How does this compare to the population of your city? The city where I live, Memphis, TN, has a population of less than one million.
- You know which industry you want to work in – Whether it’s banking, the automotive industry, or healthcare, you probably have a pretty good idea of which industries you do or don’t want to work in. Years ago, you were open to suggestion.
- There’s one department you want to work in – You’ve become specialized in one area. It could be IT, accounting, marketing, HR, or engineering (just to name a few). Whatever you’re specialized in, it’s probably more specific now than when you started your career.
- You’ve become a manager – A natural progression in your career may have been to take on management responsibilities. You may be the sole manager or director of a team. If your team has ten employees for example, consider how many manager positions are available compared to individual contributor positions. This is even more true for director, vice president, and C-level positions. The higher you have moved up the food chain so to speak, the fewer positions there are for people like you. Fewer positions means more waiting and a more comprehensive job search.
- You’re more expensive – Even if your raises have been small, they’ve added up. And, so has your daily cost of living. You may have purchased a home or your beautiful dream car. You can no longer make ends meet on the money you made straight out of college. There are fewer jobs that pay more, so you may be left waiting longer to find the one that does.
Think of the relationship between time and job searching like this:
Financial advisers often encourage their clients to have six months to over a year of savings in their emergency fund. This fund is to be used when you unexpectedly find yourself out of work. This number may seem steep, until you need it. As you get older, you’ll find that finding the right job takes more time, and more dedication.
There’s no one answer on how long it will take to find your next job. You may get lucky and find one tomorrow. But, more than likely, your search will take time. And, it will most likely take more time than it did the last time you were on the market. You’re more specialized, you’re more expensive, and you have more preferences about what you’ll do, and where you’ll live. Keeping all of these factors in mind will help you to set expectations as you begin your search – and hopefully help you to avoid burnout.
I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search.