I often get asked by job-seekers, “When will I get a job?” It varies by the economy, your location, industry and experience, but I wanted to be able to give a real number (and I love statistics).
So I did a little research and started with using Google to search this exact phrase, “When will I Get a Job.”
I ran into countless astrology, horoscope, and numerology related sites that said they could predict when I could get a job. Needless to say, this was not what I was looking for. After looking around a little bit more and getting a few laughs in, I went straight to the source, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to get the answer.
Here is primary page for statistics on the duration of unemployment, Unemployed Persons by Duration of Employment, and here is a little chart I put together to simplify it for you and show the averages over the last five months (I did this mid 2013).
The summary is that on average, 22% are unemployed for less than 5 weeks, 24% are unemployed 5-14 weeks, 16% are unemployed for 15-26 weeks, and 39% are unemployed for 27 weeks and over.
Not great news. What makes it worse? After 27 weeks it gets much harder to get a job. I’ll get into this in a little bit, but first, let’s answer the question: how many people have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks? Getting data from the same BLS source, it’s 4.4 million. Ouch.
The Additional Problem
I don’t mean to bum you out anymore, (I got sad writing this, but this cheered me up) but it becomes even harder to get a job after those 27 weeks. The Atlantic reports that:
“As you can see in the chart below from Ghayad’s paper, people with relevant experience (red) who had been out of work for six months or longer got called back less than people without relevant experience (blue) who’d been out of work shorter.”
I walked away from researching this with the conclusion that it’s a vicious cycle. It’s difficult to find a job, but the longer you don’t have one, the more difficult it gets. We all also know that life gets more difficult the longer you don’t have a job.
So what can you do to make it more likely you get a job with the first 5 weeks instead of after 27 weeks? How can you get out of that after 27 week slump? What will make the biggest difference on the length of your job search?
It’s my opinion that the size of your network has the biggest correlation to the amount of time it takes you to get a job. So concentrate on increasing it, even if you are employed and not looking for a job yet. When the time comes, the size of your network will come in handy. It will become a shortcut only after a lot of hard work.
How would you like to be able to apply to 1,000 jobs instantly? It would be awesome and maybe we will be able to one day, but until then you can do the next best thing. Let 1,000 people know that you are looking for a new position.
You might be asking: How the heck can I do that?
Imagine that on day one of your job search, you can email and call 100 people that you know and mention that you are looking for a new position. It’s really not that hard to know 100 people, in fact, you probably do right now. Just make sure you have updated contact info for them by keeping up with them periodically. It doesn’t have to be every week, every three or four months will work. Time flies.
Mention to those 100 people that you are looking to make a transition to a new job, and to let you know of any open positions. Additionally, request that they ask their friends if they know of any open positions. I doubt a single one will say no. Not everyone will do it and some will forget, but no one will flat out deny your request. Now, by the power of sheer numbers, you should have hundreds of people looking out for any open positions for you. If you consistently use LinkedIn, you could use it to do the same thing. It’s like magic.
I recently had a friend come to me asking if I knew of anyone that could fit into a certain position that just opened up. (It’s called the hidden job market) I was able to quickly refer him to someone I knew only as an acquaintance, but we had kept in contact every once in a while. He has the perfect skill set and now both are extremely happy that I was able to make the connection.
You must start networking now, no matter what your situation is. Try to meet as many people as possible in your industry, and even while just grabbing a cup of coffee. Sacrifice some time today so you never have to be one of the long term unemployed in the future.