Trying to guess the length of your job search is a tortuous exercise because so many factors impact how long it will take you to find your next role.
According to a survey done by the recruiting company Randstad USA, the average length of a modern-day job search is clocking in at five months. But don’t put too much faith in that number, and don’t feel badly if you’ve already exceeded it.
Your job search may be complicated by any of the following market factors: concerning economic trends, a slowing or consolidating industry, a niche or hard to break into job field, shifting technology requirements or a slower hiring season (near summer vacations or the holidays).
Then there are personal circumstances such as simply having a small network, needing a senior leadership position, having a broad but not deep skillset, your location requirements or other valid concerns about how ageism, gender bias, racism or heterosexism might also impact the length of your search.
Even once you get your arms around all the challenges for your unique situation, there’s a final group of random and impossible to predict decisions that have to break in your favor, like when a brand-new position gets created or when people happen to quit, retire, get promoted or fail in a role, therefore creating an opportunity for you.
With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that many people find themselves frustrated from having to endure a job search for much longer than they hoped.
The secret to persevering for however long it takes lies in strengthening your mental and emotional fortitude. To do that, you have to avoid these four common misconceptions about a long job search, because they will distract you from moving forward with confidence.
Misconception #1: Most people are finding a job faster than you
You may remember times in your career when new jobs and opportunities seemed abundant or maybe you’ve witnessed this phenomenon in someone else’s job search and you can’t figure out why it hasn’t happened for you. Either way, don’t compare the length of your current search with anyone else’s or any of your previous career moves.
It’s easy to notice when someone is announcing a new job that seems to have dropped in their lap, but you have little insight into how long they were actually working to make a career move.
Know that each job search is unique, and that what you want and need and what the market has to offer will not always be aligned. If your search is taking longer than expected, be assured that almost everyone goes through a period when they don’t feel as in demand as they’d hoped.
Misconception #2: The longer you look, the more likely you are to take a bad job
It’s common for job seekers to gain greater clarity on the things that matter most to them over time. So it’s no surprise that you may grow more flexible with some of your criteria throughout your search.
A long but focused search won’t make you desperate or more likely to settle for a less than ideal job than candidates that are just starting out. Few people find it easy to turn down viable offers no matter how long they’ve been looking. Settling for a “bird in hand” is a common challenge for everyone.
By the time an offer does come your way, you will be more informed about what’s in the market, how this compares and what the implications of waiting for something better will be. You actually have an advantage when it comes to evaluating offers, not a disadvantage.
Misconception #3: The length of your job search reflects your professional value
There is no way to build a career that will permanently protect you from having to endure a long job search. The skills that are in demand today might be outdated or niche tomorrow. The industry that is aggressively developing leaders right now might be stripping out cost and management layers when you next need a job.
If you find yourself on the wrong end of a hiring trend, don’t waste a moment of time blaming yourself or believing you could have avoided it without being able to predict the future. You took the career path you did for a reason and there’s nothing to regret about that. Stay proud of your experiences because this sense of achievement will help you maintain your authentic confidence throughout the process.
Stay open to shifting your career narrative toward current trends or upskilling in a more in-demand area, if needed. Be proactive in meeting present market needs, but don’t dismiss your previous accomplishments.
Misconception #4: You may be unemployable
A long search is not the same as an impossible search, but it can feel like it at times. Don’t give in to this self-defeating belief. The only way to fail at a job search is to stop looking.
After a year of searching, you will probably need to craft a story about what you’ve been doing during your break in employment. Explain to interviewers that you have been selective about your next career step because you hope to be at your next company for a long time. Then describe what you have been focused on during your break in employment. Things like consulting, volunteering, launching a small business or focusing on family are generally the best responses. Avoid overemphasizing how long you have been job searching, if possible, and show that you have remained productive and positive.
No matter what, remind yourself that you can continue to contribute in a meaningful way. You probably already are contributing in other areas of your life. Hold on to that truth and take extra care of yourself during this time. Lengthy job searches can be brutal, but they end eventually.
Article Provided By: Forbes