How long do you have to wait before the right job comes along? In my experience, it depends on a range of factors. The right job may arrive quickly or it could take some time.
I lead quarterly coaching groups for women jobseekers in NYC. When I realized that all five participants in the November/December 2012 Love Your Job Search Class secured brand new jobs at great companies in their fields of choice, I wanted to learn more about the steps they took following the class and how long it took for each of them to reach their goal. In the case of this cohort, it turned out to be anywhere from 3 to 16 months.
Here’s a profile of the five women (names have been changed) in the LYJ class that ended December 17, 2012, how long it took each of them to find that right next job, along with their tips for success:
Previously: Field Organizer for Government Educational Campaign (Contract)
New role: Program Manager for major government contract at Environmental Non-profit
Secured new job: January 2014 (12 months)
Secrets to Her Success: “After lots of close calls, I felt confident that I had gained the right interview skills from Suzanne’s class, but I wasn’t finding the right fit. Finally a hiring manager who previously didn’t hire me sent me an available position similar to the one I wasn’t selected for. When I went in for the interview, I felt like my strongest self and was able to display my confidence and genuine enthusiasm. As a result, the woman interviewing me (who is now my supervisor) asked if I would be interested in a managerial position, rather than the coordinator position I applied for! I had never had a promotion at an actual job, and here I was being promoted in the interview. It helped that I had many connections in the field and in the organization. My advice is to be relentless in your search, know that being rejected isn’t personal (if it is, you didn’t want to work there anyway), and to convey enthusiasm. Listen to your gut feeling of the workplace and always ask about the office culture. Eat beans for a few extra weeks if you have to–you don’t want to spend 8+ hours every day being completely miserable.”
Previously: Event Coordinator, Major Sporting Event Company (temporary/contract)
New role: Digital Marketing Consultant, American Express
Secured new job: March 2013 (3 months)
Secrets to Her Success: “Suzanne’s class helped me to reach my full potential through honing in on my core strengths, tapping into my inner network and connecting with my broader network. Many of the exercises forced me to do some soul searching to uncover the themes, personality strengths and ultimately my values, motivations, and ambitions. Having a clearer picture of who I am and what I want in a career helped to crystallize my vision for my dream job, which was/is working in a digitally focused marketing role at American Express! My advice: Challenge yourself to go outside your comfort zone, take risks, surround yourself with a strong support system and don’t stop believing in yourself. And finally, be prepared!!”
Previously: Administrative Assistant at a commercial media company
New role: Executive Assistant to leadership of media company with brand she respects and values plus a significant salary increase
Secured new job: April 2014 (16 months)
Secrets to Her Success: “Honestly, I did not spend a ton of time all year looking and applying…but I generally had it top of mind, and applied to things here and there, and I kept saying that I wanted to work in a place like TED because I wanted to be around learning and ideas. So I kept putting that intention out there. It also helped that my friend got a job at [the new media company] and her boss submitted on my behalf to Human Resources. After that I had to prove myself, and I’m grateful they’ve given me a chance considering I don’t have C-level experience. But they were looking deeper than specific executive experience.”
Previously: Compliance Analyst, Small Financial Firm
New role: Senior Compliance Officer/Assistant Vice President, Global Financial Firm on her target list of employers
Secured new job: July 2013 (7 months)
Secrets to Her Success: “I was looking and applying for new roles for quite some time and wasn’t finding anything close to what I wanted so I took the approach of allowing the universe to align things, at the right time and in the right way. I started acting like I already had the job I wanted and preparing for the new job, while working in my current job. Shortly after, a recruiter whom I had never spoken to sent me an email regarding a job opportunity at a company which was number 2 on my list. This was was totally amazing but at first I didn’t quite take it seriously since I had been applying and talking to various recruiters without any success. However, we met, went over details regarding the role and got started with the interview process. It was one of the smoothest processes I’ve ever had. So my advice would be to have a little faith, have a clear vision of what you want, and prepare for it. Now I’ve started applying this approach to other areas of my life.”
Previously: Manager at a restaurant
New role: Operations Manager for a middle & high school in Brooklyn
Secured new job: September 2013 (9 months)
Secrets to Her Success: “Things really kicked off for me when I took the LYJ class. The structure and tangible guidance Suzanne provided put me in the right space when I actively started looking for a new job. My resume is a point of pride for me. It had to stitch together disparate jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities, and tell a story that would make sense to future employers. In the end, I was in the right place at the right time. I saw the position posted on Idealist.org and applied that day. The hiring manager, who’s now my supervisor, saw in my combination of work experience and master’s in education a candidate who’d be the right fit for the school. One week from applying, they made an offer.”
To figure out how long it will take you to find a new job, a colleague of mine created a formula which involves noting competition in the market, your sense of urgency, relevant experience and how much effort you’re actually putting in. While not scientific, it’s helpful to think about, especially the parts of a job search you can control.
I truly believe that with a concerted effort, being smart about your search, and making use of your networks, a new job is around every corner. Check out additional Secrets of My Success blog posts for more inspiration.
For support with your search in NYC, the next Love Your Job Search five-week class for women jobseekers starts on Monday, June 2. This is the last class until the fall. Space is limited.