When Should I Start Looking for a Job?

A young black woman at home looking intentlyat her laptop with her cell phone to her ear.

Deciding when to launch a job search may or may not be easy, depending on your situation. For some, they may feel as if they have little choice but to look now. This is especially true if their unemployment benefits are coming to an end or they need a new source of income fast.

However, others may have options. Maybe they have savings or are currently working. Perhaps they’ve just started on unemployment and have months before their benefits stop.

If you are wondering when you should start looking for a job, here’s some information that can help you decide.

How Long Does It Take to Find a Job?

While the exact amount of time it takes to find a job can vary, the average is approximately nine weeks. Hiring processes can take time, and involve a slew of steps. You need to send in an application, and that has to be reviewed. Interviews need to be scheduled and conducted. Reference and background checks have to be completed.

Only after all of that can an offer be crafted. Then, even with an offer in-hand, you may have to wait for your start date.

Additionally, COVID-19 may alter hiring timelines. Some companies may not be moving as quickly, either because they have competing priorities outside of hiring, are shorthanded, or are having trouble adapting their hiring process to be mostly remote. As a result, it may take longer than it once did.

Should I Job Search During COVID?

If you need a new job, there’s no reason to let COVID-19 stop you. While there may be fewer opportunities and hiring processes could be altered, there are open positions available in many fields.

However, you may need to be more flexible if you’re unemployed and genuinely need something quickly. Waiting for your dream job might not be an option in the current climate, especially if your industry was hard-hit by the pandemic.

It’s important to note that, if you don’t actually need a new job right now, waiting is an option. While you can certainly network online to identify potential opportunities or hone your skills to become a better candidate, you might be better off staying in your current position. This is especially true if your role is fairly layoff-proof. After all, a resurgence could lead to more layoffs, so staying in a job that you know will be there for you does offer a degree of protection from what a resurgence could bring.

Should I Job Search During the Holidays?

Job searching during the holidays should undoubtedly be on the table. While many professionals assume that companies stop looking for candidates during this time of year, that isn’t the case. In fact, some ramp up hiring dramatically, either because they want to make the most of their current budget or they need additional help during their busy season.

Additionally, competition can be lower during the holidays. Many people choose to pause their job search during this season, so you may have an easier time standing out.

How Long Does Unemployment Last?

How long unemployment lasts varies from state to state. While most states offer regular benefits for 26 weeks, some provide as little as 12. Others last longer than 26 weeks.

Now, this doesn’t include any extended benefits through the CARES Act. In that case, you might be eligible for as many as 39 weeks. However, that provision may only last until December 31.

Additionally, some states have extension programs. Eligibility requirements and timelines for these also vary depending on where you live. As a result, it’s best to research unemployment programs through your state’s labor office for the most accurate information.

If you’d like to learn more or are ready to get your job search off the ground, the team at GSG Talent Solutions can help. Contact us today.


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