Feedback is very minimal in job hunting. How can you tell if your tactics are effective? Professional recruiters know the indicators regarding a search and use them to gauge the effectiveness of their own strategies. To see how your efforts compare, look at these common factors:
1. How long does a job search take?
- For every $10,000 of salary, add one month to your search.
A $40,000 job takes 4 months to land, but a six-figure salary can take up to 10 months. Maximum for most top executives hovers around one year. However, learning more about the hiring process can significantly minimize this time. Taking a job search class or using a consultant can add new tools to your arsenal.
2. How many resumes do I have to send before I get an interview?
- 10 to 20 if you carefully research most of the jobs.
- 20 to 50 in a cool market.
- 100+ if you are not doing any research.
If you have sent over 30 resumes without a single phone interview, you need to re-evaluate your resume and/or your tactics. This is the best way to tell if your resume is effective or not, since HR departments will not give you any response if you ask for feedback on why you weren’t selected for a job.
3. How long does it take to get a response about a job?
- Most job postings are open for 1 to 2 weeks. It takes another 1-2 weeks for HR to make their recommendations. Phone interviews are scheduled 3-4 weeks after a job posts.
- Highly technical, executive level or niche market openings have a longer hiring cycle. Expect phone interviews within 45-60 days.
- Government jobs may take up to 3 months to schedule interviews.
Since HR departments can have a long screening process, it is essential to send a resume directly to the hiring manager as well as following HR’s procedures.
4. How many jobs should I apply to each week?
- 5 – 10 if you research every position.
- 10-30 if you send out stock cover letters/ resumes or applying to blind ads through an employment website.
It is better to apply to a few, well-researched positions than to rely on submitting to several blind ads you saw posted on the major employment sites. However, you do not want to overlook any opportunity.
5. How much money should I spend on my job search?
- 1% to 3% of your target salary.
I frequently hear people say that they cannot afford to spend anything on their job search. However, just like anything, you need to invest in your job search to see a return.
Expenses can include professional resume services, books, classes, professional pictures, clothing, employment website fees, parking and so on. Depending on your industry and experience level, expect to pay between $200 to $700 for a professionally written resume.
However, be wary of “retained search” recruiters who ask for a large fee from you – I’ve seen fees as much as $5,000. You do not have to pay a recruiter a placement fee, which ranges between 10-30% of your annual salary. Employers should pay placement fees.
6. How much time does it take to write a good resume?
- A professional can create a comprehensive resume in 4-5 hours.
- If you are writing your own resume, wait a day before sending it out. Use this time to get other people to review it.
- Online and interactive resumes will take longer, depending on the additional elements added.
- A targeted cover letter can take up to an hour or more to draft.
Slamming a resume out quickly just to get it done will not be effective. Take the time to research the universal criteria for your desired job, not just what you think is important. Same with cover letters: consider the employers’ needs, and write about how you can answer it.
7. How many hours a week should I spend on my job search?
Once your tools are in place – online profiles built, resumes written, cover letters drafted – devote more time to networking and research. The majority of your job search should focus on social media, finding contact information, reaching out to hiring managers and researching your desired industry. More than ever, employers want someone who understands their needs – do your research to find out those needs.
Job searching is a tough business. Accept the fact that it will take some time, effort, patience and money. While the silence may be maddening, keep track of the amount of resumes you send and compare it with your results. You may uncover problems with your tactics. In sales, it is well known that only 5-10% of your initial contacts will lead to an opportunity. Keep in mind that every “no” gets you closer to the “yes.”