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When to start looking for a job

When to start looking for a job

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DEAR READERS: I recently heard from someone who works in education. He is committed to finishing out this school year but has decided to pursue other career opportunities once the year is over. How soon is too soon to start reaching out to prospective employers if he ideally would like to start a new job in June?

Robert Moses — an editor at who has worked in management, hiring and human resources — says it takes approximately 52 days for a company to extend an offer to a new hire after posting the position.

"Within this 52-day period, the majority of applicants who are selected to interview with either the recruiter or the hiring manager have applied to the open position within the first 48 hours," Moses explains.

That means anyone hoping to land a new job by June should begin applying to open positions in early to mid-March.

"This will allow for ample time to conduct interviews, negotiate any offer letters and pass any drug or background checks," Moses says. "Moreover, applying in March allows the applicant to have enough time to find a position which they are excited about and for a company they have an interest in working for."

Other industry pros I consulted agree that starting early is the way to go.

"The sooner the better. It is never too soon to apply for a new role," says Jessica Williams, of Jessica Marie Williams Career Consulting, who notes that having the option to apply for new positions while still gainfully employed is a big plus for several reasons.

"You are able to negotiate your start date when you are upfront regarding your current position situation. It is genuinely easier to find a job while you have a job. And the sooner you start applying, you reduce the anxiety of being jobless," Williams explains. "The sooner you start applying, the easier it is to filter through applications, align interviews and not operate in a desperate manner for a new job. Desperation can be felt through a resume, during an interview, and is seen when you neglect to track your application progress."

There is one piece of advice to keep in mind when applying several months before you want to launch your new career, according to Stacy Caprio, founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing: Be upfront.

"As long as he is upfront that he is looking to start in June, employers should not have an issue, and, if anything, they will tell him he can reapply or come back closer to June if that works better for them," Caprio says. "This way he gets on as many companies' radars as early as possible and gets the benefit if any want to talk to him about hiring for an open position in June of having that available sooner rather than later."

And it's never too early to put networking to work on a job search whenever you decide to apply.

"The key is to be actively networking within communities your prospective companies have a presence to help you stand out and face an easier time getting your foot in the door when it comes time to apply," says Stephanie Thoma, networking strategy and career coach and founder of The Confident Introvert Coaching.

Taking time will allow you to ultimately take your pick of jobs you're most interested in.

"It is empowering when you are able to take your pick of roles and not have to take just anything that is thrown your way," Williams says. "You can take your time to tailor each resume to the job descriptions, conduct appropriate research and take the opportunity to say 'no thank you' to roles you are not genuinely interested in."


Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor. You can email her your career questions at

Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor. You can email her your career questions at


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