“Finding a full time job is a full time job.” – Ben Voight
If you’ve already worked a job, then you know exactly how much effort it really takes to find a job. But if you’ve never worked a job before, how would you know? We’ll, because I’m going to tell you.
The standard estimate of what it takes to find a full time office job is 6 months of applying to jobs for 40 hours per week. That’s 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. It can go faster than that, especially if you have a skill-set which is currently hot, but that’s the time window you should give yourself, the expectation you should have and what you should plan for.
Let’s break it down. If you are fully reading the job description, writing a custom cover letter, custom tailoring your resume and writing follow up emails it can take about 2 hours to apply to a single job. If you are just sending out a standard resume with no cover letter and not following up it still takes about 20 minutes per job. So you can apply to a maximum of 24 and a minimum of 4 jobs per day working 8 hours per day. That’s 20 – 120 jobs per week. That means in 6 months, you can apply to 520 – 3120 assuming you spend a full 8 hours applying 5 days per week.
But each job gets approximately 100 applications. And of those applications the people who have the most relevant experience, custom tailor their resume and follow up are going to be the ones who get called in for an interview. So to put in competitive applications, you can only apply to 520 jobs in a 6 month period.
Assuming the top 3 candidates get called in for an interview for each job, you will have a 3% chance of a getting an interview with each of the 520 jobs you apply to. However since it’s your first job and you have no work experience, it will be more like a 1% chance. The 3% will apply to your second or third job when you have some relevant work experience, provided you do a good job in your first job and have a good relationship with your boss.
So if you apply to 520 jobs and apply the right way with a custom tailored resume, cover letter and follow up you will get 5 interviews. And about 1 in 5 interviews land a job.
Now here’s the bright side. That 1 interview may not be your fifth interview. It may actually end up being your first interview. So if you get lucky it may only take one month to get your first job. But it may not be until your fifth interview. And that’s why you need to give yourself at least 6 months of applying full time to land your first professional job.