47% of workers are thinking about quitting right now—here's how long it could take them to find a new job

Benicat | Twenty20
laptop, working, woman working, worried

Thinking about quitting your job? Even if you aren't, there's a decent chance the person working next to you might be.

That's according to a survey conducted by Joblist, which asked 1,590 full-time employees if they were actively considering leaving their current jobs. Nearly half of respondents, or 47%, said they were. In a follow-up survey of people who recently called it quits, desire for better pay (25%) was a leading reason, followed by the desire to leave a toxic work environment (17%).

How long it takes to find a new job

For the average worker, the process from considering quitting to finally giving notice at their current job took eight weeks. That included about two weeks between thinking about quitting and actually firing up the job search engines and starting to apply, followed by an average six-week application and interviewing process.

While the average worker took two months to go from thinking about quitting to accepting a new offer, some took as long as 35 weeks (put another way, nearly nine months) to reach their end goal. The job-search timeline has a lot to do with job level and tenure, with entry-level workers more likely to take under seven weeks to get a new job, versus manager- and senior-level workers taking just over 10 weeks.

The time it takes to get a new job can also depend on what you're looking for most in a new role. The data found that workers who quit because they were dissatisfied by managers who didn't resolve issues they reported, or those in search of better benefits, were fastest to leave — on average in under six weeks. Those looking for opportunities with better work-life balance took the longest to find one — on average over 11 weeks.

If you fall into the camp of daydreaming of greener career pastures, here's how you can breeze through — and potentially speed up — the process to get there.

3 ways to optimize your job search

Identify what you're looking for. What does your current job lack that you're hoping to find in a new one? Better pay, challenging responsibilities, a more engaging company mission or something else entirely? Get to know exactly what you're looking for in a new role to focus your efforts as you sift through job descriptions.

Set a clear schedule. Finding a new job can feel like a job in and of itself. Treating it like one, as in setting a schedule around it, can help you be more successful at it. For one writer, this small change helped him stay organized, productive and level-headed to score opportunities and keep stress to a minimum.

Tap your network. Seventy percent of professionals get hired at companies where they have a personal connection, according to LinkedIn data, and employee referrals are eight times more likely to land the job. Two easy ways to tap your network: If you're applying to a company and see you have a connection who works there, get in touch about the role, the company or for a referral to the hiring manager. You could also reach out to former managers and colleagues to let them know you're job hunting. They may be able to alert you to open roles they know of through their own network, especially since many openings are known internally before they're publicized.

3 ways to ace your interview

Practice, practice, practice. Interviews are nerve-wracking. Preparing your questions and responses is key to coming across as cool, calm and collected — not to mention, qualified. Whether in front of a mirror or with a friend, rehearse your responses for some of the most common interview questions you'll hear, plus a few questions you should pose yourself to gauge if it's a good fit for you.

Brush up on your soft skills, too. So you've got your elevator pitch locked down and can demonstrate how you're fit for the job. Don't forget to practice how you present yourself during an interview. A recent joint report from TopInterview and Resume-Library ranked personality among the top three factors employers look for in a new hire, alongside skills and experience. Specifically, interviewers are looking for signs of confidence, authenticity, honesty, reliability and self-discipline.

Be gracious. Yes, you need to send that thank you note, preferably within 24 to 48 hours of your interview. By some accounts, 80% of HR managers said receiving a note of gratitude was helpful in the hiring process, but only 24% reported getting them from applicants. Here are some tips for sending the right message. (And by the way, email is fine.)

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