This is How Far in Advance You Should Apply for a Job

Wondering how far in advance you should start applying for jobs? Don't worry, you aren't the only one with this problem. Timing your job search can be a tricky task. But we've compiled the best guide to help you consider all the variables you might encounter with your job search.

Let's go ahead and get started.

Why You Need Time Before Applying

Having enough time to get prepared to be proactive in your job search is important. Resigning from your current position, in a professional way, takes time. Putting together the list of companies that you feel are applicable to your work experience, takes time. There are countless tasks that you’ll have to perform in order to transition properly.

Give yourself ample time to prepare for making a transition before you jump right into applying for jobs. It’s important to consider your personal needs alongside the needs of the employer. And how those two things could intermingle to cause disruption in your life.

Do you have a family? Are your children in school? These are heavy considerations that you should spend time thinking through before you start your job search and application process. Don't feel pressure, like there won't be a job waiting for you. There will be, no matter how soon or how late you start.

How Much Time Should You Spend On Your Job Hunt

The job hunt can take anywhere from 1 month to 6 months. Depending on what type of career you’re in, you need to plan this accordingly. For example, doctors are not hired quickly. Hospitals have long hiring processes that could take up to 6 months. Alternatively, Project Managers are often hired quite quickly.

Consider what type of career you’re in and what you might expect the requirements are for being employed. Then try to consider the current job atmosphere. Are you seeing a lot of jobs being posted online? Not that many? Have you heard news from friends about the job market?

Use this information to your advantage so that you can estimate the appetite of the employment market for your profession.

Is Reaching Out Too Early A Bad Thing

No. There’s never a “too early” in terms of being proactive about your job search. As long as you are making connections with potential employers and asking them about future job openings, there is never a better time to start than right now.

Even if a job isn’t posted online and you’d like to send the employer your resume, you can absolutely do that. But be sure that you aren’t “cold emailing” the employer your resume. Ask them targeted questions that ensure you get a response. Then proceed to ask them about future job openings.

What If I Apply Too Late

If a job has been posted online for more than a few weeks, most likely they’ve received hundreds of applications. It’s important that you realize your chances of being noticed by the employer greatly diminish.

Your best option is to try and reach out to the hiring manager directly and asking about the status of the job. If they haven’t hired someone, you can quickly respond with the reason why you feel you should interview and sending them your resume.

If a job has been open for more than a few weeks and is still listed online, most likely the employer will not move quickly with their hiring process as they clearly don’t have an immediate need (or else they would have filled it).

Be Sure You Have A Job Search Plan In Mind

If you are looking to simply apply for jobs and expect that you’ll land a job by doing that, think again. Roughly 2% of candidates are chosen through online or career portal application submissions.

Be sure that you are tackling your job search by utilizing your network, asking employers about future job openings, having your reasoning for why you’re a top candidate and being proactive about the process.

Related: No One Will Hire Me & I Don’t Know Why: Your Answer Here

How Far In Advance Should You Start Applying To Jobs

The simple answer, 1-2 months before you expect to leave your job. But up to 3 months if you feel as though you might experience difficulties landing a position.

What If I’m Applying To Out Of State Jobs

If you’re applying to out of state jobs and you want to know how far in advance you should start applying, I would consider 3-4 months.

Ideally, you can make a connection with an employer who is willing to give you information regarding a future job opening. That way you can take your time resigning from your current position, planning your relocation and ultimately making the transition.

Related: How To Get A Job In Another State: Tips, Tricks, Full Guide

How Far Advance Should I Apply For A Summer Job

Most summer jobs will be taken by May or June. Consider starting your job search process a few months before then. The job search process entails putting together your target list of companies, the ideal jobs that are available and your applicable skill sets that make you a great candidate.

The perfect time for landing a summer job would be somewhere around February to March. This provides you ample time to network, make connections and position yourself as a summer worker.

What If I’m About To Graduate? How Far In Advance Should I Apply?

If you’re about to graduate, consider applying for jobs anywhere between one to two months before your graduation date. Be sure that you indicate in your cover letter that you are about to graduate. And when discussing your start date, you should be sure that you communicate to the employer that it will need to be in advance and not the usual two weeks.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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