Q: How long should a good job search take? I want to change jobs, but not right away…so I’m wondering when to start to look?
A: Some searches take a month or less and some can take the better part of a year. The duration is dependent on a number of factors, such as knowing where and how to look, the state of your résumé, your willingness to access your network and that of others, the ability to put some momentum under the search and, yes, luck.
Start now, at least to browse the open market…meaning ads, web postings and opportunities known to your law school or one to which you’ve gotten reciprocity. Update and enhance your résumé now. Plan your networking approach…who you will reach out to and how, what you will say about your search, what you will be asking those you know and the people they suggest you also contact. Anticipate interview questions you would just as soon not be asked…and focus on your responses.
If you really would not accept a good offer, you are wasting time, resources, and good will in starting your search. Otherwise, begin as soon as you are done with the above preparatory aspects. You can turn down an offer if it comes too soon and isn’t really right; conveying that you’ve had an offer but had the conviction to stay in the market can be compelling to a prospective employer.
On balance, it’s probably better to move a little too soon than to get stale at a job you no longer want. Don’t hesitate too long to launch your search, now that you’re giving it quality attention.