How Long Does A Job Application Really Take?

Sometimes, it’s so hard to find the motivation to do something (even if it’s something you know you really need to do) unless you know exactly what you’re signing up for. Even though it’s usually not, applying to jobs can feel like a total time suck. Let’s talk through how long a job application should take you, from the beginning to the end!


Pre-Applying (3+ hours):

Before you even apply for any jobs, make sure that your resume is updated and that you have a cover letter template drafted up. Additionally, download your unofficial transcript from Workday and have an updated list of references. These are all documents that you may or may not need (every company and every application is different), but this preparation can save you hours while you are applying. 

To break this step down, creating a new resume or updating your old one can take several hours or even days if you want to get it checked over by a career coach! Writing a cover letter may also take an hour or several. Downloading your transcript is by far the quickest step and can be done within minutes. Finally, compiling a list of references can take some thought, and, since you have to get permission to use somebody as a reference, it may take a while to get answers. 

A big part of pre-applying is company research, especially if you are crafting a new cover letter for a job you really want. Researching a company as well as the company’s industry and values can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour or two. 


Applying (30 minutes or less):

Whether you apply on Handshake, LinkedIn, or the company’s website, it should only take about thirty minutes to plug your information in, unless there is an additional personality or technical skill assessment attached to the application. Oftentimes, there is a “Quick Apply” function, which can take less than five minutes. On LinkedIn, if you have your resume uploaded, you can apply to many jobs within seconds. However, if we look at a traditional application, filling out your personal information, work experience, and additional skills should not take longer than fifteen or thirty minutes. Many companies have started to include software within their application processes that can read your resume and auto-populate the application for you.

Have you ever spent longer on an application? It may be because you are double-checking everything, which is definitely good practice but might be consuming your time. Remember that while accuracy is super important when submitting applications, getting a lot of them out is crucial as well. 


Post-Applying (Various):

Right after applying, you may be required to do an assessment or a video interview. This is always company-dependent and therefore cannot be judged on time. Getting those applications out may cause employers to contact you, which could result in additional time spent in correspondence or setting up calls.

By Alina Minkova
Alina Minkova Creative Blog Curator Alina Minkova