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by Caroline Ceniza-Levine | August 06, 2009

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With job searches taking longer, there are more jobseekersbumping up against their severance deadline (or their own mental deadline thattells them they should have found a job by now).  A popular question that I hear often is how long you shouldhold out for that dream job before moving to plan B.  The answer is different for everyone:

What is your time urgency?  Have you run the actual numbers on your cash cushion runsout?  The shorter the time youhave, the wider your net has to be. Even if your dream company/ industry/ functional area is hiring, whenyou have a short timeframe, you need to have multiple searches well underway.

What is your risk appetite?  Some people are energized by putting all their focus ontheir passion.  Some people wouldbe so nervous that they couldn’t do their best work.  Some people are distracted doing more than one thing at atime so they have to decide on plan A or B, but can only choose one.

What are your dream job prospects?  Are you looking to break into the subprime mortgageorigination business, or are you looking into alternative energy?  Some sectors are hotter thanothers.  Growing industries willhire faster.  Newer industries willhire people with less experience (since by default everyone has less experiencein brand new industries) and are more open to career changers.

These are just some of the issues that you have toweigh.  The work involves actuallythinking through these issues – calculating your financial obligations v. yourreserves, examining your will, researching your target sectors.  It is not a single right or wronganswer, but more of a process and series of actions.  In this way, it is less about waiting and more aboutdoing.  The best jobseekers areproactive and don’t wait.

CarolineCeniza-Levine is a career coach, writer, speaker, Gen Yexpert and co-founder of SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com),a career coaching firm comprised of former Fortune 500recruiters.   

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