Applying for a job when I don't know my availability
June 12, 2014 10:03 AM   Subscribe

A dream position of mine just opened up, but I'm unavailable for up to 6 months. Is it worth applying?

I'm currently working in a key position at a small-ish company. One of my ongoing projects is something that is planned to be completed at the end of a business cycle in about 6 months. While obviously one can leave a job at any point, I'd like to see this project through if for no other reason than being able to put it on my resume.

It's also possible that I'd complete the project in the next couple of months, but I don't have a good way of knowing how that will pan out.

In the meantime, a dream position of mine has opened up at a larger company. If it was a similarly high level position I think I could get away with negotiating a 6 month migration plan, but this position is fairly entry level and I suspect anything more than about a month would be highly unusual.

Is it worth applying anyway? If so, how soon should I mention my availability - in my application, or at the first interview? I don't want to waste their time, but I'd love to get my foot in the door while the position is open.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yes, since you don't know how long it takes this company to fill positions. A colleague of mine was interviewing for 4 months before she got her offer letter--and most of that time was just hanging around, not active interviewing. If you got to the end of that kind of runway, asking to start in two months might be relatively reasonable.

At the very least, you get your name on their radar, some closer experience with the company, and the practice interviewing.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:06 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

Apply for the job today. If you get it, and you want to take it, leave for the new job.

You're not unavailable for 6 months, as much as you'd like to finish the project, it's more important to get into a great job, than it is to have something to put on your resume? For what? Your dream job? Um...

I'll point out that if the company you work for ran out of funding for your project, they'd lay you off. It's business. And employees and employers MUST work in their own interests.

So start the process, likely it will be slow, and you may not even make the short list of applicants, but don't X yourself out of something right off the bat.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:07 AM on June 12, 2014 [22 favorites]

Seconding Admiral Haddock, just start the process and don't address availability until the question comes up - I waited six months from the first interview until my actual hire date for one of my jobs, four months for the next job, and six months for the one after that.
posted by Dragonness at 10:17 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can still put that project on your resume even if you leave before it's done. You should have it on there right now, in fact.

If project managers were only ever allowed to list completed projects on their resumes, there'd be alot of empty resumes at the top out there. Just sayin'. Yes a completed deliverable like that is valuable, but I'd be concerned about a workplace that would look down on you for leaving in the middle of a project, because it happens all the time.
posted by cabingirl at 11:10 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

As others have said, just apply. You don't know when they'll be ready for you to start - and although you have a pretty good estimate of it, you don't really know when you'll be ready to leave your current job. You say 6 months from now, but what if you negotiated for a January start date, and then the project ran over?

If this company called you up right now with a job offer that paid more, had better job title, and had good future prospects, would you really say "but I absolutely must finish my current project for client X, I cannot accept your job!"? Think about what you're hoping to get in return for that loyalty. Is it gratitude from the client? gratitude from your current boss? A feeling of moral fortitude? A cash bonus? A really fancy-looking thing to put on your resume?

If it's the resume, consider that if you left right now, you would list that project on your resume with all the tasks that you've done. You laid the groundwork for a successful project and completed tasks A&B on-schedule, with a smooth hand-off to the project team at the next stage. In another 6 months, you'd have coffee with your (soon-to-be-ex) coworkers, and find out if the project was successful or cancelled. In another year, you check on LinkedIn and see if they won any awards for it. Then you update your resume with key phrases about how successful that project (that you initiated) was. Also consider, is this project really and truly an exceptional opportunity? Any that any time you spend finishing this project at your current employer is time you're not spending on awesome new projects at awesome new employer. (And if there aren't awesome new projects to be had, then maybe it's not your dream job, but even then there's no reason not to apply)

In response to your concern about when to mention to them that you want to stay at your current job until December, I say, not until they ask you when you could start. This isn't information you volunteer, you wait for them to ask.
posted by aimedwander at 2:11 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Fair enough. I'm applying tonight and we'll see where it leads.

Thanks, all.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:56 PM on June 12, 2014

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