If you are on the prowl for a job, you are likely concerned about the costs associated with the job search.
Looking for a job takes much more than time. It requires a computer, a high-speed internet connection, considerable travel, and formal clothes. The days of simply walking into an employer’s office, introducing yourself, dropping off your resume and scoring an interview are long gone.
The unfortunate truth is unemployment is egregiously high. Nearly 100 million working-age Americans are out of work. In some instances, the candidates who invest the most in job search ends up getting the prize.
However, this does not mean you have to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars to obtain employment. Let’s take a look at a few ways to help you trim costs while searching for work.
6 Smart Ways to Save Money on Your Job Search
1. Perfect Your Resume Without Professional Help
There are all sorts of resume-enhancement services out there. These groups promise to edit your resume in a manner that helps you get your foot in the door and convince hiring managers you are worth the risk.
Though many of these services will overhaul your resume and make it appear totally different from how it originally looked, they aren’t doing anything special.
You can perfect your resume on your own without assistance from the alleged professionals. It is certainly possible to find examples of high-quality resumes on the web.
Model your resume after these examples in a DIY fashion and you will save hundreds of dollars. However, if spend time and effort working on your resume and still aren’t confident in its look and flow, allying with the professionals might be prudent. Do not lose sight of the fact that your resume is your first impression. You can’t afford to make a mistake with this crucial opportunity.
2. Embrace any Work That Comes Your Way
If you are currently unemployed or severely underemployed, take the work that comes your way.
This is true for those without degrees as well as those with advanced degrees. It does not make sense to wait around for a call from your dream employer when it is possible to bring home a paycheck in the meantime. So don’t sit on your hands until the phone rings. Get out there, fill the gap with any type of work that comes your way and keep striving for the position you desire.
Do not hesitate to apply for work that you are overqualified for. Plenty of businesses will jump at the chance to bring on a skilled and intelligent individual, especially during the busier times of the year. Just be sure to use your off-time to continue your job search.
The bottom line is your personal finances will be better served by a steady stream of income while you search for your preferred job.
3. Paying for a Career Counselor Might be a Mistake
Some call them career counselors. Others refer to them as headhunters or career coaches.
Though a handful of these professionals are willing to help candidates search for work without charging a fee, most cost a pretty penny.
The advantages these professionals provide are often quite minor. You can obtain the same benefits by performing research and working your tail off during your job search. So don’t assume paying for a career counselor is justified simply because these professionals allegedly provide candidates with a competitive advantage.
Make sure you check out all job boards, from the large aggregators to the more locally-focused sites. You can also check out industry-specific sites and work-from-home opportunities to make sure you’re leaving no stone unturned.
Also, don’t spend a penny of your hard-earned money on a career counselor until you perform a cost-benefit analysis of such an alliance. If you decide leaning on a career counselor for your job search is worth the money, don’t sign up with the first one that crosses your path. Perform extensive research to determine which head hunter makes the most financial sense.
4. Mind Those Tax Deductions
Be sure to write down all of the expenses involved in your job search. Many of these expenses are tax-deductible.
Even paying for resume preparation services counts as a deduction. The only caveat is that you must be searching for employment in your current industry.
So sweat the small stuff. Make a copy of each receipt and store them in a careful and organized manner. The money you spend on your job search just might significantly reduce your tax burden when April rolls around.
5. Don’t Invest in an Entirely new Wardrobe
It is awfully tempting to spend on a nice new suit, tie, pair of heels or other piece of business attire. Appearance certainly matters when it comes to selecting from a pool of qualified candidates.
However, it does not make financial sense for an unemployed or underemployed individual to spend on a costly new wardrobe. As long as you have a collared dress shirt, a blazer, blouse, skirt or other combination of professional attire, you are good to go.
Save your money and let your qualifications and interview performance be the “x factors” rather than your attire.
6. If You Have the Will to Work, There is a Way
Stick with your job search, turn over every stone and you will eventually land a job in your desired industry.
The key is to keep your finances intact while looking for work. Stabilize your finances and you will enjoy a seamless transition between job sleuthing and cashing that first paycheck.
Related: 10 Highest Paying Jobs in America
Author Bio: Susan Ranford is an expert on job market trends, hiring, and business management. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for New York Jobs. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.