6 Ways to Save Money During a Job Search
How much does it actually cost to find a new job? The answer, unfortunately, is that it depends. Some reports show that 27% of job seekers who incurred expenses while searching for a job spent more than RM500, mainly on clothing (49%), transportation (22%), and travel (11%).
If you are looking for a job in your field in your local area and your resume is current and in reasonably good shape, you might get away with only budgeting money for gasoline or bus expenses and the cost of printing a few extra copies of your resume.
But if you're looking for work in a new city, want to change careers, or are on a long-term job search, the costs can be significant. Depending on your situation, you may need to shell out money for one or two interview clothes, transportation to and from the interview, career counseling, help writing your resume, job training and more.
The good news is that not all costs are negotiable - and with a little preparation and ingenuity, you can often find similar services for less money. Read on for the seven best ways to save money during your job search:
Organize your business
One of the best ways to save money during your job search is to get organized. You don't have to buy expensive software or organizers to do this. Chances are, you already have many productivity tools that are perfect for organizing your job search. Create a spreadsheet for job applications in Microsoft Excel or Google Drive. Use your handphone's built-in apps and features to keep track of your deadlines or create alerts and appointments in Google Calendar.
Borrow application clothes from friends and family
To make a good first impression during a job interview, it is essential to dress appropriately. Even if the interview is remote and you are interviewing via Zoom or Microsoft Team, you should dress appropriately. Depending on the company culture, this can range from business casual attire to a business suit and neat shoes.
It pays to do your research. It's better to dress up more than less, but then again, you don't want to go overboard. For example, if you're applying to a startup, a business suit could give the wrong impression.
If you don't have the perfect interview clothes hanging in your closet (or in your current size), don't assume you have to buy something new. Network your way to a new outfit by asking friends and family if they have any suitable clothes to share.
Check out online fashion and consignment sites like Poshmark, ThredUp and TheRealReal to buy cheap clothes. If that doesn't work out, go to your local thrift store or consignment store. You'll be amazed at what you find.
Avoid paying out of pocket for travel expenses
One of the biggest expenses for out-of-town job interviews is travel and lodging. Airline tickets, train tickets, rental cars and hotel reservations can quickly add up. You may be paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars before you've even set foot in the company's offices.
But you may not have to pay the entire bill yourself. Some companies will pay for travel and lodging expenses. Nervous about asking who is paying? Then consider asking if the company will arrange the travel for you. If they say no, consider negotiating a fee.
If the job interview is still in its early stages and the employer is not yet absorbing the costs, you can also ask if they would consider a video interview or phone call at this stage. If things go well then, you know that your investment in travel expenses for the next interview is more likely to pay off.
Many employers conduct the hiring process, from interview to hire, online. You may even be hired for a job that you do in person, without incurring any additional expenses.
Upskill yourself for free
If you've been looking for a job for a while and haven't had much luck, maybe it's time to add some new skills to your resume. And you may not have to pay a high tuition bill to do so.
Your first step should be to determine which skills will impress employers the most and have the biggest positive impact on your bottom line. One way to do this is to review the qualifications of your peers in your field, either by looking at their LinkedIn profiles or by scanning job ads for your intended job title.
Once you’ve determined which skills you need to learn, search for free online classes via organizations such as Coursera or edX.
Reach Out to Your School
Career coaching, help with writing a resume and cover letter, assistance with finding job leads, career networking resources, and practice interviews can help your job hunt be much more successful than if you’re doing it on your own.
If you graduated long ago, your college career center might not be your first thought when you’re job searching—but it should be.
Career services centers often provide free networking resources, resume and interview help, and career assessment services to alumni, even if they aren’t recent grads. Your school’s website should provide more information on remote services for alumni and how to get in touch.
Save Money on Technology
Few job seekers can manage without technology these days, even if they’re in brick-and-mortar industries that rely heavily on networking connections. But if you’re looking for a place to save money during your job search, now’s a good time to review your monthly expenditures on mobile service, internet, and other essential technologies.
Save money on your cell phone service by using prepaid plans, bundling services, or switching your plan to one that more closely matches your usage patterns. Bundle your internet and cable—or cut the cord and ditch the landline.
Just be sure you don’t make any changes that jeopardize your ability to connect with potential employers, like switching to a less reliable cell service, for example. You don’t want to drop a call with a hiring manager just when they’re making a job offer.
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