In a day and age in which unemployment remains unacceptably high and, even in times of job growth, many of the positions available are part-time, you may think that simply throwing a ton of cash at your job search is the best way to go. It isn’t. In fact, there are plenty of ways to cut costs when seeking employment that have zero effect on your getting a job. You want to aggressively pursue your search every way you can, just be sure you’re being budget-conscious along the way.
1. Rethink Using Career Counselors
They’re known by many names – career counselors, career coaches, and headhunters. Some are free, few are cheap, and most are gratuitously expensive. The benefits they provide in many cases can be achieved on your own simply with a little research and audacity. If you’re considering using a career counselor, be sure to weigh the services offered with the associated fees. If it doesn’t make sense, then go it alone.
2. Take Any Work You Can Get
This especially applies to those who are currently unemployed. Even if you have a master’s degree and are waiting on that magical call from a top employer doesn’t mean you can’t bring in a paycheck until the phone rings. Apply for jobs you’re overqualified for and look especially for businesses in need of seasonal help, like restaurants in tourist season or retail companies around the holidays. Take what you can get and use your down time to pursue your career-based job search. Income generation is even better than saving money when searching for a job.
3. Forget About a New Wardrobe
Keep your fashion statements limited to a night out on the town and stick to conservative attire for your interview. That said, there’s no need to go out and buy a new three-piece suit or a dress with an expensive set of accessories. Check your closets, and if you have a white collared shirt and a solid colored blazer, or a conservative but professional looking skirt and blouse, keep your money in your pocket and go with what you have. Your bank account is going to thank you for it in the long run.
4. Consider Crafting Your Own Resume
If you have the requisite expertise and up-to-date knowledge, writing your own resume can save you hundreds of dollars. However, if you’re at all unsure, consider investing the funds to have it professionally done. Your resume is likely to be the first impression you make on a potential employer, so getting it right is essential.
5. Keep Track of All Tax Deductions
Plenty of job search expenses, including resume preparation, are tax-deductible as long as you’re looking for work in your current industry. However, you’re going to have a hard time taking advantage of them if you don’t keep track of your receipts. To begin with, research the IRS website for all job search expenses that qualify as tax-deductible, and maintain a dedicated file. You may not save any money upfront, but you can certainly reduce your tax burden come April 15th.
Once you do find work, regardless of how the salary compares to your previous position, now’s the time to get yourself on a budget if you haven’t already done so – especially if your new job involves a smaller paycheck. Get a piece of paper and write out your income in one column and all your monthly bills in another. Find ways to slice and dice expenses until your spending falls beneath your income. Saving money during your job search is great, just don’t lose sight of the importance of cost management once you punch the clock at your new position.
What money-saving tips do you have for job searchers?