Updated June 2020
Finding a job can be a job within itself – one that doesn’t pay, but instead, it costs you money. Since there’s probably a good chance you’re limited on funds as you perform your job search, here are some simple tips and tricks that will help you lower the cost of your job hunt.
1. Community Job Centers are a Great Resource
A community job center, much like a workforce center or career center, will offer services for free so that you lower your cost of job hunting. Workforce centers usually will offer free or low-cost training to help you snag the job that fits your skill set. To find one, a simple search such as “your city + career center” can yield some results. If you’re looking for help getting started in your job search, this roadmap is another great free resource and step-by-step guide.
2. Cut Unused Phone and Internet Services
Do you really need a smartphone with unlimited talk, data, and texting? The answer is no. By cutting your phone service down to the bare minimum, using only the services you need, you can save yourself some money while in between jobs. You can, of course, start these services back up once you get another job.
Do you have resumes to send, online job hunting, and emails to respond to, but can’t afford the cost of home Internet services? Find your local coffee shop, library, or basically any public location, and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi.
3. Treat Yourself to a Free Makeover
While it sounds like it could be expensive, a trip to your local cosmetology school or makeup counter can yield a great result and boost your confidence for upcoming job interviews. So go ahead, get a new haircut or explore new makeup because looking like a million bucks doesn’t have to cost a million bucks.
4. New Outfits Without the Retail Price Tag
They say that you should dress for the job you want, but why pay retail prices when you can shop at a thrift store and get stylish interview attire for a fraction of the cost?
Or do you have a friend with great taste that shares the same sizes? Borrow an interview outfit from your friend so you can dress the part of the interview. They may not be brand new clothes, but they are new to you and the interviewer will never know.
5. Take Advantage of Budget-Friendly Job Search Resources
There are tons of resources out there to aid in your job search. Some carry a hefty price-tag. Others – not so much! One such program is NG Career Strategy’s Job Search Accelerator. For less than $30 a month, you can access an entire job search toolkit of resources, webinars, templates and more!
“Before I joined the Job Search Accelerator I was wasting my time on job boards and getting no responses. I was also struggling with my job search focus and clarity – having trouble really honing in on the types of jobs I was searching for. The approach Noelle takes is so much more helpful. Both my strategy and clarity/focus have improved since starting the accelerator. I am so much more efficient. The results I have experienced include increased networking contacts, increased job leads, more clarity around the direction of my job search, improved professional brand, and a more organized job search! Noelle is very detailed in her approach and is highly responsive and interactive with members. Very helpful!” – Peter, Health & Medical Industry Manager
6. Proper Planning Can Cut Costs
So you’ve landed several interviews. Make sure you schedule the interviews wisely so that you can logistically make it to each appointment on time, and avoid things that cost time and money, such as sitting in stopped traffic during rush hour. Map out your interviews so that you drive the least amount possible and save on gas.
Have a whole day of interviews planned? Make time for lunch, but bring a nutritious lunch from home to fuel you through your day. Doing this will ensure you aren’t stuck hungry and tempted to spend money on expensive food.
7. Need a Babysitter? Get Creative
The reality of childcare is that it can be expensive, especially when you are out of work. Potential employers tend to frown upon bringing your child to an interview. Think about asking a friend to help you out or enlisting the help of grandparents/family members to care for your children while you are job hunting.
Is there a mom in your mommy meetup group that needs childcare on a Friday? See if they will trade childcare with you so that you can make that interview.
Some workforce centers do provide child care for job hunting purposes at a nominal cost or free of charge depending on household size and income.
8. Network and Skip the Premium Online Memberships
Think you need LinkedIn premium to land more offers? Think again! Learn everything you need to know about effective LinkedIn searching without LinkedIn premium. Don’t turn to expensive job hunting websites. Utilize free services, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster or SimplyHired. Try these quick tips to get more bang for your buck with Linkedin. Premium memberships can break the bank, though, so consider using the free versions of these online websites and put your efforts into making sure that your resume speaks for itself. Try these creative ways to network.
Oftentimes, finding and landing a job is about whom you know, so it’s best to utilize your networking skills and ask around. Chances are you will find a position that is a good fit. You’ll get your foot in the door for that interview by utilizing professional connections, rather than paying an expensive fee to get your resume moved into a “preferred pile.” If you’re feeling rusty when it comes to your networking skills, try scheduling informational interviews which create less pressure on you and your networking contact. Here is a step-by-step guide to informational interviewing.
9. Don’t Waste Resources on Jobs You Don’t Want
They say time is money, so don’t waste it! It is surprising how many people will go on a job interview just because an interview invitation was extended. Why waste valuable time, energy, and gas money attending a job interview that is clearly not a good fit?
Instead, focus your energy on landing interviews for the positions that pique your interest and ignite your passion.
10. Tax Breaks
Did you know that your expenses for job hunting can lead to a tax deduction? The IRS website has listed all deductible costs. Keep your receipts and take advantage of this option, so when tax time comes, you can get a few extra dollars back in your refund. Check out the list of deductible job search expenses that might apply to you.
Searching for a job is never easy, but equipping yourself with the right information and making wise choices will help you land your job without breaking the bank.
Author Bio: Stephanie Lynch is from HowMuchIsIt, a database designed to help consumers find out what unknown things cost in life.
If you want to access affordable job coaching and resources that won’t break the bank, sign up for Noelle’s job search support community – and receive budget-friendly career coaching, FREE resume review, LinkedIn optimization workshops, webinar recordings, resources, templates, and guides for helping you land your next job in record time!