Photo Courtesy: Ken Teegardin
The economy may be showing signs of a recovery, but that doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™ve got money to throw around while you search for your slice of the pie.
Ironically, searching for jobs can be expensive. Between the commutes to and from job interviews and lunches, out to Internet and cell phone bills, all the little things start to add up pretty quick when all the money is going out and nothing is coming in. Thatâ€™s why budget job-shopping is so important.
Below we take a look at five tips for saving money while you hunt for your dream job.
1. Make Tax Deductions
One of the smartest moves you can make is to deduct all possible job-seeking expenses from your taxes. Of course, you will have had to have earned some income in the prior year to make that worthwhile, but assuming you did, there are numerous deductions you can make.
The biggest hitch to this money-saving trick is that deductions are only applicable to search expenses incurred while seeking a job in your current occupation. If you can overcome that hurdle though, the savings are potentially great. You can deduct for travel, employment agency fees and costs for sending out your resume, all of which can add up pretty fast.
2. Use the Internet
You can make significant cuts in cost by utilizing the growing number of free tools available on the Internet. Youâ€™re probably familiar with using email for building and sending resumes (of course!), but there are many other tricks you can use to save a penny or two.
VoIP phone services like Vonage might be a smart choice to cut down on cell phone bills, as is the free phone option available through Google. You can also use this technology for video conferencing in lieu of face-to-face first interviews, provided your interviewer is amenable.
3. Streamline Research
Time is quite literally money, especially when it comes to looking for jobs. Itâ€™s very easy to slip into a Craigslist time-warp fugue while job searching, and the next thing you know youâ€™ve spent four hours trolling for jobs without sending any emails or making any calls.
Avoid this rut by conducting hard-target research in your desired career areas, creating a list of potential employers and then sending out emails or resumes according to the list. Keep things organized and you will notice it will help you keep moving.
4. Schedule with Purpose
As noted in #1 above, if youâ€™re searching for employment outside of your current occupation (or itâ€™s been a long time since youâ€™ve been employed), all those miles and all that time is not going to be deductible.
Save yourself time and money by scheduling office visits and interviews on the same days. This can be especially helpful if you live in, or are travelling to, a metropolitan area where all of your scheduled stops are co-located. You may even be able to save more by utilizing public transportation.
5. Dress (Financially) Conservatively
Looking the part for that big job interview is important, but itâ€™s not $2,000-suit important. Some job seekers get a little overzealous when it comes to outfitting for the job search, seeming to forget that interviewers are not aware youâ€™re wearing the same tie all over town.
Save money by keeping one good outfit with matching accessories and donâ€™t be afraid to repeat your wardrobe. Keep even more money in your pocket by using at-home dry cleaning kits instead of paying for the cleaners, and by keeping your clothes nice by avoiding eating hot dogs with extra mustard in your car or leaving the house without an umbrella.
Saving money in any endeavor often comes down to thinking ahead, and employing this strategy in your job search is no different. In fact, you may find that the increased attention to detail will help you snag more interviews as well as keep coins in your piggy bank.
James Madeiros writes for Criminal Justice Degree Schools, a career resource providing information on criminology and sociology degrees, interviews with criminal justice professionals, lists of top industry blogs, and career guides.