Are you currently on the hunt for a new job or career? If so, you’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 21% of full-time working Americans plan on changing jobs this year.
In your zest to find a new position though, it can be easy to let expenses get the better of you—and if you’re unemployed, of course, conserving money is absolutely essential. Regardless of your current situation, here are six ways to cut the cost of your job search.
#1. Carefully Consider the Benefits of Headhunters
Back in the day, headhunters provided invaluable services to job seekers. However, with the expansion of the Internet, you can actually do a lot of this legwork on your own now.
Of course, if you’re juggling too many responsibilities to tackle a job search entirely on your own, or if you’re looking for high-level positions that may not be readily advertised, a headhunter can be great. Just be sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. I spent close to $3,000 on a headhunting service just a few years back with limited results.
#2. Be Savvy if Using a Career Coach
Career coaches generally focus on self-improvement and helping you set career goals. If you’re reentering the workforce or need help establishing a career path, you might find one very helpful. Just use the same cautions as you would with headhunters, and do your research to make sure you’ve found an experienced, credible coach. If you’re considering one, think about bartering for services or offer up your own expertise in exchange for free career advice.
#3. Save on Wardrobe Costs
Think you need the flashiest suit to impress in an interview? Probably not. Hiring professionals are generally more concerned about what you have to say and how you act rather than how you’re dressed. You certainly don’t want to show up for an interview in jeans and a T-shirt, but often some of the more conservative attire in your wardrobe can serve you better than anything too eye-catching.
Make sure you dress up and look professional, but don’t splurge on a brand new designer suit. If you’re desperate for interview attire, try your local thrift store, H&M or J Crew Factory (the outlet store)—all often offer business attire at affordable prices. Check out this article on saving money on clothing.
#4. Take All Appropriate Tax Deductions
There are plenty of tax deductions available when searching for a job. You can deduct resume preparation costs and postage, employment service expenses, and travel expenses as long as the trip is devoted to looking for work. It’s important to note, however, that you can deduct expenses only if you’re searching for a job in your current occupation—and only the amount that exceeds 2% of your adjusted gross income.
#5. Use Community Resources
Local employment centers and even your nearby public library likely have a wealth of tools available that can help cut costs on your job search. Be sure to take advantage of all of them, including workshops for job hunters, free computer training classes, books and other resources on interviewing and career advice.
#6. Network More
Networking is an essentially free way to improve your chances of finding work. If you don’t currently participate in any groups, join a professional association in your career field or visit the website Meetup for introductions and suggestions.
Networking isn’t just about personal meetings and handshakes, though. Take a look at your LinkedIn profile—or create one if you haven’t already—and start reaching out to industry professionals. Make sure your profile is accurate and complete, and take advantage of a new service that allows you to post videos, as well. If you recently spoke at a conference, put that up and you may attract more attention.
One item you might have found to be glaringly absent in this article is that of saving on resume preparation costs. That’s because it’s not necessarily a good idea to go at it alone.
A professional resume writer or service can uncover skills or talents you didn’t know you had, verbalize them to present you in the best light, and produce a well-formatted, grammatically correct document. Ask friends or family for personal recommendations or check Craigslist to find a qualified resume preparation professional. Saving money on a job search is great, just understand that sometimes it pays to invest funds, as well.
What other ways do you know of to save money during a job search?
Russell Silva is a writer who discusses financial topics including personal finance, careers and jobs, retirement, and credit.