Tips for Saving Money During A Job Search

by KatieG on July 18, 2013

find jobNo one wants to go broke, or worse into debt, while looking for a job. In today’s economy, a job search may last longer than anticipated. The whole process can be very expensive from buying or refreshing your professional attire to traveling for interviews to revamping your resume, etc. You may even have to dip into your hard-earned emergency fund during this time or may be living off income from a side gig, so it is best that you find ways to save. You might think all job-search related expenses are necessary to land your dream job, but consider these tips for budget-friendly options that are just as effective:

Your first thought when looking for a new job might be “I need to revamp my resume and be sure it is both up to date and professionally written.” This is definitely true, but before you hire someone for resume help, first scour the internet for free resume-writing tips. Many job websites such as offer their own tips. A quick Google search will also yield tons of tips, but use your best judgment and tips specific to your field of work.

If you live close to the college you graduated from, pay a visit to the college Career Services Center. As an alum, you should be entitled to free career-related advice and assistance. You can also reach out to your alumni network or association for support, advice, and opportunities. Another option is to visit low-cost community job centers funded by your local government. These centers offer computer and internet access, and many offer photocopy services. All of these are great resources for help with resume preparation and networking.

Find free ways to improve your skills. Seek out free online classes that are applicable to your field. Use sites such as OpenCulture and Coursera. Check out your local library for any classes they might be offering. Learning or improving on a new skill will enhance your resume and increase your odds of landing a job (hopefully, in a shorter period of time).

If you don’t already own a suit or some snazzy professional attire to wear to your interviews, don’t go out and spend a small fortune. As always, first shop your own closet. But if you must make a purchase, watch for sales and discounts, shop at outlet stores, and purchase classic pieces that will last. Also, be sure to take advantage of free tailoring services. Many stores, such as J. Crew, offer free or discounted tailoring services if you are purchasing a suit in store. Also, consider borrowing pieces such as shoes, ties, dress shirts, briefcases, etc. from a friend or family member.

It’s important to know that some job search expenses may be tax deductible. So, save your receipts. However, the IRS has many requirements. You must be looking for a job in the same occupation as the last one you had (or the one you still have). This does not mean the job titles have to be identical, but the nature of the work must be comparable. For more specific information on the requirements, check with these guidelines outlined by the IRS.

Have you recently been on the job hunt? How did you save money?

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Katie is a Marketing Assistant at American Consumer Credit Counseling. She is a thrifty graduate student always on the hunt for a good deal or bargain. She looks forward to sharing her money-saving tips and habits with the Talking Cents community.

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Fru-gal Lisa July 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Since this rececession (which hasn’t ended for me), I seem to be on an almost never-ending job search. (I have held a series of jobs, most of them low-paying in companies that downsize, and I also do some substitute teaching.) However, I found many fantastic services — all for free! — at our local Goodwill Industries. I didn’t think I’d qualify because I am not disabled, but they said they are for handicapped OR disadvantaged people — and if you don’t have a job, you are definitely disadvantaged. Heart of Texas Goodwill helped me more than our state Workforce Commission! Goodwill had a class on how to search for jobs, and it included practice interviewing. They helped me file my income tax return. But, they also had a trained person on staff to work with me to write a resume. In the past, I paid someone else’s commerical company $400 to do a resume, and it wasn’t half as good; the Goodwill resume has received many compliments. Not only did Goodwill write me one resume, but also fixed a new one when I decided to try to go back into teaching, and updated my first one a year later. So now I have one for a “9 to 5″ type job and one for the schools — both free! Not all Goodwills do this, but I’m told different ones have different services. I was told that one Goodwill in another area even trains people for HVAC jobs. Be sure and check out Goodwill — it is no longer just for physically-challenged people! And, all the services I received were free of charge! Goodwill rocks!

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