Switching jobs can be an expensive transition. Travel, proper interview attire, and fees for documentation such as transcripts can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars. Use these 10 free and easy strategies to eliminate or reduce job searching costs.
A well-fitted suit may be the surest way to project a professional image, but the thrift store is a viable option for interview clothes. Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and local consignment stores carry gently used and sometimes new business clothing. Think about springing for dry cleaning and precise tailoring to make clothing feel brand-new and leave a crisp, lasting impression on the interviewer.
Don't be afraid to reach out to friends and family members who wear a similar size to save a few dollars (maybe hundreds) on that interview outfit. Depending whether you borrow, inherit, or buy the clothes at a discount, budget for a round of tailoring and dry cleaning -- or two, if the clothing is being returned.
Don't pay a registration or monthly membership fee to join a job board. There are a slew of free, legitimate online job boards that list open positions and offer virtual job-search help and career advice, without any associated costs. Monster, Indeed, and Snagajob are just a few free sites.
A library is perhaps the best resource for anyone searching for a job on a tight budget. Local libraries offer many free career-related services, from job postings to programs on résumé writing and job search techniques, with librarians as helpful guides.
For some careers, a thorough online portfolio is necessary; a fancy website is not. Wordpress, Weebly, and Wix allow job-seekers to display content, including pictures and videos, without paying a dime. Some people have their own websites or free About.me pages to show off a résumé and their best work.
Take advantage of free local and career events. Even the most expensive job fair doesn't guarantee an offer, so it's smarter (and cheaper) to attend events that are free. Most universities, community colleges, hospitals, and some cities and towns hold or sponsor networking events and career fairs. Local newspapers, Eventbrite, and, of course, libraries list free career events.
Have an interview in a different state? It's reasonable to balk at spending a lot of money on travel and lodging for potentially no return. Many employers are open to the idea of connecting via an online platform such as Skype before asking a candidate to travel out of state for a meeting. Schedule carefully and a video interview can take place in a secluded area at a public library.
If travel is a must, don't be afraid to ask an employer about travel assistance. Some companies cover airfare and the cost of a hotel for promising candidates. Be polite when asking and offer reassurance that travel is a possibility even if the potential employer doesn't offer help.
There are too many job scams out there to list. A few rules, though, can save you from wasting money on fake jobs. Rule No. 1: Never pay to submit an application or pay someone to hire you. Paying for a job -- or training materials or placement -- is a sure sign of a scam. Also, be wary of positions that don't require interviews, and employers who offer a job on the spot.