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The Financial Costs of a Job Search

If you’re actively seeking employment, you’re probably aware of the strain that unemployment can have on your personal finances. While you’re tracking the pennies going in and out of your wallet, you may want to consider how much money you need in order to fund your job search. With the addition of the internet to our lives, it’s easy to search for jobs from the comfort of your own couch and to believe that your time off isn’t costing you any extra cash. However, we’ve all heard the phrase that “time is money,” and the simple fact is that an eight-hour day not spent on the clock is eight-hours of pay not in your pocket. As you dig into your job hunt, think about the return on investment (ROI) of some of these areas. Are they necessities or just nice to have? Are they an investment for the future or just a quick convenience?

The Bare Necessities.
What materials are essential to your job search? Consider items such as a computer, a printer and ink. While you probably have most of these things at home, they are the tools you will need to keep in stock in order to move your search forward, and they will eventually impact your finances. To save costs, consider the employers you’ll be sending resumes to. In this article from CNN Money, it’s suggested that using fancy stationary and designer lettering won’t necessarily move your resume to the top of the pile. If you know you’re applying to places that appreciate simplicity, don’t spend the money on the extra-thick, high gloss paper. Rely instead on your qualifications to get you the job.

Travel costs.
Maybe you’ve had the privilege of being flown to a company in order to interview in person. Generally, the company will pick up the tab for things like airplane tickets, meals, a hotel, etc. so your finances are hit too hard. But also involved in this is the car and the gasoline necessary to get to the airport. Also, you probably had to purchase a few things in order to be ready to travel- maybe a travel pillow or a small shampoo bottle.Those little things do impact your finances so don’t consider them as investments. Instead, be prepared to be sincerely grateful for the generosity of your potential employer and use the hotel’s shampoo. At the same time, if you suggest to them a video interview as a preliminary interview they might be on board. Let them know that video interviewing can be just as effective and that Spark Hire has a great platform. Plus, both your and their finances can stay where they are.

The suit.
If you’re a recent college graduate and you’re in the job search for the first time, perhaps you don’t have the wardrobe necessary for the working world. In order to prepare for job interviews, you may need to spruce up your closet with dress pants, ties, suits and leather shoes. These items are definitely an investment and, while staying within your personal budget, should be considered for their utility now and in the years to come.

There are certainly other areas to consider, and as you do try to keep the long-term goal and long-term investments in mind. While you may be a little strapped for cash, the investments you make in your job search today will be worth the job opportunity at the end of the tunnel.

What are some other things you need to spend money on in your job search? Let us know about them in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by 401(K) 2013

Written by

Kailyn is a recent college graduate with degrees in English and Political Science. She is currently working in the publishing industry, where she loves the fact that she is paid to immerse herself in talking and thinking about books all day long. When she isn’t working, she enjoys reading, cooking, line-dancing, and writing short stories and poetry. Her sincerest hope for contributing to Spark Hire’s job seeker blog is to provide job seekers of all ages with the tools and sense of humor necessary to stay calm and carry on.

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