For as frustrating as the job search can be, sometimes it can be equally frustrating to sort through the seemingly endless number of job search options out there. There are free and paid job boards, career counselors, networking events and more. It can be easy to get lost in the shuffle of what is worth paying for and what you’re better off getting for free.
The biggest job search tool I recommend paying for is networking. While you can network with family and friends, and attend a limited number of networking events for free, many of your selected industry’s biggest networking events will be paid opportunities. One of my industry’s biggest networking events doesn’t come cheap. It’s over $200 to attend the two-day event, but the SINC Conference is one of the sports world’s biggest events. It allows you a number of one-on-one interactions with industry professionals, as well as large panel discussions. Free networking in general will yield watered-down groups of professionals, many of whom, like you, will be seeking help in their job search. While it’s great to meet people in your position, in your job search you want to meet people that can help you get a job and move forward.
If you are looking for free networking events though, you may need to think outside the box. For instance, think about tagging along with a friend to a party. What if your friend is in a different field? While you may have trouble identifying connections, once you do you’ll stand out by virtue of being the only, or one of the few, in your field.
On the free side of things, many free job boards provide you with the same or similar listings and opportunities as their paid counterparts. If you’re on a limited budget, spending money on job boards rather than interactions and connections doesn’t make as much sense. There are so many free options out there that provide tremendous assets to job seekers without a price- your money is better saved for other job search options.
In your job search, money may be a critical issue. Deciding how to use it to better your search can save you time, energy and money. Networking events provide the best bang for your buck and can put you in direct contact with people who can help you. On the other hand, job boards are often comparable no matter the price. No matter what though, just remember to never feel pressured into spending money on your job search.
Have you spent money to aid your job search? What did you spend it on? Share with us in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by 401(K) 2013