A job search lasting longer than six months can certainly take a toll on a candidate's patience. And depending on the circumstances, a long search can also wear away at an applicant's confidence and shift her long-term life plans and career expectations. But in addition to professional goals and mental health during an extended search, candidates also need to keep an eye on their finances. Here are four sneaky job search costs that are easier to keep under control if candidates can see them coming.
You'll save money on your interview outfit—and end up making more stylish and appropriate clothing decisions—if you give yourself plenty of lead time. Don't wait until you're called in for an interview, then rush to the nearest clothing store and open your wallet for the first decent suit you find. Take care of this now. Most entry-level job candidates will need one or two professional suits in their wardrobe for at least the first few years of their working lives. Take your time, choose well, get professional guidance, and invest in quality materials and a look that's timeless, not trendy.
Meanwhile, as you shop for daily office attire, spend more for basics like trousers, simple black sweaters, white button-down shirts, and shoes. Cheap out on accessories like scarves and costume jewelry.
Don't immediately volunteer to cover all of your own interview travel expenses, believing that this will please and impress potential employers. It won't. It's perfectly reasonable to expect an employer to cover the cost of plane tickets once they've decided to bring a candidate in from out of town. This is a reflection of the employer's respect for the candidate and her valuable skill sets. If your employers won't cover this cost, it's okay to politely request a video interview instead.
If you'll be driving or taking a train to most of your interviews, employers will be less likely to cover this cost, but depending on the distance, it's okay to ask a few questions about the job before you commit to the appointment. Make sure this opportunity is worth your investment. Employers won't think less of you for planning carefully, speaking boldly, and gathering the information you need in order to make long-term plans.
3. Opportunity Costs
Every minute you spend searching for work and traveling to interviews is another minute you're NOT spending on something else—like working. Lost work hours, child and pet care expenses, and missed opportunities will probably be a necessary part of your job search investment. But the more you rely on friends and family, or trade favors with those in your network, the more control you'll exercise over your financial costs.
4. Professional Resume Help
It's always a good idea to seek professional help with your resume and cover letter. After all, these are the first documents your potential employers will see, and the power of first impressions can make or break your entire job search. But this is no reason to throw your money away, and some professional resume services cost far less—and are worth far more—than others. Turn to MyPerfectResume for serious professional layout and formatting help with a price tag that won't break the bank.