A job search can have costs associated with it, but there are ways to save if you look hard enough.
There are certain expenses associated with any job search, which can vary depending on whether the search is local or covers a distance. Spending a lot of money on a job search may not be feasible when you are out of work, but there are some ways to job search on a shoestring.
In today's business casual atmosphere, many people have not needed to own professional clothing. For an interview, however, it is always best to dress professionally, no matter what the dress code will be after you get hired. Professional clothing is usually available from thrift shops or consignment stores at a fraction of the new price. You may have to shop around a little, but you can easily save 90% by buying interview clothes secondhand, if you need to.
If unemployment has put you in a position of severe need, there may be local organizations that provide interview clothing for free. Your local unemployment office or job center (or even a local church) may be able to provide information if such services are available.
You may be tempted to skip the haircut before an interview, but first impressions are important. Interviewers aren't supposed to judge by appearance, but you may be passed over if interviewers feel you aren't a good cultural fit, and how you look is part of this. You can go to a beauty school or a basic salon unless you have a complicated cut, but make sure your hair isn't overgrown for an interview.
You may be tempted to let membership in professional organizations lapse to save money, but these organizations are a source of job openings and contacts. Keep up at least some of these memberships if at all possible. It may be worth calling the organization to see if they have any discount or sponsorship programs for the unemployed.
A job search can be a burdensome expense when you are unemployed.
In the IT field, certifications in particular skills can be vital during the hiring process. If you need to spend some money to get a certification you are missing, you should do so. Certification in your areas of skill may not only be required for some jobs, but it will increase your salary offers even when it is not required. If money is extremely tight, this may be a time to take up your parents or others on offers of help. Even if you have to borrow money from a friend or relative, you should do so in this instance.
If you are open to getting a job outside your local area, traveling will probably be part of the interview process. Travel costs can add up quickly. Staying with a friend or relative, bringing food along on the trip (if driving), or using frequent flyer miles (if flying) are all ways to travel for less. If you must eat in restaurants, try to use coupons or order from the value menu.
Save on Taxes
Job expenses are now deductible on your taxes, so save any receipts you can and keep track of mileage when you travel for anything job search related. This includes networking events, You can deduct 56 cents per mile for these trips. There are certain restrictions on job search deductions, which can be found here.
Using a Recruiter
There are definite advantages to using a recruiter, and they are all free to you, since employers pay when someone is hired to fill an open position. Recruiters have access to the "hidden job market" of unposted jobs, so it is worthwhile to work with one if you can.
GDH Consulting offers recruiting services to IT job seekers, including our talent network and job listings.