Make us your home page
Instagram

Keep job search cost low

Search out free or low-cost assistance in your job search, like the free resume help offered at this job fair in San Francisco in August.

Associated Press

Search out free or low-cost assistance in your job search, like the free resume help offered at this job fair in San Francisco in August.

MILWAUKEE — With little relief in sight on the employment scene, job hunters have to be savvier and more careful than ever about what they choose to spend money on as they search. Luckily, one of the best ways to find a job — networking — is practically free. The key is to stay focused on your goals, experts said. Here are some tips on ways to keep spending down while looking for the job you want. Emily Fredrix, Associated Press

Network online

If you don't have a free profile on LinkedIn, get one, said Susan Joyce, editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org, an employment portal that links to job Web sites, employment offices and articles with tips.

"The LinkedIn profile is the new resume," she said.

You can connect with old friends and classmates on the networking site, which bears some resemblance to Facebook. Start by posting your work history and comments and questions and answering others' question thoughtfully. That will build up your presence. Then you can solicit recommendations and start to network.

Joyce suggests also joining Linked­In groups, such as the ones for alumni of your college and for the most relevant professional organization, because that's where recruiters now focus their efforts. They can fine-tune their searches very quickly by going to groups of people with an attribute they're seeking such as paralegal experience or an MBA, she said.

Network in real life

Don't neglect networking in person just because you're searching online, said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm in Chicago. That's where the real connections are made, and they don't have to break the bank either.

"You have to get yourself out from behind the computer at your home, out engaged in the external side of things," he said.

Join the professional organizations you chose in step 1 — ask about discounts — and go to their events, for example. Often these groups will let new members attend events — say, a dinner — for free even when other members must pay. Some groups let people join for free if they're looking for a job.

If you arrange meetings with new contacts, don't feel like you have to treat them to a meal or coffee. Often, just meeting in an office is enough, Challenger said, and it could help you stay focused on business.

Go back to school

No, we don't mean for a new degree, which could be helpful but certainly won't be cheap. Check your college's career center for new contacts and leads. Many college centers now cater to alumni, not just recent graduates, and offer career advice, help with resumes and connections to other alumni.

Also check career centers at local community and technical colleges, which may help you for a small fee, even if you didn't matriculate there, said Dorothy Graham, a career coach and owner of Transitionwork.com, a career transition business.

And don't forget state and municipal work force development organizations.

Know when to hire professionals

There's a thriving industry built around people looking for jobs, but spending on head hunters, career coaches and resume writers doesn't always pay off, experts said.

Challenger said never to pay a company that promises you success, for instance.

"There really aren't places that will find you a job," he said. "That's a myth."

But if you think your resume is out of date, it can be worthwhile to — carefully — hire a resume writer, said Joyce at Job-Hunt.org. An online search finds they typically charge about $200.

"Get references; try to find someone who really knows what they are doing and has a proven track record," said Joyce, who has been through two layoffs herself.

She suggests posting your resume for free on sites like Monster.com and refreshing it every 10 days (just change a word or two), so it never looks like you've been searching for work for months.

Career coaching can cost more than $100 an hour, but some coaches will offer a sliding scale or work within a budget that a client sets, said Graham. She suggests first seeing how much work you can do on your own by tapping free resources; then, if you get stuck, hire a professional within your means.

Be methodical

Planning each step of your job search will help you save money and time.

If you know you'll be visiting a city for a job interview, plan your trip at least two weeks ahead so transportation costs less and so you can arrange other interviews or meetings, Challenger said.

Maybe even stay with one of the old friends or classmates you've reconnected with to save on hotel costs. Ask prospective employers to pay for the trip. And keep using your time efficiently by finding out ahead of time where there's free wireless Internet you can use between interviews. Check out: www.wififreespot.com/.

It's tax-deductible

Keep your receipts for things like travel and photocopying your resume. Some expenses incurred during a job search in your current occupation are tax deductible, Challenger said.

Check IRS publication 529 for details: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p529.pdf.

Keep job search cost low 10/24/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 24, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  2. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times

    Business

    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]
  3. The Iron Yard coding academy to close in St. Petersburg

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Iron Yard, a code-writing academy with a location in downtown St. Petersburg, will close for good this summer.

    Instructors (from left) Mark Dewey, Jason Perry, and Gavin Stark greet the audience at The Iron Yard, 260 1st Ave. S, in St. Petersburg during "Demo Day" Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at The Iron Yard, which is an immersive code school that is part of a trend of trying to address the shortage of programmers.  The academy is closing this summer.  [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Florida's unemployment rate drops for fourth straight month

    Markets

    Unemployment in Florida hit a 10-year low in June, clocking in at 4.1 percent, down from 4.3 percent in May. The state added 19,400 jobs over the month, and saw growth in most industries. But there's one glaring missing piece to the economic recovery puzzle: wage growth.

    Florida's unemployment level dropped to 4.1 percent in June from 4.3 percent in May. |  [Times file photo]
  5. Is sinkhole damage sinking Tampa Bay property values?

    Real Estate

    On a scale of desirability, the house for sale on Whittner Drive in Land O' Lakes would rank fairly low. It's a short sale; it sits on an unstabilized sinkhole and it's within a few miles of two houses that collapsed into a gargantuan hole July 14.

    A gated community in Hernando's Spring Hill area, Pristine Place has long been susceptible to sinkholes with nearly a third of its houses with documented sinkhole damage by 2012. Today, however, many houses with repaired sinkhole damage are selling for more than houses without any issues. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times file photo]