Updated: May 26, 2020
Let's face it, looking for a job can actually cost money. Ugh. The good news though is that the following information includes some great tips to help you on your job hunt while also keeping expenses to a minimum.
Fewer companies require paper-based application materials. Most offer an online application process so that you can type in your information, upload a pdf copy of your resume and send in without having to spend money on stamps to mail the information!
Digital Professional Brand:
There are so many online profile options to take advantage of including the most common - LinkedIn.com. This is a great FREE site to publish and promote your skills and career aspirations. Many companies and recruiters scour LinkedIn.com for prospective employees. This is a great way to get your name out there without having to submit a resume for every single company!
Search By Location:
Commuting for job interviews costs time AND money. Even more so, commuting to the actual job will cost money unless you plan ahead and can make some adjustments. If you're searching for a job, start by searching for jobs closest to where you live. The closer you work in relation to where you live, can save you hundreds if not thousands of $$$ each year due to decreased commute costs. Whether you walk, bike, take public transport or drive, it still all adds up with time and $$. If you find a job further from home, that can still be okay. However, if you find your next job closer to home then it's an even better deal!
Check out these 5 books for more money-saving ideas!
5 FREE Locations to Create/Print Your Resume
2. Public Library
3. Community Center
4. Place of Worship
5. Family/Friend's House
Don't let the lack of technology at home be a barrier to your path forward! Take advantage of the free resources available to you for access to technology. Getting started or starting out again can be a daunting process but these resources are out there to help YOU succeed! Reach out to your community to find out which of these resources are still open and available right now.
5 Frugal Ways to Find Your Interview Outfit
Why Brand New?
You don't always have to buy a career outfit brand new. There are so many other options out there! Below are the Top 5 options to get started.
1. Borrow from friends/family/colleagues
This is THE BEST option when you're just starting out because it's FREE! Why buy anything when you can raid your friend's closet and borrow some great pieces first. For job interviews, you'll only need to wear the item for a few hours and so it will be minimal wear and tear on your friend's clothes. Even if you borrow just one item, that's one less thing you need to spend money on!
I recommend "10,0001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget", a great book by the writers of Wise Bread, with literally thousands of tips for saving money. I personally own this book and reference it often throughout the year. When you're ready to buy, you can use this link to purchase on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3fauU4C
2. Thrift Stores
Second best option for building your career wardrobe is to utilize your local thrift stores. These are great resources for clothes and other items! It takes some time and digging but you can find great options at extremely low prices. Most thrift stores also offer additional deals on items marked with special tags - On Tuesdays all red tagged items are an additional 10% off. To save even more money, buy one of the thrift store's reusable bags if available. The bags can cost around $5 initially but then typically provide you with a discount later every time you use it for shopping. As an example, I save 10% on my shopping with my thrift store bag. It all adds up!
3. Consignment Shops
This is a great option to sell some of your gently-used quality wardrobe pieces that you no longer wear. You can then use any money made from selling your clothes to purchase your career wardrobe pieces at the store at a discount. Note though that if you choose to sell some of your items, you typically won't get paid until your items actually sell. Keep that in mind for your overall timeline if you're counting on selling items to make money before you buy new pieces.
4. Clearance racks at retail stores. Sales racks at retail stores
Who doesn't love a deal?! If you prefer to shop at regular retail stores, swing by the sale and clearance racks. From 10-75% off, you can find some great items at great prices. Why pay full price if you don't have to? If you have time before you start interviewing for jobs, start watching the sales at your favorite stores so that you know the best time to go shopping. Better yet, use an app to keep track of retail deals more easily. Here are just a few examples:
* Cartwheel - Target discounts and sales
I also recommend "Shop Smart, Save More", a great book by Teri Gault, the founder of TheGroceryGame.com. Hundreds of tips to save money when shopping for groceries or anything else! I own this book and have used its many tips and yes, have saved some serious money. Ready to buy the book? Use this link to purchase on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2zQe22V
5. A part-time job at a retail store
This is a win-win option where you're making money and getting great deals on things you need. If you have extra time at night or on the weekends, consider getting a part-time gig at a retail store that sells clothes you could use for job interviews. A great temporary option is to work over the winter holidays when many retail shops hire many more part-time temp positions. In just a few months, you can earn some decent $$ and have access to an in-store discount to use that hard-earned cash on your career wardrobe!