Don't Forget About These 7 Job Hunting Expenses
Thinking about changing careers this year? There's a lot that goes into the search, like sending out applications and brushing up on your interview skills. But you might not consider how much it'll cost you.
From hiring a professional resume writer to bulking up your work wardrobe and factoring in transportation costs, let's review these tips on how to prepare your money for a job hunt.
1. Hire a Pro to Polish Your Resume
Plenty of HR directors will tell you that if your resume contains errors, if it's lackluster, or if it's just plain boring, it's likely to end up in the circular file. That's a trash can, for the uninitiated. (See also: 4 Resume Rules You Should Be Breaking)
To give yourself a fighting chance against all the other qualified candidates, you have to stand out. You can beef up your resume on your own if you know what you're doing (and there are plenty of resources online to help you), but you also may want to consider hiring a professional resume writer whose job it is to keep up on resume trends and provide you with the most up-to-date vitae.
A good writer charges anywhere from $150 and up for a revamp of your resume, though I probably wouldn't pay more than $300. Before you begin, however, ask for samples and references. Anybody can put a resume together — we've all done it for ourselves — but does the person you're paying get results? Research a solid writer so you don't waste your money. Some other resume-related expenses for which to plan include resume paper and printer ink.
2. Invest in Professional Headshots
Social media has been a bane for job seekers since it took off 10 years ago, and I can almost guarantee that your future employer will look you up on Google and investigate your social media profiles to get a better idea of who you are outside of the interview. As such, don't shoot yourself in the foot before you get in the door by leaving up posts and photos that don't portray you as a reliable person who's looking to advance their career.
First, scrub your profiles of any offensive material. You don't have to go through all your photos and delete every picture of you with a drink in it, but, you know, use common sense when deciding whether or not the photo of you hanging halfway out of a taxi window at 2 a.m. is the best representation of you. Second, if there are no photos of you looking professional, get some — stat!
Career coach Devay Campbell recommends investing in a professional headshot for your LinkedIn Profile — at the very least — which may have residual effects.
"Your future employer will look you up and if your profile is optimized correctly, you may even have profile views from recruiters in organizations that you have not applied to," she says.
3. Save Up Enough to Cover the Transition Period
Not every job change has you leaving your old workplace on a Friday afternoon and showing up at your new place of employment early Monday morning. There may be a transition period — especially if you left the old job before you landed a new gig — and you should prepare for that financially. Give yourself at least a three- to four-week window of savings that you can rely on, Campbell says, so you're not struggling or teetering on the verge of debt.
4. Enhance Your Wardrobe to Show You Mean Business
They say you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. And that makes perfect sense when you're interviewing for a new position — because you want that job. Thus, take your frumpy butt over to your favorite store that sells business attire and pick up a few new items. This will likely set you back a few hundred dollars. But it's well worth it to show your future employer that you know what's up as soon as you walk through that door. Looking fresh also will give you more confidence, and that'll show.
5. Factor in Transportation Costs
You'll need to get to your interviews somehow, and that'll raise your fuel bill if you're driving. But depending on where you're applying for new positions, you may have to get there via other methods, like train or plane.
When I was looking for jobs in Manhattan a decade ago, I had to foot the bill myself, generally opting to take a bus or train from Baltimore to New York City. If you're being considered for a high-level position, you may get special treatment wherein the potential employer will fly you out, but otherwise you shouldn't count on anybody subsidizing the cost of getting you to that interview.
If you are traveling a distance, remember to factor in arrival and departure times. Don't book a ticket in the morning for an afternoon interview. Give yourself more time to get there and relax. Besides, you don't know what could happen along the way in terms of delays, and you'll be disappointed in yourself when you're passed over because you couldn't show up at your scheduled interview time.
6. Will You Need Domestic Help?
Conducting a job search is time-consuming and other parts of your life could suffer if you're not careful. If you have children, you may need to hire a baby sitter or someone to help around the house if you're otherwise occupied. If you're a pet owner, you might need to spring for day care or sitting so your furbaby is well taken care of while you're out doing your thing. Think about the impact your search will have on the other parts of your life and plan accordingly.
7. Do the Math Before Accepting a New Position
For most of us, the goal of changing careers is to be happier at what we do with a higher salary. Hey — that's America.
But before you accept that initial offer — which you should never do immediately as a general rule; take a day to think about it — look into what you're losing or gaining by switching things up. Your new employer may have higher-cost health insurance, and it may not provide matching funds to your 401K. If this is the case, you may not be winning financially in the long run, and you'll kick yourself for it eventually. Do your homework and crunch the numbers to ensure that all your needs are met before committing to the change.
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