Job seekers often shy away from spending money on their search. And for good reason. When you're unemployed or transitioning, it can feel like spending money on job seeking tools, products, and services is an unaffordable extravagance. However, if you do have spending room, it can be highly beneficial to spend on your efforts to find a great new job.
Side note: Depending on where you live and your employment circumstances, your job search expenses may be tax deductible. Do the research and find out how you can optimize your spending!
If spent wisely, the money you put into your job search can lead you to landing a better job, faster. Here are some ways that a financial investment in your job search can have a positive impact.
Fill in the gaps
When you’re job hunting, there’s a good chance you’ll find the job listings that sound like perfect descriptions of your background. Except for that one little thing. That one certification, or that one skill that you’re lacking. Companies ask for a lot from their candidates. They want to make sure they make the right hire to handle the job with little hand holding.
So if you have the means, invest in taking a course on a skill gap that you need to fill. Invest in getting a certification that you are lacking. Put in the money up front to get the skills you need for your career progression and it will demonstrate both knowledge and ambition to potential employers.
So don’t hesitate to start the learning and certification process and to list your newly achieved and in-progress education goals. Companies that value your continuing education are sure to notice and are probably the types of organizations you'll want to join.
Get into shape
This doesn’t mean exercise (although do that, too!). There are a lot of small things that might be preventing you from communicating well with employers.
For example, if you have problems speaking in public or get too nervous in an interview, it’s a great idea to take an improv class or to connect with a speaking or interview coach for practice. This can help you get over your nerves in high-stakes situations and perform well when chatting with an interviewer.
If your resume lacks polish or you're not particularly confident in your writing skills, consider a professional resume edit. If English is your second language, definitely find a coach and practice your storytelling and interview skills.
Whatever it is that is preventing you from properly communicating, there's either a online or offline course, service, or professional available and they can be tremendously valuable in certain circumstances.
It's quite simple. Match your employer and look sharp. How you look can often be as important as how well you speak and what you say. It's one part of a complete impression hiring managers are forming about you.
Judge the industry you're in, the company you're interviewing with, and determine what style and formality is required. Get a haircut. Shave. These are not optional in today's world of overqualified candidates. You have to look just as impressive as the other thousand potential hires you're competing with.
If you're interviewing in an industry you know requires some formality, consider buying or renting nice business attire over dragging out that dusty jacket you never wear. You'd be surprised at the impact. If you're applying to a startup, don't show up in a suit and tie unless you want to look disconnected from their culture.
Part of getting a job involves getting into the imagination of the hiring manager and showing them that you can be a part of their office - that you can be someone they’d want to see and work with on a daily basis. And for that to happen, a great impression at interviews is important.
When spent in a smart way, a bit of money invested in your job hunt can provide great returns. If you have the money to spend, consider doing so for the sake of your career. After all, everything you spend money on in the job search will continue to benefit you throughout your career. It’s often a one-time-only expense that will benefit you in any future job hunt, and the skills you pay to learn will only help you be better in your field.