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Six ways to save on job-search expenses

Yes, it does cost money to find a job, but it doesn’t have to deplete your savings. Here are tips on how to keep your job-hunting expenses to a minimum:

1. Go to the library

If your financial situation is especially dire, cancel your Internet service and use it for free on a library computer. While this may be slightly inconvenient, it can easily save you $50 a month. This could equal a week’s worth of groceries or even more if you extreme-coupon. Or, search for free Wi-Fi hotspots in your area.

2. Have friends review your resume

It’s not cheap to have your resume and cover letter written or critiqued by a professional. In fact, top professionals charge up to $2,000.

While you may not have friends or family members who are professional resume writers or reviewers, consider anyone who is a recruiter, works in human resources, has a technical writing background or has recently been on the job hunt. These individuals should have some great tips. You can also ask your friends and family to conduct a mock interview so you can practice responding to some basic questions.

3. Find a free recruiter

Companies often hire professional recruiters to find candidates for open positions. If a recruiter refers the candidate who gets hired, the recruiter gets paid by the company a percentage of the new employee’s salary. There are also recruiters who are paid by the job seeker, but to keep the costs of your job hunt low, skip on these for now. To best use a free recruiter, find one who specializes in your industry.

4. Compact your job search

The more time and effort you put into your search, the better your chances of finding a new job sooner. You can do this in two ways. First, don’t take a break. Many job hunters stop their search in December because they believe everyone is on holiday. Not true. Companies are still at work, and many hire if they have leftover money in their budget for the year.

Secondly, be diligent with your search by making it your job to get a job. Wake up early, get dressed, have breakfast and work until lunch. Get back at it in the afternoon, and do some networking in the evening.

5. Deduct expenses from your taxes

There are tax deductions for job search-related expenses you can take advantage of, even if you don’t find a job in that calendar year. Expenses that can be deducted include:

  • Employment agency fees
  • Transportation to interviews, including airfare, hotels and out-of-town meals
  • Stamps and paper for mailing applications and resumes
  • Telephone expenses
  • Pre-employment physicals
  • Resume preparation
  • Note that you cannot use these deductions if you are looking for your first job, switching career fields or going back to work after a long break. Also, you can only deduct travel expenses if your main reason for travel was job-search-related. Save your receipts.

6. Maximize local networking events

Often, these events are free and packed with businesspeople. If you are a college graduate, contact your alumni association to find out if there’s a local chapter you can join.

Also consider groups within your industry or college major, and do some networking online if the groups are small in your area.