When I got laid off I had a hefty amount of money in my savings: $1,000. I was actually pretty proud to have accumulated that much money, considering we were living paycheck-to-paycheck, and we had recently moved to a more expensive city.
Just a few days later, both cars were at the mechanic, which cost… $1,000.
There went our entire savings. It’s amazing how fast $1,000 can go.
I’ve been thinking about how much money I would want to conduct a job search. I’m not talking about how much money I need to live – mortgage or rent, food, utilities, car payment(s), etc… I’m talking about the amount of money I would want to get my job done right. Here’s what I’ve come up with – this is kind of a “would be really, really nice to have” job search budget:
Formal network meetings: $100/month. Many professionals-in-transition are free or less than $5, but many networking opps for employed professionals can be $25+. These are places where many job seekers don’t go, but decisions makers do. Good place for you to go, right? For the record, my personal must-go-to event, if I’m in town, is $40/meeting.
Get my resume professionally done: $500. This can be all over the board, with new resume writers doing it for less than $100, and more experienced writers going through a more thorough process for over $1,000. I’ll go middle-of-the-road on price because I know a lot of my resume writing partners are around this figure.
Job search coaching: $1,000/month. I’m not sure what the price would really be on this, but I want to budget high so that if the job search goes on a long time I won’t have to cut this expense. I may be way too high here.
Career counseling: $0 – I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted, so the “what do you want to be when you grow up” counseling wouldn’t have been helpful to me. Maybe my job search coach would add a session or two, or refer me to a book, but I didn’t feel it was necessary. Some of my partners specialize in career counseling, and I know it’s valuable for many people. Oh, if nothing else go take the Myers-Briggs test for free to see how quirky you are
Full-time job search Virtual Assistant: $300 – $400 a month for 6 months. There are many options here. Let me recommend you listen to the free 90 minute teleseminar you can find at Replace Myself .com. I recently hired a VA who used to do job search admin work for clients. It’s not uncommon, and you can have them do all the tedious, time-intensive things (apply to job boards, look for new opps, find blogs to comment on, search for contacts you should develop relationships with, etc.) you can’t do since you are doing a lot of face-to-face networking!
Job search tracking software: $99 – $250. When I started my job search I might have spent a few hundred bucks for ACT! (a couple hundred dollars online, plus $40 for the book so you can figure out how to use it, plus you better get some backup software on your computer!) or something like that. Now, there is only one option I consider viable, and that is (drum roll) the premium level of JibberJobber :p You can do it month-by-month, at $9.95 a month, or just bite the bullet and get 12 months of premium for $99.
Travel for intown interviews: $40/month. I figure I’ll use about one tank of gas each month for networking, interviews, etc.
Travel for out-of-town interviews: $1,500. When the search gets long, moving becomes quite viable. I don’t expect to do much out-of-town interviews, but if I had to it sure would be nice to have a fund just for that – airfare, car rental, hotel, food, etc. This should cover at least three trips, and could include information interviews or just a week of going to local networking opportunities.
Interview clothes: $500. I didn’t have any nice clothes since I had spent years in a “business casual” environment. One of the reasons I was so qualified to write the popular Dress for Failure post a while back I would spend about $100 on new shoes, a few hundred on a suit, and the rest on shirts, belt, socks, etc.
Realize two things:
- You don’t have to have all of this money for your job search. I had none – after I had to fix my cars. Of course, there is another discussion to be had about your monthly living expenses, which is not included here.
- I am probably missing stuff… or some of this stuff wouldn’t apply to you. But it’s what I’d want to be ready for, if I were to start a serious job search again.
Total cost for 6 months: $11,800
Total cost for 12 months: $20,020
High, isn’t it? The biggest cost is the job search coaching, which I might be way too high on. But consider this. If you make $5,000 a month, and are out of work for six months, it costs you $30,000 to be out of work. And $60,000 to be out of work for a year.
Not that that’s the only consideration in these expenses, but it certainly helps put it into perspective.
What do you think?