5 Investments You Should Make During Your Job Search

As the saying goes, you have to earn money to make money – and that is never more true than during a job search. In fact, in a study conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Association, approximately 59 percent of hiring managers suggest spending as much time and money on personal image as on perfecting a resume. Making the right investments while searching for a job can help you create a professional appearance. Hear less, “We’ll call you when we’ve made our decision” and more “Congratulations! You got the job.”

If you can spare the money, consider giving your job search a boost by setting aside a portion of your finances for the following five items:

1. Educational Courses

Investing in your education is one of the best ways to make yourself more marketable. If you don’t already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, consider making this a goal. Even if you do have a degree, taking the time to improve your current skills by attending online courses will give you a boost in this competitive job market. If you’re in a broad industry like business or marketing, you can complete certificate programs in niche subjects like strategic management or digital marketing to stand out from others in the same field. On a budget? Fear not! These, days, there are plenty of free online courses available.

2. Personal Career Coach

Advancing your career doesn’t have to be a one man job. Forbes suggests investing in a career coach to increase your commitment level, improve your direction and help you hold yourself accountable. While the cost may seem a bit steep, research shows you’ll get a great return on investment. According to a study conducted by the Manchester Consulting Group, the ROI on a career coach is six times the cost of a coach. Additionally, after employees received coaching, researchers found there was a 77 percent improvement in working relationships, 53 percent increase in productivity and 48 percent increase in quality. These results show a career coach can do more than help you find a job, s/he can also turn you into a better employee.

3. Reliable Transportation

If you were offered a job tomorrow, would you have a reliable mode of transportation? Unless you live in a city with a great public transportation system, it might be time to start thinking about investing in a car. Being able to get to and from work every day is something your future employer will expect from you. Being unemployed makes it difficult to buy a car. Fortunately, programs like the Cancel Anytime Lease from DriveTime can keep your up front cost low through affordable payments. Investing in a vehicle will help you find and keep a job.

4. Professional Appearance

Spending money on your professional image doesn’t have to mean wearing expensive designer clothing.Professional attire that fits well, is up to date and makes you feel great is an investment in itself, regardless of brand name. Looking good will help you feel more powerful and confident, two things you’ll need when sitting in the hot seat during an interview. Other ways to invest in your personal appearance include scheduling regular haircuts and striving to maintain healthy habits. If you’re strapped for cash, fear not – most beauty schools offer low-cost treatments. Additionally, you may want to spend some time perusing the “free” section of Craigslist. Many times, salons need ‘models’ to do live demonstrations on – which translates into free services for the model.

5. Online Presence

Having an online presence is essential to a successful job search. If you already have a professional social media account but find yourself needing more exposure, think about investing in your own website. A personal website requires a domain name and a Web host, both of which vary widely in cost. A domain name can be anywhere between $2 to $30 per year and an inexpensive Web host subscription is typically $8 to $15 per month, notes High Existence. If you’d rather invest in your existing online accounts you can upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account, which puts you at the top of searches and labels you a Featured Applicant, lets you see how you measure up to other applicants and sends your messages directly to recruiters.

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