Without any income coming in, spending money when you’re job hunting can seem like smoking while you jog — it just doesn’t make sense. You want to save, spend little and weather the storm until a juicy paycheck graces your bank account.
But here’s a thought: What if spending a little bit of money can speed up your job hunt so you can get that all-important paycheck sooner? What if you could strategically spend a little bit of money to significantly help your job-hunting efforts and land that dream job you’ve been searching for all your life? (Click here to tweet this thought.)
Time to bring a hammer to that piggy bank! The following tools can help you stand out from the competition, significantly increase your number of interviews and land you that dream job — on a mere $100 budget.
1. Professionally Designed Resume ($4-$8)
Let’s play a game. Take a look at the six resumes below and pick which ones stand out:
Clearly, the resumes on the right are more eye-catching, more aesthetically pleasing and generally more impressive. In 2014, on average, every job posting gets 100+ applications and every corporate job posting gets 250+ applications. You can no longer solely rely on the contents of your resume to make an impression and stand out.
It doesn’t have to be complicated; all you really need is a unique resume template. Head over to graphicriver.net and type in “resume” in the search bar. You’ll be able to purchase great-looking resume templates for as low as $4 and edit them with the contents of your resume. You can also search for the term “resume” at pixeden.com (some templates are free; others you can access with a $6/month premium subscription).
For more resume variations, consider using an infographic resume.
2. Personal Website ($0-$30)
According to Workfolio, 56% of all hiring managers are impressed by a personal website more than any other branding tool. Consider, also, that less than 7% of all job seekers have a personal website. In today’s competitive environment, it’s incredibly important to stand out among the sea of candidates. Having a personal website not only accomplishes that; it’s one of the best job hunting strategies in 2014.
Workfolio reports that 80% of employers search for their candidates online to learn more about them. Before an employer even thinks about calling you for an interview, they’re Googling your name and trying to get more information on you to find out if you’re the right fit. Imagine an employer finding a website promoting you as a stellar business professional:
Does that make you stand out? The answer is yes. Having a personal website is a huge advantage when you’re job hunting.
The good news is that building a website is incredibly simple, as you can use numerous website builders to make a custom website. Here are some of the biggest ones: wix.com, webs.com, weebly.com, jimdo.com, imcreator.com, squarespace.com.
Once you’ve got your website set up, here’s one of my favorite strategies to use it to boost your job hunt:
3. Linkedin Premium Account ($20)
A paid Linkedin account can really accelerate your job hunt, for a price starting at around $20/month:
A paid Linkedin account gives you access to amazing job hunting tools, such as InMail messages, introductions, Who’s Viewed Your Profile, full profiles, premium search, Featured Applicant status, Applicant Insights, salary data, Job Seeker Group membership, webinars and much more.
If you don’t know what all these are, then you’re probably not using Linkedin to its full potential in helping you find a job.
4. TopLinked.com ($10)
This website is a great way to increase your number of Linkedin connections and give your networking a boost.
When you sign up for a $9.95 month-by-month membership account, you’re added to a special list. People visit TopLinked.com and send Linkedin invitations to people on that list when they want to expand their network and meet new people. As a result, with a paid membership, you will get daily invitations from people you’ve never met. When you receive an invitation, examine the person’s profile; check out their industry, past experiences, groups and first-degree connections; and make a decision if this is a person you want in your network. Accept the invitation if you’d like to connect, or simply ignore the invitation if there’s no value in connecting. It’s a simple way to boost your networking efforts.
What I love most about TopLinked is that a lot of headhunters and recruiters use this website to meet new people and add fresh talent to their pipeline of leads. Accept invitations from recruiters, ask them questions and ask if they have any career opportunities that may be a good fit for you.
5. Hire a Graphic Designer ($20-?)
You can buy a unique resume template and use a website builder to make you a personal website, but let’s take this to the next level.
Hire your own freelance graphic designer and get them to fully customize your resume and website. You’ll be able to dictate exactly how your resume will look like and design whatever your heart desires. The same goes for your website.
Two websites that can be great for hiring an affordable freelance graphic designer are Elance and Guru. For $20 or less, you can contact a reputable graphic designer and ask them to take your existing resume and make it aesthetically beautiful. You can also contact freelancers and resume writers to build you a one-of-a-kind resume, but that’ll cost you more money.
6. Job Hunting Software ($0-$10)
If you need help keeping track of the various moving components of your job search, JibberJobber can help. You can download it for free, and it gives you a way to track everything from the companies you apply to to the jobs you apply for and the status of each application, including interview dates and follow-ups.
The free version is probably all you need, but you can pay $9.95 to get some premium features, such as unlimited contacts and email integration.
What other inexpensive tools and resources have helped you in your job search? Share in the comments!