Everyone is familiar with the phrase “you have to spend money to make money,” but usually that hackneyed saying is associated with entrepreneurs looking to build a business. However, job hunters of all kinds must spend some cash to start bringing more home. That’s right: Even before your first paycheck, you will incur costs required to fulfill your employment fantasies.

Fortunately, budgeting for your job hunt isn’t terribly difficult once you know how you need to spend. To ensure you don’t go too far in the red before you are making any green, here is a simple guide to the expected costs of typical job searches.

First, Some Financial Tips

Before you learn just how costly job hunting can be, it might be beneficial to learn some tricks that help mitigate the financial strain. By leading a financially secure lifestyle, you should be able to absorb these costs without much difficulty. Essentially, that means you should perpetually be saving and investing wisely, maintaining a practical budget, practicing smart credit habits, and generally focusing on your financial future. Then, you should have enough padding in your checking accounts to help you afford the following job-search necessities.

Additionally, few job searchers realize that the expenses they incur on the hunt may be tax deductible. Of course, this doesn’t give you cart-blanche to spend excessively while you are applying for jobs; the government imposes a few restrictions simply to ease your financial burden and allow you to find a well-paying, satisfying job.

Printing Costs

Even as our world becomes increasingly digital, it is bad form to show up to an interview with no hard copies of your resume. Paper-and-ink resources remain incredibly valuable for interviewers and interviewees alike; you may submit your application and information on various companies’ websites, but it is smart to have copies of your resume and cover letters ready to go. In the past, many experts advised using high-quality paper and ink, but recent changes to application culture have made it entirely acceptable to submit home-printed pages. Still, you absolutely must be able to rely on your printer in times of need, and excellent printers come at a steep cost: upwards of $300, plus paper and ink.

Another useful paper tool in your job-hunt arsenal is the humble business card. Many people avoid printing cards until they earn a prestigious job title, but having contact information on a compact card could help you find a job faster and easier. You can get hundreds of business cards — likely more than you’ll need — for under $10, making these a worthwhile expense.

Shopping Price Tags

More likely than not, your closet is close to bursting with your favorite fashions: cozy T-shirts and stretchy pants, attractive activewear, and all manner of flashy, cute, and classy clothing. However, how much of your wardrobe would you feel comfortable wearing to a decent job?

Business attire is some of the most expensive clothing you can buy due to the traditional lines and quality fabrics. Suits must be tailored, especially for women, who come in many more shapes and sizes than men. Fortunately, you can spare major expense as long as you cleverly purchase colors and textures that mix and match. Here are the essential items your business wardrobe absolutely needs:

  • Dress pants
  • Pencil skirt
  • Blazer
  • White shirts
  • Black heels

Once you secure a job and better understand its office culture, you might start expanding with more flavorful blouses, dresses, and accessories.

Travel Expenses

Some job searches are so widespread that they necessitate trips around the country — or around the world. You likely already know that travel can become expensive quickly; the current cost of round-trip flights and nightly accommodations makes even pleasure trips difficult to afford. Depending on how far and how frequently you venture out for a prospective job, you could spend upwards of $1,500 on gas, tickets, lodgings, and other travel necessities. Some companies will compensate you for your travel trouble — but you definitely should not expect such treatment before you cash out.

Professional Fees

When your cover letters go unanswered for long stretches, you might be tempted to approach professional hiring agencies for help during your search. With services such as resume refinement, career coaching, and job placement, such professionals certainly aren’t cheap. Depending on your level of experience, you could pay between $1,500 and $10,000 for the luxury of avoiding the direct stress of the job hunt. For most job seekers, this final category is usually a supremely financially taxing last resort.

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