There are many things that candidates worry about during the search process, but money shouldn’t be one of them! When I was a candidate at age 23, I owned exactly one suit so I roomed with someone who was my size so we could share clothes and mix and match accessories.
If sharing clothes is not your thing, here are five other tips for making fiscally sound decisions throughout your job search process.
Before TPE Onsite
- Create a job search “wish list” to share with family. The next time a loved one asks what you want for the holidays or your birthday, you can share with them how they can invest in your job search. Potential items include: a professional bag, padfolio, thank-you cards, a new suit, gift cards for suit tailoring, manicures, a haircut, and an extra cell phone charger/battery. The amazon.com “Wish List” is a great way to put your list online and make it easily accessible to friends and family.
- Take an inventory of your current wardrobe. Some things can be borrowed, some should be tailored, and some may need to be purchased. Thrift stores often have new or gently used professional shoes, ties, and blazers. TJ Maxx and Marshalls offer quality pieces that are less expensive than department stores. Plan for 2 to 3 suits, and some mix-and-match outfits (sweaters, cardigans, dress shirts, pants, etc.). Bring at least two pairs of dress shoes. You will be in business attire and business casual for most of the TPE Onsite experience, so plan accordingly. Bring at least one extra top and bottom—you never know what can happen (clothes can rip, stain, etc.) and you will feel better if you are prepared.
- Pack a survival kit for each day. You may be in back-to-back interviews all day so this list of must-have items will help keep you hydrated, fueled, and prepared for whatever the day may bring. Bringing these items with you from home will be much cheaper than buying them on-site at the convention center or hotel. Pack the following items: water bottle, high protein snacks, Tylenol/Advil, bandaids, clear nail polish (for snags in your nylons/tights), hand sanitizer, gum/mints, travel toothbrush/toothpaste, Tide pen, Kleenex, and Chap Stick. In addition, TPE Onsite staff will have many of these amenities available on the Candidate workroom.
During TPE Onsite
- Determine low-cost ways for travel. Flying: Does your hotel offer a free shuttle to and from the airport? Driving: Look out for an inexpensive lot nearby to park your car. Can you carpool with other candidates from your local area? Lodging: Can you select a hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast and/or Wi-Fi? These costs all add up and with careful planning, you can save hundreds of dollars!
- Maximize every opportunity for free or low-cost food options. Many candidates often pool together their resources to purchase breakfast items in bulk at a local grocery store or order pizza at night. Connect with other candidates in order to minimize your food costs.
As Beyoncé would say: “Help me raise a glass for the college grads; how we’re smart enough to make these millions” (or thousands…for now…)
By utilizing these tips and tricks on financial management you can focus your energy where it should be--preparing for the job search! Good Luck!
Dr. Ann Marie Klotz is the Dean of Campus Life at the New York Institute of Technology. Share with her some of your tips for doing TPE “on the cheap” on Twitter at @annmarieklotz