The TPE Job Search on a Budget

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    Candidate Development
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    TPE Events

It's that time of year for second-year graduate students in Student Affairs programs. The time where the job search seems to be constantly on the brain.

The TPE Onsite event is an incredible opportunity for job-searching graduate students. In preparation for this career placement event, grads will hear more advice about résumés, cover letters, interview skills, and networking than they could ever imagine. All of this information is crucial, but something not as often discussed is financial wellness as it relates to the job search. The costs associated with participating in a career placement event can increase the anxiety of the job search. Fortunately, financial wellness is attainable--no matter how much money you may have. It's all about feeling confident in reaching your goals.

Below are tips for navigating TPE Onsite on a budget:

Book Early

  • TPE Onsite registration. The early bird rate of $89 for a full-time graduate student ends on January 6. The longer you wait, the higher the registration rate increases. Standard registration is $109, and Onsite rate (after February 10) is $129. Note: If you're staying in the city to attend the NASPA Annual Conference, good news—registered TPE Onsite candidates receive a discounted rate on their NAPSA conference registration. In addition, NASPA memberships for grads are even cheaper than for full-time professionals---take advantage!
  • Hotel. You will hear different opinions on where to stay during TPE Onsite. Personally, I found staying at a location closest to the interviews as possible (even at a higher cost) was incredibly worth it. However, you can save money staying a bit farther away. Either way, you’ll want to book your hotel room early (and share a room with a few trusted friends to get the cheapest price). Blocked rooms at participating event hotels tend to book up quickly! For helpful tips for booking your hotel, click here.
  • Flight. Depending on your departure city, a roundtrip airline ticket can put you back hundreds of dollars. Ouch! You’ll want to be aware of your timeline when booking flights. Would driving be more affordable? Calculate how much it would cost to potentially rent a van, split it with fellow graduate students, pay for gas, and park.

Dress For Less

One or more business suits can be a necessity for TPE Onsite and the job search. A nice suit can be pricey. Here are a couple of tips on how to look sharp and “interview ready” without breaking the bank:

  • Shop Now Stores are pushing out their fall clothes to prepare for winter, meaning your fall suits are all now ON SALE. Go into your nearest department store and make a B-line for that sales rack.
  • Don't forget stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls They can have name brand designer suits for a really great deal. And if you find one that doesn't fit perfectly, you can use some of that money you saved to get it tailored.

Relive Your Childhood

PB&J sandwiches are your friend. Lunch options in the convention center can add up.  Enter PB&Js. When I attended TPE Onsite, my roommates and I made a pit stop at a local grocery store to stock up on snacks, bread, peanut butter, and jelly. In the mornings, make yourself a sandwich and pack it for lunch.

Sharing is Caring

Brainstorm items you may purchase that only come in bulk, yet may not need all of.  For example, something you’ll most likely purchase is résumé paper. You won’t need an entire pack, so find someone in your cohort who needs it as well and split the cost.

Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards

In honor of TPE’s 10th anniversary, the funding award creates an opportunity for first-time TPE Onsite candidates, who otherwise are unable to attend the event, help defray expenses associated with participating in the event. Click here for more information and to apply! Applications are due January 9.

7 Dollars a Week 

Starting today, put aside $7 each week leading up to TPE Onsite. That gives you reserve money for any costs that may arise before or during TPE onsite, such as fees for your checked bags.

So, when it comes to job searching, PLEASE stick to your budget and your financial plan. Stop comparing. You got this!!

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