If you have lost your job, perhaps you are pinching pennies to save money for rent, your mortgage, a car payment or to put food on the table. The thought of spending money is something everyone is telling you not to do.

Assortment of American CoinsWhenever anyone approaches you about spending money on your job hunt activities – let’s say a networking event, upgrading your skills, training to look for a job, or information on how to place yourself better – you shy away…thinking about the trade-offs of what you will have to do without.

Instead of thinking about what you can’t do – spend money – think about how something will help you get employed faster. I am not suggesting that you go crazy and ignore your budget, however, there are some activities that will benefit you in the short and long run.

For example, a networking group that you would like to join has a meeting cost. Consider the following:

  • Will you get to meet people who you normally would not network with? Perhaps someone in the group has a contact in your targeted companies and can make an introduction. If you are not there, they will never know of your need.
  • Does the meeting offer some other value – such as a speaker that shares their insights on how to network, how to use LinkedIn in your job search or how to handle interviews? It is important to hone your skills in these areas.

Here’s a list of questions that may help you decide if spending some money on your job search is more important than not spending money.

  • Are there some specific issues you are facing where you needhelp? Some of these are areas where making a personal investment in your career will pay off:
    • Fill out job applications to get noticed
    • Create a better resume to communicate what you can do
    • Interview without being nervous
    • Learn how to use LinkedIn or other social media
    • Do a better job of selecting the right company to work for
    • Changing careers
    • Updating your technical or personal skills
  • Networking with the right people will give you access to a broader group of people who in turn may know about jobs you qualify for. Many networking groups have e-mail lists where job leads are shared daily.
  • Visit your local unemployment office and ask them about retraining dollars that may be available to you to boost your skills in a hot job market.

Sometimes you have to make a personal investment in yourself  to get a job faster. Do the math; think about how long you have been out of work and consider if you had more help or presented yourself more confidently, would you have gotten a job sooner. Most likely the answer is YES. You would be further ahead financially by ensuring you place yourself in the best possible light to land that job more quickly.