Effort vs. Value:
Spending your Employment Search Funds Wisely

by Greg Faherty, CPRW
Nothing in this life is free, and finding a new job is no exception. There are small costs—telephone calls, printer paper, Internet fees, gas for the car—and there are large costs, such as purchasing a professional resume or working with a career coach.

And then there are the two biggest costs of all: not getting a paycheck, and your time.

Think about what goes into a typical job search. Time spent on the computer, searching for open positions. Time spent preparing a resume or customizing a cover letter. Time spent driving to interviews and preparing for interviews. Time spent researching companies.

Industry experts agree that a person searching for a new job should be sending out at least 20 to 25 resumes per week. Add to that the hours spent in research, and you're probably at anywhere from eight to twenty hours per week spent looking for work. Now multiply that number by your average hourly wage.

Want to save some of that time and money? Think about using one or more of these strategies, so you can devote those extra hours to other aspects of the process—or, better yet, to your family.

1. Use a recruiter. Their services are free, and even though they're not decreasing your workload, they're doubling the amount of work being done, and none of that extra work comes from you.

Benefit:  Double the results with no extra cost.

2. If you intend to post your resume on job boards, consider using a resume firm to do it for you. Yes, there's a fee—the average cost is $100.00—but you'll actually be saving time and money. It takes about an hour to set up an account on a job board such as Monster.com. Most posting services set your resume up on 10 to 15 boards, including some specialized for your field. At $25.00 per hour, you would have spent $250.00 or more of your valuable time on this process.

Benefit:  over $150.00.

3. If you really want to get noticed, you have to get your resume in front of as many eyes as possible. Sure, you could draw up a list of every company in your region, find out who the HR manager is, and then e-mail or fax a resume to them. Of course, it would take you weeks to do this. Instead, why not spend $100.00 or so and use a resume distribution solution? Most resume companies offer these. Your resume is sent to hundreds of companies or recruiters in one quick shot.

Benefit:  easily 40 to 50 hours of your time.

4. Get your resume professionally written. Yes, you could write it yourself and save the $200.00 or so that a really good professional resume package costs, but consider this: the average self-written resume returns about 3-6 interviews for every 100 you send out. A professional resume returns an average of 30 for every 100 sent out—a big difference!

Benefit:  People who use professional resumes usually find a new job two to three months faster than people who use their own. That's two or three extra paychecks.

Now that's savings!

Maximizing your Time

  • Make a list of all the companies and jobs you've applied to, so you avoid duplication of effort.
  • Use more than one recruiter. The more of their services you use, the better the odds one of them will find you a job.
  • Get your family to help. They can clip job ads, look up information on the 'net, and even help you keep your log book. Make it a game with the kids!