Job Search Tips: How Much Time and Money Should You Put into It?

 In Job Search Tips

Recent US research suggests that an online job posting receives on average 250 applications, and the job search duration can range between 4 to 8 months. Job search and preparation are certainly a time and financial investment. How can you plan this investment to make sure you become as effective as possible, buy quality services, plan for success, and streamline the time you spend?

Treat your career documents and strategies as assets that require some investment (time and/or money) to start working for you. Consider writing down all the free and paid resources you would need for an effective career development project. You can then prioritize which of them to buy or engage in first and track your progress as you assess their value after 3-12 months.

When you lay them out as components of your strategy and allocate the funds with purpose, you will be motivated to use every resource to the best of your ability, assess ROI, make necessary changes to your strategy, and use your time in a targeted way to get the results you want.

Here’s an example of career resources an average professional with 10+ years of experience would need (with approximate costs to illustrate):

1.      Conferences ($350-$650 conference fee plus travel and accommodation).

2.      Memberships in professional associations ($150-$450 per organization).

3.      Professional resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and/or bio writing ($495-$795+).

4.      Interview coaching ($200+/hour).

5.      Career direction/transition coaching ($200+/hour).

6.      Lunch/dinner/coffee during informational interviews (30-60 minutes, $25-$50).

7.      Career/job search resources (books and e-books, $15-$45, 10-20 hours).

8.      Networking events (3-5 hours per month).

9.      Portfolio development (10-20 hours).

10.    Online applications (company research, customizing resume, sending and tracking emails, 10-15 hours/week).

11.   Online networking (2-5 hours/week).

Once you have a similar list of services and action items, you can assess your weak points and decide which list item you need to start with. You can spread the strategy over 3-4 months, planning each stage and setting goals for yourself. This approach gives you a more complete picture of your career development needs and provides for accountability.

Make it a point to complete each point in a given amount of time, make notes on your strengths and lessons learned, and create a list of action items to complete using your new documents, resources, or knowledge.

When researching memberships and services, assess professional organizations and professional resume writers for potential value. Be selective about the companies you target and research, choosing the ones that fit your vision based on your values, growth opportunities, and the desired corporate culture.

Hone your portfolio and career documents to your satisfaction, knowing how to quickly update them in the future. Keep track of your relationships and networking activity to continue insightful conversations. Keep notes of all your applications to draw conclusions and modify your searches.

The more strategic and mindful you are in your process, the easier it becomes to juggle all the components of the job search and career development process, resulting in lower stress and higher satisfaction.


Based on this article, what would be your top 3 action items to start with this week?


About the author:

Tanya Mykhaylychenko is a professional resume writer with a background in content writing, university teaching, and IT staffing. She is a member of Editors Canada and Career Professionals of Canada. For more information, please visit and contact her to schedule a free introductory consultation.


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