Work life balance can be tricky to find when you have no work. And when there's no work, there's no money to buy spiffy suits or travel to another city to find a job. The cycle gets frustrating. But here comes AOLjobs.com with an article about five free (or almost free) ways to help your job hunt. Some are so ingenious I just had to share the list.
1. A cup of coffee: Depending on where you live, coffee can run 50 cents to three dollars. But where you get this cup of coffee is key. Doing homework on a company you'd like to work for is essential. But to get some inside information, you can hit the nearest coffee place near the company. These days, many companies don't serve free coffee anymore. Employees stop at delis, Starbucks, McDonalds, or Saxbys on their way to work. Sometimes they chat on line about the business, goings on, or even just gossip. You can gain some great knowledge just by keeping your ears open. (This works even better during lunch, but like we said, lunch is rarely free!)
2. Business Cards: Business cards are still an important networking tool for face-to-face interactions. You might want to make a couple different ones if you are looking at different industries or want to send different messages: one more formal, one more casual. At Vistaprint.com, 123print.com you'll pay less than $10 for 250 cards.
3. Haircuts: Many salons will have "Student Nights" where newer stylists will fashion hair for free in exchange for the practice. Students are watched by experienced stylists, so you rarely have to worry. Cost? Just the tip, which is at your discretion, but figure around $10. BumbleandBumblesalons call it the "Model Project." Cosmetology schools offer free haircuts too. But with that opportunity, if you have a complicated haircut, you might want to leave it to a graduate. (Cindy's note: Aveda has a school in South Florida and offers rock bottom prices on haircuts and manicures)
4. Free Networking: Organizations like NetParty.com arrange events that are FREE to attend. The company has chapters in 23 cities nationwide. The catch--make sure to RSVP or you will have to pay a cover charge at the door. Different cities have their own websites with events, such asAtlantaEvents.com. Lectures are your friend--there is usually a discussion or mingling opportunity afterward, a perfect opportunity to meet people. And no, there's no free lunch here, but you might find a free hors d'oeuvres or two. (Cindy's note: check out SocialMiami.com for a listing of free local networking events)
5. A college library at your fingertips. If you are researching industries, companies, and places to relocate, of course any search engine will return thousands of sites. But the Internet Public Library filters subjects for you to use your time more wisely. Information is well organized on a very user friendly site. In fact, you can ask an actual librarian questions to help you find what you seek. Another bonus--periodicals all available free through the site. Nine colleges and universities pool their resources to keep it current. (Cindy's note: the main libraries in most counties make computers available to the public with free Internet access seven days a week)
If you have any more suggestions, please share them with your fellow job hunters.