When your job search isn't going as well as you expected, it can make good sense to get help with it. A professional career counselor or coach can help you expedite your job search and focus on the best resources to help you get hired fast. But, if money is an issue, you can also find free or low-cost job search help.
How to Find Free or Low-Cost Job Search Help
There may be a wealth of local and Internet resources that you have not yet tapped, including career counselors in private practice. These tips, from a professional college career counselor, Donna Marino, are designed to help college graduates and other job seekers identify free, or inexpensive, resources in their geographic areas.
Contact Career Services
If you are a college graduate, be sure to contact the career services office at your own alma mater(s). Many institutions offer lifetime career development services for alumni. Others offer limited services; still, others offer services at extremely reasonable rates. And much of what is offered may be available long-distance.
One of the most important services to request will be access to your alma mater's version of a Career Advisor Network (alumni who have volunteered to speak with you, respond to your career-related questions, and advise you on your job search).
You may be able to request telephone appointments with the career development professionals at your alma mater(s) for services such as resume reviews and advising sessions on job search strategies or interviewing techniques.
You'll also want to get any required passwords for access to your alma mater's online job listing databases. And it never hurts to ask if your alma mater(s) have existing reciprocity agreements with institutions in your geographic area (allowing you to access the services of the local college's career services office). But be prepared to hear that your access may be limited to non-password-protected job listings (no counselor contact).
How to Get Job Search Help at the Library
In addition to providing job search and career-related books, public libraries offer many other resources for job seekers. Libraries are a good resource for unemployed workers and job changers, especially for those who can use hands-on help.
To find out how your library can help, visit the library's website. You'll find information on library resources, programs, classes, tools, and events that can help you with your job search.
Computer Training Classes
Many public libraries offer free computer training courses including classes on how to use your computer and software programs, basic computer and laptop skills, using eReaders and iPads, setting up and using email, using Google, blogging, file storage, internet safety, and other computer and internet classes.
Even though these classes aren't specifically focused on job searching, they will help you learn how to use your computer and the internet effectively and efficiently.
Computers and Wi-Fi
When you don't have access to a computer or wi-fi, most libraries have computers available for patrons to use. You may be able to reserve time to use the computer or they may be available on a first-come, first served basis.
You can use library computers to check and send an email (get a free Gmail or Yahoo email account), write resumes and letters, and apply for jobs (save a copy of your resume and cover letters online using Google Docs).
University and library printers are available, so you can print copies of your resume, cover letters, and references. Libraries also offer free wi-fi that you can connect to with your laptop or tablet.
Job Search Workshops
Job search workshops provide hands-on assistance with your job search and may include advice on online job searching, resume and cover letter writing, how to apply for jobs, and how to network.
Job clubs are designed to provide job seekers with job search help, support, and advice. Check to see if your library offers a formal job club moderated by a career expert or meeting space for an informal job club you can join.
Career Transitions is an online job search and career exploration tool that job seekers can access for free through local public libraries. To find out if your library provides access to the site call the library or your local library's website to see if they have purchased Career Transitions.
English Language Classes
When English isn't your first language, it can make your job search even more of a challenge. Your library can help with ESL classes, workshops, and practice sessions.
Job searching can be really stressful and you may be able to find some stress relief at the library. Some libraries offer meditation workshops, yoga classes, and other health and fitness classes.
Free Rides to Job Interviews
Find More Free Job Search Help
Here are some other ideas that are helpful to all job seekers:
Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to ask about career/job fairs that may be planned for the near future.
Tap resources and services available through your state Department of Labor office. You will find both online resources as well as in-person options.
Consider Hiring a Career Counselor
Finally, if you want actual career counseling (rather than just job search advice and resources) and live at too great a distance to make the often-mandatory in-person sessions with career counselors from your alma mater(s) feasible, you may want to engage the services of a private career counselor in your local area.