How Much is “Free” Costing You?

How Much is “Free” Costing You?

The teenage son of a friend recently shared with us that he had found a way to watch movies on the internet for “free.” He explained that the only downside was that the quality of the picture was not very good. Oh, and the audio was hard to hear. Oh, and many of the movies cut out at 90 minutes, so you didn’t get to see the ending. But it was “free!”  Of course the adults had a good laugh at this and wondered, “Is free really worth it when renting movies doesn’t cost much?”

It’s the same with job search. Certainly you can organize your job search for free, and pick through all the advice on the internet for free. You can invest your time in wondering what to do next, and in surfing the web for tips and leads.  But is it really worth it when you can find high quality job search help at a pretty reasonable price?

Anyone who has been out of work knows unemployment costs. Unemployment insurance is often not enough to make ends meet. Borrowing from retirement funds or other sources brings costly penalties. COBRA health insurance can be very expensive. Every month spent looking for work rather than earning a salary costs the job seeker big bucks.  Any help that gets you back to work even a few weeks sooner represents an incredible savings when you take a complete inventory of the hidden costs and opportunity costs of being out of work.

We’ve all heard that time is money. Nowhere is this truer than in job search. Time off of work equals money not earned. Time spent on combing through the results you get from Googling “resume samples” or “interview questions” is time not networking. Time spent trying to self-teach job search is time not acting on a cohesive strategy and making progress.  If the goal is to get back to work quickly, the most cost effective way to do it is to invest in the a plan that allows you to conduct an efficient and effective job search to accelerate results. Time spent on anything else is wasted.

There is also the emotional cost of being out of work. Psychologists say it’s one of life’s most stressful events and can bring with it health problems, relationship issues and psychological trauma. With that in mind, the hidden cost of struggling with a job search that is not working, instead of seeking help should not be ignored.

Lastly, there’s the danger of slipping into long term unemployment, which, for some, is quite difficult to break out of. Long-term unemployment, rare before this recession, has become increasingly common.  You probably heard of the term “99ers”, coined in 2009, referring to those who have exhausted 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.  Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the United States Department of Labor announced a change in their data collection on unemployment duration.  Starting in January 2011, the data reflects the actual unemployment duration when survey respondent’s answer is longer than 2 years.  Previously, all unemployment duration data was capped at 2 years. The reason given for this change was because “There was an unprecedented rise in the number of persons with very long durations of unemployment during the recent labor market downturn. Nearly 11 percent of unemployed persons had been looking for work for about 2 years or more in the fourth quarter of 2010.” An investment in a cost-effective solution that can prevent months, even years of unemployment, would be a very wise decision.

It certainly is possible to job search without spending a penny. But just like with a free movie, the quality might not be very good and it might cut out before the happy ending.  Consider using a program like Jobfully that is designed to help you develop a strategic approach and best utilize all job search resources that are available to you.  It will save you huge amounts of money and emotional distress in the long run.

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