Managing Your Personal Finances While Job Searching

Guest PostsJob Search

Last year has shown us that we need to be prepared for everything, especially when looking for a new job even if you just found one, or received a promotion, because no one is secure from businesses closing during an economic decline. Sometimes, however, the reason for the job search is more positive, because you don’t want “a job”, you are looking for “the job”, a special place to reveal your potential and have the opportunity to work with industry leaders.

Regardless of the reason, along with updating your resume, you will need to think about finance management during your search, because no one canceled the rent bills or food expenses.

Assess your Current Financial Situation

First things first, know where you are now. Gather all the information about your financial situation to better plan your life while you are in the search. How much savings do you have? Do you have any debts or other obligations?  What valuable assets can you sell or lend to gain profit and live while there’s no active income? Check all the bank account details, including deposits and statement reviews to see how long you can live on the current amount you have, and what is the backup plan like moving back with parents, sharing the rent with friends, or selling some of your possessions if things are not going well with the job search.

Calculate your Budget

Check your utility bills and find out how much you spend on the rent, groceries, and other essentials per month. This information will help you to properly plan your budget and estimate how much you need to cover your living costs. This is required to realistically plan your expenses and stick to it after.  Don’t forget to include some extra for birthdays and an emergency fund, for cases like health issues or unplanned appliance repairs.

Think about Freelance Opportunities

Sometimes it may happen that your savings are not enough to make it through the search. For such cases, temporary engagement in freelance may be the option. There are a lot of freelance platforms, like Upwork or Fiverr where you can find a part-time job or a one-time gig.  Note though, that if you are engaged in regular freelance for additional income, it’s subject to taxes that may vary depending on the country, so you will need to figure out how to properly handle freelance taxes in order to avoid trouble.

Limit your Expenses

You will need to temporarily forget about some pleasant things like coffee to go every morning, nights out, and another digital subscription for fun, be more attentive to coupons, sales, and freebies, and last but not least, start to log the expenses. Luckily, now we have all means for doing so starting from web and mobile applications to any taste to monitor your spending and know if you are moving in accordance to your budget plan. This won’t last forever, but you need to embrace new circumstances.

Following these simple yet effective tips will help you to stay on top of your financial situation. The process of searching for a job sometimes is more time-consuming than you expect and poses a lot of limitations on your budget. That’s why it’s better to get prepared and start learning the basics of finance management even when you have a regular income. It may save you in times of uncertainty and give you more flexibility when you will be searching for better opportunities in the job market.

Ken Boyd
Accounting & Finance Expert; Content Manager at AIS-CPA

How to Deal with a Gap in Your Work History

Resume Writing

depressed man
It is rare to complete a career and retire without one or two work history gaps along the way. Illness, family obligations and unemployment can all take their toll on a career. While some employers may see these gaps as a natural part of a career progression, others may look at your resume and question why you weren’t working.  No worries-there are many ways you can easily handle addressing gaps in employment in your career and on your resume.
One way to ensure continuity in your career while dealing with a work history gap is to freelance. You may be able to work on projects at home while caring for a sick loved one. One example of how to list this on your resume:

Freelance Pharmaceutical Project Manager — XYZ City, Maine 1992-1994
Provided project management for the following companies: ABC, DEF, and GHI.

Another way to fill the gap between jobs is to volunteer. When you volunteer, you are still continuing to use skill sets you already have while also learning some new ones. List your work history first on your resume, then prominently list volunteer experience below that. You can make this volunteer experience stand out even more by placing it in a section called Related Volunteer Experience, which can be separate from previous volunteer experiences.
A functional resume will also help you to minimize work history gaps. Creating a functional resume reorganizes your career information into a skills summary, or list of keywords that describe your skills sets. A Professional Experience section divided into a few main areas of expertise will emphasize your experience while a reverse chronological Work History section merely lists your employers, the cities in which they are located and dates of employment. Emphasis is placed on your skill sets and experience instead of dates of employment.
You could still choose to use the common chronological resume format for your resume, and just list why you were out of work for a certain period. Many people do this when taking care of a very sick loved one. However, many people are not comfortable giving out such personal information on their resume. If this is your situation, simply build your resume with the work information you have, and be prepared to discuss gaps in employment during your interview.

Contract and Freelance Resumes – How to Highlight Your Employment History

Executive ResumesJob SearchNetworkingProfessional ResumesResume KeywordsResume Writing

confused man
If you have worked full-time for only one employer at a time, the Employment History section of your resume is going to be pretty standard. You list the names and locations of the companies you’ve worked for, your job titles,  and a description of your duties. It is pretty straightforward to write and easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to see your career progress.
However, writing your employment history when you’ve been contracting and freelancing is a bit different from full-time, permanent employment and can be tricky. If you are a contractor through an employment agency, while you may work at Company X, you are actually an employee of that employment agency. Some contracts specify that you cannot list Company X on your resume, which means you must list the employment agency and a description of your duties that also describes the company. So, for example, if Company X is a software design company, you may list one of your duties as software testing for a software design firm without specifying Company X. Other contracts may allow you to list “Company X contract through ABC Employment agency.”
Freelancers often compile the Employment History section of their resumes by listing a title such as “Freelance Website Designer”, the dates during which they have been freelancing, and something along the lines of: “Client list includes: Companies A, B, and C. However, you must be careful. If your freelance agreement specifies that you cannot list an individual company for which you have done web design, then don’t do it. Also, do not misrepresent your work and state on your resume in separate entries that you worked at each company as a web designer. Listing the companies this way can be construed as you were a full-time employee when you really were a freelancer. You must make it clear that it was freelance work and not ongoing work.
Before you start writing, know what your contract and freelance agreements allow/do not allow you to publicize on your resume. If you’re really struggling with the format and word choice, consult with a professional resume writer who is skilled in creating resumes for contract/freelance clients.