How to Find Free or Low-Cost Job Search Help

Copyright Getty Images Jeremy Maude

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.

How to Find Free or Low-Cost Job Search Help

There may be a wealth of other local and Internet resources that you have not yet tapped, including career counselors in private practice.

These tips, from 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, like mine, 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 our 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 colleague's career services office).

But be prepared to hear that your access will be limited to non-password-protected job listings (no counselor contact).

Find Free Job Search Help

Here are some other ideas that are helpful to all job seekers, whether they've graduated from college or not.

Check with your local public library to see what they have in their career research and job search collections. Ask if they offer job search workshops or run a job search club.

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. For more in-depth information on this idea, refer to the previously published article, Departments of Labor: Job Referrals, Training and Other Employment Services

Locate 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.

Before doing so, be sure to consult the National Career Development Association's (NCDA) Consumer Guideline for Selecting a Career Counselor. It provides an excellent overview of the roles of a career counselor, training and credentials information, what you should expect and demand as a client, ethical practices, and more.

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