How should you budget your career resources?

We’ve compiled a list of some sources of ‘income’ you might have for your career, and where your most likely outgoings will be.  Can you balance the books to best suit your career?


Income Source One – Online Resources & Social Media 


It may not feel like it when faced with unemployment or a job that’s not taking you anywhere, but we’re living in the best time for job-hunting – simply because of the information and resources that are so easily available. The World Wide Web means that official information about companies is at the touch of a button, and that’s just the start… You also have access to news and opinions via blogs, news channels and social media, the option to share relevant stories and to see what others share, the ease of communicating across email, instant messaging, video calls or mobiles, and the opportunity to connect directly with employees of your chosen firm, who would once only have been contactable through Personnel.

Our Bright tip is to focus your activity in key areas and in places that will bring you the best result. For example, Facebook is increasingly being used by employers to connect with potential hires, but isn’t yet a platform where a lot of people feel comfortable connecting with a future employer. Building up your profile on Bright Network and LinkedIn, on the other hand, will enable you to connect with like-minded people who are all there exactly for career-focused reasons. Twitter can be a useful tool – and connecting your feed to your LinkedIn profile will keep it fresh – just make sure you’re tweeting the sort of things you’d be happy for an HR Director to see!


Income Source Two – People You Know (& Those You Just Haven’t Met Yet)


You should look to follow up on your online networking with meeting people face to face because, as good as social media is, it’s no substitute for getting out there and building relationships. And, let’s be honest, it’s quite easy to cross the line between being keen and enthusiastic, and obsessive or just irritating… especially if someone hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting you in person and having a chat.

Our Bright tip here is to keep checking our events pages for interesting evening seminars, presentations and networking evenings – either ones that we’re running or that are being hosted by our partner firms – and attend as many as you can. Whether the shared interest you have with other people there is personal (such as an art gallery viewing or lecture) or professional (such as a networking evening being held for potential applicants by an investment bank at their offices), you never know how the people you meet could help you – either right now or further down the line.


Income Source Three – Drive & Determination 


You honestly can’t put a price on this personal quality, and it’s something that stands out straight away when you talk to people. It also gives an insight into other qualities and skills you have – such as the ability to organise yourself (and, therefore, potentially others too), how you interact with people and build relationships, and how much you get stuck in. While you don’t have to combine starting your own business, training for the London Marathon and being out with your friends every night, being able to get involved in different things is a real career plus point – and that’s true whether you’re on the job hunt or happily employed.

Our Bright tip here is that, while these are personal qualities, it’s definitely not a case of you either have them or you don’t – you just need to show off what you’ve got as much as possible, from joining societies directly related to your career, or just having lots of interesting stories to keep a conversation going with someone you’ve only just met.

So… those are the tools and resources you have at your disposal to give your career some oomph. Unfortunately, there are two sides to every story, so now it’s time to look at the things that can take away from these sources of income…


Outgoing – Time & Energy


This is by far the biggest expenditure any job-hunter has – going through an application is like a full-time job in itself. First there’s the initial application process… if there’s an online form, for each one you’ll probably have to manually list anything you’ve ever turned your hand to (including details of every exam level, subject, grade and year taken) so that you stand out on paper. If it’s a CV and cover letter, you’ll need to re-edit that CV every time – so it’s tailored to your chosen organisation and emphasises your relevant skills and experience – as well as writing a detailed and specific cover letter.  This means research – very thorough research – and that takes time. After that, you might be asked to sit online psychometric tests or go through a few rounds of interviews and assessment centres. All of this can be very draining, and this is where your drive and determination really come into play.

Our Bright tip to minimise this expenditure is to pace yourself, be fully aware of what you’re getting into and do your research in advance as much as possible, so that when you start the application process you are fully on top of things, and not playing catch up. And if you’re not sure what sector would suit you best, rather than just sending out hundreds of applications with the same CV and a copied and pasted cover letter, do some research into different career sectors to see which you think would match your skills. Register for temporary work to gain lots of experience in different environments, and chat to recruiters as well – they’ll be able to analyse the sort of skills employers are looking for and give you advice on how to develop them.

So, there are just some of the resources you have coming into your job search, and the main expenditures you’ll have to make in order to succeed. Our top tip for minimising as much as possible the impact of job hunt outgoings on you is to always think strategically – how can you get the best result for you in the most efficient way?

As with any sort of budgeting, you need to make sure what you’ve got coming in can cover what you’re spending, and we like to help where we can – think of us as your career accountants! You can drop the Bright team a line on hello@brightnetwork.co.uk or 020 7408 7273 with your career questions, and we’ll be in touch.