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Financial Firsts: Find Your First Job Without Going Broke

Write a resume. Write cover letters. Create a list of your accomplishments. Create a LinkedIn profile. Buy a suit. Practice answering interview questions. These are just a few of the pieces of advice you’ll hear when you embark on your first job search. It’s a lot to think about.

And that isn’t all you have to consider: if you’re not careful, the costs of your job search can add up quickly. It can take a few weeks to a few months to find a job, so it’s smart to save as much as you can. Besides, not having to worry about job search-related expenses will free you up to focus on the important stuff, like crafting the perfect answers to the most common interview questions.

Here are 4 ways to find your first job without going broke:


Don’t rush to the nearest job consultant quite yet. Save money by leveraging the best free career services, job listings, and networking opportunities. These can all help you land a job without draining your bank account:

    • Your university’s career services center – You forked over a lot of cash for that degree – why not take advantage of a few freebies? Most universities offer career counseling, employment fairs, and job boards for current students and alumni. Check the BYU job board or visit the University of Utah’s online career services center, which includes resume writing, interview, and negotiation tips, as well as access to four job boards.
    • Online job listings – There are countless free employment websites available to you, the most popular of which showcase thousands of newly available jobs each day. Before you start paying a consultant to help you find a job, try your hand at LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor or other similar sites. KSL also features thousands of local jobs, as does the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
      To narrow down your search, try browsing industry-specific employment websites. For example, SalesGravy is a hub for sales pros, while IT and tech pros search for jobs on Dice or Github. Planning a career in media? Try MediaBistro.
    • Free networking events – If you don’t have a Meetup account, now is the time to join. You’ll find event listings for everything from knitting clubs to environmental coalitions on Meetup, but the site is particularly popular with professional networking groups. While some groups do charge a nominal fee if you join them, many offer free first visits for newcomers. Find some business meetups that sound promising, then show up and be prepared to shake hands.


Job seekers tend to collect at cafés and coffee shops because they offer free wi-fi, but your visit won’t be as free as you think it is. The average coffee drink costs $3.28, and the average smoothie or cold-pressed juice is similarly priced. If you order two or three drinks while you apply for jobs online, you’ll be spending $7-10. Add a pastry or sandwich to that and your costs can easily jump to $15 a day.

Save the cash and make yourself a smoothie and a sandwich at home instead. If there are too many distractions at home or you find yourself switching off the laptop to binge-watch another Netflix show, head to the public library. You’ll get all the perks of using free wi-fi without the overpriced snacks, and it will much quieter than the café on the corner.


Yes, you need a nice interview outfit and a haircut. No, you do not need to spend a small fortune on your appearance.
Your future employers will be checking to make sure you look polished and professional, not whether those new loafers are designer – so be modest with your purchases and buy just what you need. Save the more costly clothing and shoe purchases for after you’ve landed a job and put away some extra spending money.The same goes for haircuts. If you need a trim, don’t go to a fancy salon. Instead, opt for one of the many cosmetology schools in Salt Lake City or Provo, which often offer discounted prices on haircuts given by senior students of their programs. You’ll leave feeling like a million bucks but you won’t have to spend nearly that much.


You’ve finally started getting calls back for potential dream jobs – cool. Now be smart about choosing a day and time by scheduling interviews with a little geographic strategy. Grouping interviews together by location not only saves you the hassle of trekking back and forth across town, it also saves you gas. If you want to save even more money, opt for traveling via UTA and leave your car at home.

Scheduling your interviews in blocks can have another perk too. If you’re feeling a little nervous about that first interview of the day, you’ll be as cool as a cucumber by the time your second interview rolls around. The easiest way to get over those interview nerves is to practice until you’re comfortable with the process.

A job search can sometimes be stressful but it doesn’t have to be financially strenuous. Be conservative with your expenses and invest what you really need to get the job: diligence, charm, and a winning resume.

Want to kick off your career with a solid financial foundation? Utah First can help you with all your financial firsts, including setting up a retirement or savings account. It’s never too early to plan the future you want. Get started online with just a few clicks, or call us at 800-234-0729.

Oh, and Utah First may have the job you’ve been looking for. If you want to join our team, check out our list of job openings.

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