Transcript #11: What to invest in when you are job hunting: Options for 3 different budgets.

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Hello everyone and welcome. I’m Renata Bernarde and this is the Job Hunting Podcast, where I give you tips, advice and interview experts to help you nail your next job and have the career you want.


This podcast is going live on Boxing Day, which in Australia and in many countries around the world, is a good day to go shopping if you don’t mind the crowds, you like a bargain, or if you are like me: that is, you have been planning ahead and making a list of things you need and waiting for the sales to begin. This year I’m on the lookout for a web camera, a better mic, A laptop sleeve bag, as my son gave me a new laptop and it’s too big for my old one, and some wine glasses. I also like to buy pillows at this time of the year, so will be heading to the shops and online for sure!


I thought it would be an appropriate time to check if there are any sales you can leverage from to purchase items or services to invest in your career in 2020, especially if you are job hunting. So, in this podcast we are going to look at 3 budgets, from super low to maxed out, and I’ll let you know what I would recommend you can invest in.


Before we begin let me just say that


If this type of content is for you, don’t forget to follow The Job Hunting Podcast. And if you are in the thick of it and need extra support and an accountability, please subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook or Instagram where I post regularly. I’m happy to ensure you keep motivated and energized as you pursue your career goals. You can find all these links back to me in the episode show notes.


Now if you have been loving this podcast and listening for a while, thank you so much. I’m making them for you, be sure of that. I’d appreciate if you can give the podcast a 5-star rating on iTunes or Spotify and if you have the time also write a review! I’d really appreciate your generosity and thank you so much, as reviews and ratings get the podcast found by people who really need it. And at this time of the year people really need support if they are struggling with their job prospects or career progression.


Ok, so here it is. Let’s begin by looks at the very low budget, up to a maximum of AUD$500. Note this: I have been on all three budget brackets and have been able to achieve a lot career-wise in all three! I’ve also made some dumb investments, so this is based on my experience and is also what I’d use as an initial framework to work with my clients, but you have to adapt it to your specific circumstances, sector, country and so on.


Ok, what would your best investments be? I will list a few options under each budget, as some of them you may already have, so in that case pick and choose from the list what you still need – these are my recommended essentials:



Up to AUD$500 Budget

  • First of all, upgrade to Access LinkedIn Premium: for $AUD 40 per month you will have powerful additional features including who’s viewed your profile (if they have not self-selected to be anonymous, and you have an expanded and comprehensive list available, Job insights to see how you compare with other candidates applying for the job advertised on LinkedIn, salary insights, and access to LinkedIn learning. In the corporate sector, non-profit and government roles, there is no escape from LinkedIn: it is king and you should have a professional presence there, and the Premium features will be invaluable for your career advancement strategy. As for the LinkedIn Learning features, I’ve spent 12months researching it and assessing its content and my advice to you is, be careful not to spent too much time studying endlessly instead of taking action. As an example, if you search for “job Interview”, the In Learning platform will spit out hundreds of mini-trainings and videos you can watch. I don’t want you to think I’m recommending you get Premium so that you spend hours learning and not doing. But if you are no a budget, I’d prefer that you have access to LinkedIn learning content to the wild world on interweb; at least these videos are vetted and went through a quality audit before making it into the platform.
  • Have 1 great jacket, bag and shoes to wear for your interviews and special networking events: Sometimes if we have been working for a long time withing the same organisation we may have slacked just a bit in our appearance. If your suits have seen better days, are too big or too small and you don’t have the budget to buy a good quality one, don’t buy a cheap one. By a blazer instead. I’ve done this at times when money was short and would use an old grey pair of pants with a new black blazer for example, a new tote bag or sleeve bag for your laptop and matching belt and shoes and I was ready to go. I find that cheaper shirts and blouses are ok, as they are not as visible. I would however invest in a beautiful high-quality timeless tie.
  • My favourite online shop for all of the above is Everlane (actually I don’t think they do belts – I buy matching belts at Target). Other online shops I have used, and they are all great for men and women, as Banana republic and Austin Reed, and I guarantee they are all on sale as we speak!
  • Use an app like Eventbrite, for example, and in 2020 and search for professional events in your local area. There are dozens of conferences, symposiums, lunches and you should sign up and go. Some are free, some are very affordable. For example, Melbourne Innovation Week events are free or very accessible, there are several lunches and events organised by Lean In Chapters and Chambers of Commerce, Co-working spaces and so on, which are around $30-$50 and are focused on a specific sector or topic, such as CX, or digital marketing, AI and so on, which you can attend to learn, network, and socialize. There may be job opportunities that you are made aware thought these events. For example, I recently spoke at a Lean In function in Melbourne which was hosted by the energy company AGL. The event was free and really good, well organised, and AGL announced it had several positions opened, and invited the guests to apply and speak to the AGL employees during the event.
  • With a small budget you will have to do a lot of the planning and work by yourself. So you will need to do a lot self-learning, take a great photo using your phone for LinkedIn, and follow the right people on LinkedIn who you look up to or are your peers who have already developed great LinkedIn presence, and apply some of what you learn in your own way
  • You also need to take good care of yourself so that you can perform at your best. Use a free mindful and meditation app, like Insight Timer, to keep yourself relaxed. Rest and sleep, eat well, do free yoga with Adrienne on You Tube, exercise, and catch up with friends and family, laugh a lot, keep a positive mindset. To me, job hunting and career advancement is A lot like am athletic competition. There is a lead up of years and months where you are getting yourself trained and ready, and at short term intensive pre-competition where you ramp up your efforts and your self-care to maximise performance. You need to adopt this mindset for job hunting and career progression. There is no point in doing a perfect resume, and not sleeping before an interview, for example. And this is why I’m doing these weekly Podcasts and sending my subscribers a weekly newsletter: it’s to prepare them for their career progression and future plans by developing the right mindset and attitude now.


  • Finally, there is still time if you are listening to this podcast before the 2nd of January to Do my free webinar, Reset Your Career Webinar: the 5 actions you can take now for better results in 2020. And follow me on my social media platforms, subscribe to my newsletter. It’s all free and its high-quality career advice that will most certainly help you succeed.



Moving on. With a budget of up to AUD1,500 I would recommend the following:

  • All of the above, of course, are they are the essential toolkit,
  • You may be able to invest in a new suit, if it’s time to get one, and/or this is the appropriate attire for your sector in terms of what to wear for a job interview. If it’s not, please adapt this recommendation for your needs. For example I spent 1 year mentoring a lovely woman to applied for a marketing job at L’Oréal. She got the job, by the way, and her pre-interview investment was NOT a suit. I remember she had these killer heels which matched her L’Oréal shade of lipstick, she was dressed for her sector.
  • If you a bit of extra cash to pamper yourself before an interview, have a “before interview” budget set aside for things like a blow-dry and nails ($100), uber (I’m a big fan of uber booking for interviews) or if you live in a city with precise public transport, a mix of both. These days if you are in a big city like Melbourne, driving into traffic for job interviews can be a total nightmare, and get you very stressed before your big performance.
  • My Job Hunting Made Simple program which starts in January, is a good investment for this bracket. It offers a 7-week step by step online course and coaching program that gets you from planning to action-ready. It is a complete blueprint for creating a prosperous career, aligning your values and attracting your next job. I designed the Job Hunting Made Simple for this budget bracket, the program is cost effective, high quality and provides a framework to make sense of all the options, opportunities and steps ahead, in a way that is intentional, inspiring and simple. It is perfect for people who are:
  • serious about their future career progression, but unsure how to achieve their goals;
  • in-between jobs and not knowing if they're putting their time and effort into the right strategies.
  • returning to work after an extended break, not knowing how the market will perceive them; and
  • ready to look for new job opportunities, but just can't find the time or focus to do it! Steps ahead, in a way that is intentional, inspiring and simple.
  • If you however are already in the tail end process of job applications you may want to invest instead in someone who can spend a couple of hours helping you prepare for a job interview like a boardroom style presentation, for example, or spending time with you helping you negotiate your salary package, decide between 2 offers and so on, make strategic decisions whilst applying for internal promotions and so on. I offer this service, I’m always available because these are time-sensitive situations. You may want to access a professional for those and in this case check my website for more information about my private 1-1 sessions. Certainly, these days we are pretty confident that, and if you ready Thinking Fast and Slow or any recent behavioural science study on decision making, that making decisions in groups is the best way to go. I’ll do more podcasts on these topics in the future, but for now, I think you get the picture. So yes, possibly budgeting for 2-3 coaching sessions – 3 coaching sessions being the same price as JHMS, in fact no JHMS is cheaper actually, is another option for this bracket.


Now let’s talk about the up to AUD$3,000 Budget

  • Again, all of the above
  • Have a budget to attend paid networking events in February. Now there is a difference between the ones I proposed before, and the ones I am proposing here. I am suggesting that you attend thought leadership events were decision makers are present. These are people who may be potential employers and can be looking for talent. In Australia I would suggest CEDA’s State of State Addresses, Chartered Accountants CEO forums or events organised by Chambers of Commerce, such as the Australian British Chamber of Commerce, American Chambers and so on. Be careful with conferences – you want to invest in events were you are learning, yes, but that offer great opportunity to network and expand your circle of influence, and conferences may be a good place to meet peers, that’s great but they may not have the authority to hire you. So, keep that in mind and use your budget wisely. For example, I love Simon Sinek, but I wouldn’t spent $800 to see him speak, because frankly I can spend 1 day watching him on YouTube and learn everything I can from him. It’s unlikely the event with 1,000 people will be useful for your career advancement. But attending a $200 CEDA breakfast on digital marketing, if you are a marketing professional, may yield better results. You will be having breakfast on a table with 8-10 people, exchange cards, then connect with these people on LinkedIn, including the CEDA speaker and CEDA staff, and they are your connections now for life.
  • Depending on your sector, lifestyle or where you live, the above recommendation may not suit you. You can then do what Christine has done, and find yourself a coach that can work with you for a 3-month period. This is what most executive, leadership and career coaches love to do. 3 months gives us enough time to really help you, and you can see the changes. You can check my offering on my website. If you believe you have a very specific request, I’d be happy to help you find a great coach for you. For example, I know people who coach school teachers to become principals, senior associates to become partners of law firms, and change managers who are elevated to enterprise-wide transformation roles. These are specific requests, and I’d be happy to help you find your best match.


If money is not an issue, how long is a piece of string! Get ongoing coaching support, get your resume professionally done, and not the $200 one from In fact, I should do a podcast on how NOT to spend your money. I paid $1.200 for mine in 2010 it was an absolutely great investment, for many years it was the perfect format for me.


Another splurge is getting a getting a haircut+ photoshoot with Kerri Gravina in Melbourne, but is so totally worth it.

My gorgeous photos are from The Photo Studio in Melbourne and I love them, it’s a great place they make you feel wonderful and it’s worth the investment.


You can however get cheaper photos using Airtasker, Upwork or Airbnb Experience.


That’s it for now, Job hunters, it was a pleasure spending time sharing these recommendations with you. Enjoy your boxing day shopping, or stay home and save yourself some money. But keep investing in your career and your dreams. I’m here for you! Let’s make them happen!


Happy New Year and we’ll talk again in 2020!




Click here to see the episode show notes. 

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