Posts tagged ‘job search’

The Cost Of Finding A Job In The A/E/P Industry

By Carol A. Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC and
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of

This week I received a call from a candidate/ job seeker.  A senior manager in the A/E community, he told me about the increasing costs associated with his job search. He was asked by an engineering firm if he could drive 5 hours (one way), at his own expense, to their corporate office for an interview.  Prior to this request, he was contacted by an “employment consultant”.  That person wanted $5,500 – $9,500 to review his resume and discuss how he should proceed in his job search.  The consultant offered no guarantee that he would have a job after the consultation.

This job seeker also told me that the cost of finding a job has become expensive! Paying to attend professional association meetings to continue his networking, travel costs to firms who won’t contribute to offset costs and exam costs to obtain a new registration or to renew registrations are just a few expenses that tax someone without a weekly paycheck. The good news is that some of the expenses incurred in your job search are tax deductible.  Here is what I have found…but, please check with your tax consultant! Some of the costs that are tax-deductible include:

Employment and outplacement agency fees.

Resume services.

Printing and mailing costs of application/search letters.

Want-ad placement fees.

Telephone calls.

Travel expenses, including out-of-town job-hunting trips.

But you can’t automatically subtract your job-hunting costs from your income — just those that, when added to all your miscellaneous deductions, come to more than 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. And the expenses must be for a search within your current profession.  If you are looking in a new field, you are out of luck.

In trying to minimize your financial cost you can suggest to firms that you would be available to interview by teleconference.  Visit a local mailing center and for a minimal cost you can utilize their teleconferencing stations.  As for traveling at your own expense for an interview…ASK THE COMPANY FOR ASSISTANCE!  If they told you to travel at your own cost, then ask them to split it with you or ask if they can contribute in some manner.  You won’t know the answer until you try! Firms, like job seekers, are all feeling the financial pinch. But, many firms will step up if you make the request. Hopefully they too understand the strain on the job search.

To continue your face to face networking, you need to approach your professional associations about a reduction in event fees. As in the travel situation above, if you don’t ask for help so you can continue to attend functions, then you won’t know if changes can be offered. Some associations have funds that are specifically designed to help in these types of cost challenges for their members.

The emotional costs of finding a job is becoming a frequent discussion piece on many of the social media outlets. Besides lack of application follow-up from firms, many of those candidates that manage to interview and receive offers are finding limited relocation allowances and low salary offers. To attempt to place a number on the emotional costs of a job search would be out of my expertise. Treating your job search as a full time job when receiving limited positive feedback can be overwhelming and depressing. Be aware of the taxing nature and be kind to yourself.

What are you experiencing and what suggestions can you offer to others?  How are you tackling the process and making it through?

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civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion


February 23, 2010 at 10:08 pm 11 comments

Finding A Job In A Down Market.

By Carol Metzner, President, The Metzner Group, LLC and Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of

At least once a year I hear the phrase, “follow your passion, do what you love and the money will follow.” I have thought this to be reasonable advice.

But, I am recently stuck as to what to tell the many candidates who have phoned me in the past weeks after they have been laid off.  They followed their passion for engineering, CAD or surveying.  Reminiscent of the 1990’s, they find themselves without a job in a strained marketplace. There are few jobs in their local markets. Now they need to move locations or leave the profession. I hear the stress in a parent’s voice as they tell me they don’t know how to tell their junior in high school that they may need to move to another state.  Another candidate just got engaged and yet another has just found out he has a new baby on the way. Hearing their pleas for help, for advice, for leads….let’s just say I can’t just leave it all at the office. I think I would be sleeping better if I had become an artist!

In 1989 I started my recruiting firm.  The civil and environmental engineers I knew warned me that the market was turning and that I was crazy to start an A/E/P recruiting business that year.  As usual, I followed my instincts and my passion and here I am still recruiting almost 20 years later.  There were some tough years in those early days.  Builders closed their doors and state highways lost their funding in the early 1990s.  Here we go again….deja vu?

How do I help candidates when the jobs in the locations they live are far and few between? Here is what I suggest:

You should get up each morning and treat your job search as a job.  It is tempting to take a week or so to clear your mind.  I have seen a week turn into a month.  Allow yourself to be upset about your job loss BUT get up and focus; make a plan. Then, network, call recruiters, call past colleagues, call past employers, post your resume on a specific niche job board for your marketplace:!  Be creative. You may need to “brand” or reinvent yourself.  Can you market yourself into a related field of work?  You may need to take a step back to get into a new or related field.  No matter who gets in the White House next week, oil and gas, energy and the environmental markets will have to be tended to. Yes, our nation’s infrastructure needs a major overhaul.  The jobs have to be on their way.

As disheartening as it is to hear and, more I am sure, to experience, you must push forward in your search. Many of us made it through 20 years ago and we will make it through again.  Be creative and try to think positively. Hopefully others can offer advice and suggestions for you here… please do comment.

October 29, 2008 at 1:31 pm 2 comments

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