How to prepare for an interview on a budget

Job hunting can be a real slog ‒ continuously checking job sites, applying for roles and waiting by the phone is no fun. What's more, when you finally land that all-important interview, you've got another obstacle to overcome: cost. When you're money is tight, attending these appointments can put a stressful strain on your wallet. Thankfully, you've come to the right place. Here's what you need to know about preparing for an interview on a budget.

Dress for less 

'Dress for the job you want, not the job you've got.' That's solid advice, but what if you can't afford to buy new threads for your upcoming interview? Luckily, there are a couple of things you can try. The first is to hit up local charity shops. You can often find a wealth of suits and formal clothes in these shops, which means that you could bag a bargain. It's worth searching around to see what you can find, so head to a few shops near you.

If you want to look sharp without spending a penny, you might want to look into local schemes where you can get what you need. For example, Brixton Library now runs a program through which job seekers can borrow smart attire for interviews. There are schemes like this one all around the country, so do some research and find what fits your needs.

Get money off your travel costs

Of course, one of the biggest costs of heading to an interview is travel. Whether you're getting there by train, plane or automobile, the idea of spending money on tickets and fuel might be overwhelming. If you're currently unemployed, you may not have the spare cash to spend on travelling to and from various company locations. Luckily, there are some options that will help you along the way.

If you live in Northern Ireland, the Travel to Interview scheme from NI Direct is most certainly worth your time. You can apply for help with the cost of travel through the website, which could help ease the burden of the cost. To be eligible, you will need to be either unemployed or about to be made redundant by your current employer.

If you live in the rest of the United Kingdom, there are ways that you can get help with your travel costs. Speak to an advisor at the JobCentre Plus about your options here. Staff members have access to a discretionary fund that they can use here, which means that they may be able to reimburse some of your travel expenses.

Take the coach, rather than the train

Travelling to another city for your job interview? One of the easiest ways to save money is to pick the right type of transport. Train tickets are typically more expensive than coach or bus tickets. For that reason, you should be picky about how you get to your destination. You can look up cheap coach tickets on either the Megabus or National Express websites in a matter of minutes.

If you simply have to use the train to reach your job interview, there are other ways you can save some money. Splitting the ticket online will help you pay less for standard train fares. Alternately, you can also use the Virgin Best Fare Finder to find affordable last-minute train tickets and figure out the right route for your needs.

Research free job interview tips online

Needless to say, before your interview comes around, you need to prepare thoroughly. Luckily, there are many free resources you can use to prepare for the experience, including our career advice portal ‒ it has the latest guidance on all things job search, including interview tips.

There are also CV services for when you're on a budget. Get a free critique from TopCV by clicking here.

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