Dress for success
The best-looking people earn an extra $250,000 over their careers, reports economist Daniel Hamermesh. A snappy outfit can take you a long way; $1,000 worth of ideas, from Kathryn Finney of the Budget Fashionista:
For a man:
- Designer suit ($400 at Nordstrom Rack)
- Custom dress shirt ($90 at russellandhodge.com)
- Oxfords from Allen Edmunds ($279 at Zappos.com)
- Leather messenger bag ($258 at Kennethcole.com)
For a woman:
- Classic sheath dress ($150 at WhiteHouseBlackMarket)Gabardine wool suit ($370 at JCrew.com)
- Leather handbag ($322 at Bluefly.com)
- A great haircut and color ($150)
Beef up your skills
- Project management, public speaking, and web technology skills are sought after in almost any career, says Stephen Viscusi, author of “Bulletproof Your Job.”
- A continuing education class at your local college or university is likely to cost $1,000 or less. Northwestern University, for example, offers a Foundations of Project Management course ($995) that teaches you the tools you need to efficiently — and cost-effectively — take a large project from beginning to end.
- Got a few bucks left over? Join an industry group and talk up your new skills at the next gathering.
Redo “Brand You”
Buy two sessions with an executive career coach ($800). “The biggest impediment for people in their career is how they tell their story,” says Penelope Trunk, author and founder of BrazenCareerist.com. A good coach will not only rewrite your résumé but also teach you how to talk about it. Get referrals from colleagues and friends, or visit coachfederation.org/find-a-coach.
Next, broadcast your new identity to the world: Register yourname.com and buy a year’s worth of web hosting through GoDaddy.com ($80). Hire a junior designer (try elance.com) to help you set up a simple, easily updatable site with your résumé, bio, skills, and contact info ($100 to $150).