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Five Tips to Stay Organized During Your Job Search

You need to be organized at work to be productive and useful, and the same holds true while you are at work looking for a new job. Sloppiness like applying for the same job twice or noting the time incorrectly for a job interview will not only cost you time, it will cost you the job prospect.  Following these tips below will help to keep your job search organized.

1. Create a Spreadsheet
Start with a spreadsheet – it will keep your job prospects organized and it’s a great way to keep your Excel skills sharp, too. For every application you send, add a row that tracks the company's name, date of application, job applied for, a link to the job if one is available and a link to the website. Be sure to use this to track any correspondence you’ve had with the company.

2. Folders
Just about every email system has a way to organize emails by folder. Create a job search folder to keep all correspondence and information on your active jobs. Anytime you send an application, BCC yourself and file it in your job search folder. If you are applying online, send yourself pertinent links or screen shots of the important information, including the job description. Make sure the subject line of these emails has identifying information, such as "Application for Administrative Assistant Position with XYZ Company.” This is an acceptable subject line to a potential employer and will help you easily reference the right emails when you need them.

3. Print it & Put it up
If Excel spreadsheets or email folders are not your thing, you can always keep track of your applications with printed hard copies. Print out each application, including the job description, cover letter and specific resume you sent and keep these in alphabetical order. Be sure to include any company contact information such as the contact person, phone number, email and the web address. Going back and trying to find the job you applied for can be near impossible - especially if it is through Monster or CareerBuilder. If you're printing these out, it might make sense to keep an index at the top of this folder with the company name, job applied for and the date you applied.

You can also invest in a white board that you can put up in the job-search area of your house. Use it to note important dates and key tasks. It’s a visual reminder of what you have in your spreadsheet and the folders – another way to keep organized and stay on schedule. Tap into your creative side by using different colored white board markers and adding your own symbols to make it visually appealing.

4. Ask the Question
If you are using more than one staffing firm to assist with your search, it’s even more important that you keep your job search organized. Just like you, some companies will use multiple firms to help fill a single position – and will ask that their name be kept confidential until the interview stage. In most cases, your Recruiter will be able to tell you the industry and location, and should be able to provide a job description. Add these as a separate tab in your spreadsheet, save them in a "Staffing Firm" email folder, or print them out to keep track. If two agencies call you on what you suspect is the same job, it’s important to act on your gust and ask your recruiter if the jobs could be the same.

5. Be Prepared for the Call
With all of your organized and polished outreach, you are sure to eventually get a call back. You are not always going to be at your desk, so wherever you are, be armed with information when the phone rings. Keep fresh copies of your tracking sheet with you at all times – and remember,  if a prospective employer is calling and you are not in a good place to talk, it's okay to ask if you can call back. Find out what time later in the day they will be available and make sure you call at exactly that time.

Job searching can very easily become a frenzied mess – don’t hurt your job prospects!   Follow these simple tips to keep your job search organized and help you land that coveted position.

Photo Credit: MMHUB