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How to Organize Your Job Search

Looking for a new job can feel overwhelming sometimes when you are dealing with so many people and companies. This is especially true if you have been looking for many months. After a while, you forget small details such as when you sent your resume to a certain company or what salary range you told the hiring manager at the interview a month ago. You forget to follow-up with people, you feel a lack of control, and you sense that the job search is not going as well as you liked because you have been disorganized. Does this sound familiar? Having an organized and structured job search system will increase your productivity, reduce stress, increase your confidence and minimize the time it takes to find a new job. Your attention to detail is critical to your success. I want to discuss a few things that have been helpful in my own job search.

1. Create a schedule.

I will commit a block of time each day to do my job search. If I was out of work, I would put in 8 hours each day Monday through Friday on the job search. I would treat looking for a new job as a full-time job. During the day, I will try not to get sidetracked by projects around the house, errands or other things that are not adding value to my job search. I wan to establish a routine that will work for me but is also flexible because everyday will present new challenges and opportunities that I need to focus on. For example, I might spend the mornings looking on the job boards, sending resumes and responding to emails. I want to allocate time in the afternoons following up and working on administrative tasks. Having a routine will keep me disciplined, focused, consistent and committed to my job search. I make my job search one of the highest priorities during the day.

2. Create a spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet is your database of people and companies you have contacted during your job search. It will help you monitor, keep track and follow-up on companies, people and jobs. For example, if I saw a job posting online for a job that I wanted, I will enter all the pertinent information into the spreadsheet such as company name, contact person, email address, website, phone numbers, etc. I will have a column that  shows the date I sent my resume. I will have a column that describes the next action I need to take and by when. Finally, I will have a column for notes that I will jot down for this job that I am pursuing. The key is to use it consistently and to keep it updated. You don’t want to have multiple sources scattered all over your computer, the Internet, phone, email inboxes, Facebook and Twitter accounts and desk because you can quickly lose track of the details. I know this requires extra work and effort but it will pay off in the end.

3. Develop an organization and filing system.

In addition to the spreadsheet, I will have a way to organize the emails, print-outs and computer files pertaining to each job that I am applying for. For example, I might create a folder on my computer to hold the different versions of my resume. This will help me locate it quickly when I need to print it out or bring it up. For the job posting, I would save the webpage as a PDF file so that I can reference it in the future. The key is to have a system that will work for you.

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