5 Clever Ways to Keep Your Job Search Organized

5 Clever Ways to Keep Your Job Search Organized

Keep the job hunt chaos to a minimum with organization.The resumes, cover letters, applications, job postings, career fair fliers … just managing a job search can be a full-time job.

You don’t have to be a neat freak, though, to keep your job search organized. Taking the time to get organized can help you stay on top of landing that job, instead of missing interviews, forgetting to follow-up with potential employees, and spending way too much time feeling frustrated. You don’t want to have to rummage through stacks of paper while you’re throwing on your jacket or shoes right before heading out the door.

Being organized also could increase your ability to have a positive, motivational outlook, which a Georgia Tech study shows can have a beneficial effect on your job search, especially when it’s beginning.

Here are some great practical tips for keeping track of resumes and other paperwork, following up with potential employers, and using technology to conduct an efficient – and effective – job search.

1. Choose one method to keep tasks and dates organized. Whether it’s on your phone, on a tablet, or using a spreadsheet, calendar, or another tool on the computer, find the one that feels natural to you and go with it, according to American InterContinental University Career Services. Or if you aren’t fully comfortable with technology, you may find a three-ring binder, accordion file, notebooks, manilla folders, or pocket calendar could help you physically see all your documents and make notes as needed.

2. Set up a system. If using digital files, UMass Lowell’s Career & Co-op Center recommends a database program like Microsoft Access, or a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. A Glassdoor story makes a smart recommendation for keeping records of your job search. It suggests tracking the following on a spreadsheet:

– Company name
– Position title
– Job description
– Company URL
– Date submitted
– Status of submission

3. Schedule alerts. Don’t assume you can remember everything. Set reminders on your phone or computer to send thank you notes after interviews, to follow up with people you met at networking events, to Facebook a potential source for a job interview, and to complete applications before the deadline passes.

4. Don’t spread out too much. Contain your job search to one room if you can. Definitely keep paper items like business cards and resumes in one spot in your dorm, apartment, condo, or house so you won’t misplace them.

5. Be detailed. UMass Lowell’s Career & Co-op Center recommends that with each job posting, you include the cover letter/resume, research about the company, and a record (with dates) of everything you did related to that job opening, from reading about the job to emailing resume to following up via a phone call.

Lori Johnston is a Georgia-based freelance writer and former Associated Press reporter. She has contributed to many publications, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and People magazine. A 1995 graduate of the University of Georgia, Johnson also has served as adjunct professor in the school’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.


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