Looking for a job is a full-time job in and of itself, and finding the perfect job can be an overwhelming task. With these tips to help you stay organized, however, your job search effort becomes manageable and ensures that you don’t miss out on that fantastic opportunity.
Start with a Spreadsheet
Staying organized is arguably the most important thing to do while you’re looking for your next position. Starting a spreadsheet will keep you on top of your opportunities and help keep your Excel skills from getting rusty.
Google Drive is an excellent place to start, and will allow you to access your tracking sheet from any internet-connected device. And, if you store your cover letters and resume on Drive you can link directly to them from your spreadsheet with a simple CTRL+K and a URL.
Your tracking sheet doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should have the following basic information:
If you’re a spreadsheet whiz you can add data sets or conditional formatting to bring your attention to items needing immediate action. There are even scripts or apps that can push dates from your Sheet to your Google Calendar if you’re really savvy.
Keep a Calendar
Tracking follow-ups, phone calls, and interviews can be daunting, so keeping a calendar can help you get a day-to-day idea of what you need to do. You can do this digitally through Google Calendar (or any calendar online), or, if you prefer pen and paper, a day planner or calendar book. Put enough information in each item so you’ve got what you need at your fingertips or know exactly where to go to find it.
Templates & Naming Conventions
Templates can be your best friend. As you tailor your cover letter and resume for each position, keep copies so that when you apply for a similar postings, many of your changes have already been made. Name these files clearly ( e.g.: yourlastname_companyname_position_CL for Cover Letters and firstinitial_lastname_position_resume for resumes) so the file name tells you exactly what’s in the file. This also has the added benefit of ensuring that the recruiter or manager you’re contacting knows too.
Whether you’re using Google Drive or Word and Excel, organizing your file structure can help save you time and aggravation. Whether you create folders by month, position, or company, what matters is that you understand your system and can quickly find what you need when you need it.
Save Your Answers
Many postings ask similar questions:
- “What are your strengths?”
- “What are your weaknesses?”
- “What is the thing you’re most proud of?”
Save these answers in a file and then cut and paste them into your application, editing where necessary. This is a huge time-saver that will allow you to move efficiently through job postings.
With a bit of up-front preparation and consistent follow-through, it’s easy to stay on top of the many moving parts of your job search. Organized files and time-saving habits will help you from feeling overwhelmed, and save your valuable time as you land your dream job.
Now that you’re organized, take your job search to the next level: Start now…