There’s a good reason why people say job searching is a full-time job in itself. From customizing resumes and filling out applications to juggling multiple interviews and navigating follow-ups, you’re bound to be busy. To limit the chaos and keep on top of everything, it’s essential to stay organized.
Disorganization has proven to be devastating to countless job hunters. Can you imagine following up about a job application but mentioning the wrong company? What if you lose contact information so it’s impossible to follow up at all? Or worse, what if your disorganization causes you to miss a phone interview completely?
Because everyone is unique, there’s no one-size-fits-all organization option. While some people adore spreadsheets, others favor modern apps to track job search activities. Whatever your approach, it’s important to find what works for you by considering these tips for organizing your job search.
- Create a folder system
There are two places folder systems will help keep you organized. First, create a job search folder on your personal computer and set up a folder hierarchy. You might start by naming the first folder after the company where you’re applying and then naming any sub-folders with the job titles your applying for. Fill the folder with your resume, cover letter and other application information. When it comes to email correspondence, set up a similar folder system to track messages and contact details.
- Track the application’s journey
From the moment you submit your resume, your application goes on a journey that can have many pit stops. It’s critical to keep track of where you are in the hiring process so you know what’s complete and what’s not. Some people prefer an electronic workbook like Excel. Others find apps to be helpful. Many free apps and online systems are available for your consideration, such as JibberJobber, trello and wunderlist.
- Strategically name files
How you name a file can enhance your organization dramatically. For example, because you’ll be modifying your resume for every job application, you should name it differently each time. Consider this naming convention: first name, last name, job title, date. This can also make it easier for a recruiter or hiring manager to find your resume if they need to search for it, rather than just naming it generically.
- Set follow-up reminders
When should you follow up? Are you out of the running for a job, or are you still being considered for a position? You won’t have to wonder when you set up a system of reminders. Following up and following through are essential to a strong job search. Start by setting reminders for one week and one month. Keep in mind you should modify these time frames if the company tells you differently during the interview. Continue to follow up regularly until you know they’ve made a final decision, then remove the reminders and mark the folder as closed.
Plan to regularly review your job-search system to stay on track. And remember to keep it easily accessible so that if an employer calls you back and you need to quickly reference your documents, you can do so within a few clicks.