When you're trying to find a new job, keeping track of all your promising openings, applications, interviews, and networking events can be overwhelming. However, there are easy steps you can take to organize and stay on top of your job search.
Strategies for Staying Organized
1. Create a Spreadsheet
Creating a spreadsheet is a helpful way to contain and keep track of a variety of information related to your job search. In your spreadsheet, include key columns such as:
- Company name: The name of the organization to which you are applying
- Contact name: The name of the contact at the company (typically, the person to whom you will submit your job application)
- Contact information: The email address and/or phone number of the contact
- Date of application: The date when you submitted your application
- Application summary: The items you submitted in your application, such as a resume, cover letter, recommendations, and/or portfolio
- Interview: The date of your interview
- Follow-up: Whether or not you sent a thank you note after the interview and when
- Status: Whether or not your application was rejected, you received a second interview, or you were offered the job
If you’d like, add other columns such as the application deadline, the names of any personal connections at the company, and any other important company information.
You can create your spreadsheet by using Excel or Google Sheets, creating a chart in a Word document, or using a spreadsheet app on your phone. Or, use pencil and paper to create a hand-written spreadsheet as well.
2. Use a Job Search Management Site
A number of sites offer tools for managing your job search. If you decide to use one of these sites, look for one that is free or reasonably priced.
For example, JibberJobber is a free site that helps you track what jobs you have applied for and the status of each application. You can also keep track of networking contacts to remember how they have helped you. Sites like JibberJobber allow you to bring all your job search activities onto one portal, minimizing the time you spend going back and forth between websites.
Similarly, if you a have a job search website that you tend to use a lot, see if it has a job search management tool. Many sites, including LinkedIn, Monster, and CareerBuilder, help keep track of the applications to which you apply on their sites.
If you use a number of different job sites equally, you will have to keep track of your information on each separate site, which might end up being more of a hassle than it’s worth.
3. Use Your Phone
If you use your smartphone more than a computer, you might consider using a job search management app. Apps such as Job Search Organizer and HiJob will help organize various aspects of your search process. Many of these apps are free.
You can also keep track of your job applications using your notes or a spreadsheet app. Use your calendar, alerts, and alarms to keep track of deadlines, interviews, and other important dates.
Tips for Staying Organized
No matter what strategy you choose for keeping track of your job search, stay organized throughout the job process. First of all, simplify your job search. Apply only to jobs you are interested in and are qualified for. This will limit the number of applications you have to track and enable you to focus on job openings that really matter.
The point of organizing your job search is to help reduce stress during the job search process. Therefore, don’t let the process of organization stress you out. If you download too many organizational apps or use too many job search management sites, you can wind up with even more work to do.
Identify your key needs—such as finding new job possibilities and managing your applications—and find a tool or strategy that helps you with those most important needs.