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Organize Your Job Hunt with a Job Search Diary


8/11/2011 3:59:41 PM

By Angela Rose, BioSpace.com

In many employment-related articles, you are advised to treat your job search like a job. This is especially true when it comes to organization. Messy desks coved in papers and post-its, uncategorized emails and the haphazard storage and naming of electronic documents can be just as detrimental to your job search as they were in the workplace. Fortunately, a job search diary provides an antidote to organizational anarchy.

This is not the diary you kept in high school, where you recorded your deepest, darkest feelings about the events of the day (Dear diary, today my hair wouldn’t curl right and Jonathan doesn’t like me…). Rather, a job search diary allows you to put feelings aside and keep track of the facts. Think of that notebook (or spreadsheet or word processing document) as a haven of mental clarity. Update it diligently and you’ll always know where you are in every stage of your journey to employment.

Are you just beginning your job search?
You’re in luck! Creating a job search diary as you begin your job search is the easiest time to do so. While good old-fashioned paper notebooks make fine diaries, electronic documents are a bit more versatile. Whatever format you choose, make notes about job postings of interest as you peruse job boards and employment websites. You’ll want to record where you found the posting, the company name, any contact information given, the position requirements, and how to apply.

Because a multi-pronged approach is often more effective, don’t rely on job boards alone. Do research on LinkedIn and local websites. Your job search diary is the perfect place to note local companies that appeal to you (whether they’re currently hiring or not), contacts you’ve made through networking, and other job-related leads.

Are you sending resumes?
At this stage of the job search, organization becomes increasingly important. Use your job search diary to record important facts about each position for which you’ve applied. Note the position applied for, date you applied, method of application, version of resume and cover letter submitted, and any contact information you may have for the hiring manager. As you follow-up on each application, note the date and result.

Are you attending interviews?
If so, congratulations! You’re that much closer to finding your next position. Your job search diary can now be used to record interview dates, times and locations as well as your research on the company and questions you’d like to pose during the interview. After each interview, you should record details you’d like to remember (perhaps for reference in a thank you note), the contact information of the interviewer, next steps, and any subsequent follow-up efforts.

A job search diary will not only keep you organized, it will help you feel in control of your job search experience. As a result, you can spend less time scrambling for forgotten or misplaced information and more time impressing potential employers with your charming personality and valuable skills.

About the Author

Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.

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