8 Simple Ways to Organize Your Job Search

Woman on laptop that has window saying 'job search'

If you’re applying for multiple jobs at the same time, perhaps over several weeks or months, things can quickly spiral out of control. You can easily find yourself with 10 or 20 different versions of your resume or cover letter floating around on your desktop, requests for materials coming at you from every direction, and a long to-do list of follow-ups, thank you notes, and applications that need submitting.

Before your head starts spinning, consider these simple time-saving tips that will help you to organize an unwieldy job search so nothing falls through the cracks:

Make organization a priority

Schedule some time before you start sending out applications to put some processes in place that will help the job search go more smoothly and quickly and will minimize the risk that you’ll overlook something. It all starts by first recognizing organization should be a top priority for your job search and setting these strategies in place from the get-go.

Use a simple spreadsheet

Whether you’re a fan of Excel or Google Sheets, for example, the idea is to keep all of your job search activities and to-this organized in an easy to access chart. It should even be accessible on your smartphone so you can update it in real time as things come up.

To start, create a list of all the jobs you’re applying or have applied to, noting the status or stage you’re in (not applied, interview phase, offer extended, etc.). It’s also a good idea here to keep track of logins and passwords you’ve had to create if you applied directly on a company’s site.

Create a custom calendar

For truly large job searches where you may have multiple interviews scheduled for each employer or even out of town visits, a custom calendar with automatic reminders can help you keep it straight and keep you from missing any important appointments.

You can also add things like reminders for yourself about sending thank you notes, when to follow up with each employer, or deadlines for important job postings do they don’t expire on you.

Use a tool

There are a few sites out there, like JibberJobber for example, that are designed specifically to help candidates organize their job search. It’s worth checking out if you want an external tool to centralize everything for you. They also have an app you can download on your smartphone.

Digitize your to-do list

Organizational apps or sites like Trello can help you to keep track of all your to-do items. There are many out there to choose from, but once you find the one that’s most intuitive for you, it can be a great comfort knowing that you’ll never forget an important task or miss a deadline simply because you weren’t organized.

Cloud-based file storage

Tools like Dropbox or other cloud-based file storage systems will help to organize your job application materials so that you don’t have multiple versions of your cover letters and resumes floating around in your email or on your desktop, where you run the risk of sending the wrong version to an employer or losing something altogether.

And if you don’t want to name each document with the position or company in the title, you can design a folder system so you know which resume and cover letter go with which employer/company.

It’s also wise to copy and paste the original job description in a document and include that in the folder as well. For example, if the job expires you may not be able to access the link, and you may still want to look at the post, especially if you’re preparing for an interview and want to speak directly to the skills/experiences they’re asking for

Get your email ready

A job search can flood your inbox with emails, from confirmation messages to communications with employers to networking or reaching out for recommendations, your inbox can become overrun with job search related messages.

To keep it all straight, create a separate folder in your email for only job-related communications so nothing gets lost and you can quickly reference something or pull up someone’s email or contact info as needed.

Sign up for job alerts

When you’re on the job hunt, alerts can be one of the most helpful, time-saving tools. By getting the most relevant jobs for you delivered to you automatically each day or week, it frees you up to spend less time searching for open positions and more time focusing on things that will make yuh the strongest candidate you can be (like polishing your resume or cover letter, learning new skills, networking, or preparing for tough interview questions).

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