If you are applying to multiple employers every day, taking an hour or two to organize your search efforts can increase your chances of success. A disorganized job search can cause you to miss opportunities and deadlines. Disorganization can also hurt your job search: Think about the kind of impression you will give a hiring manager when you accidentally send two applications for the same job three days apart.
Here are some tips for getting your job search organized:
Set Up a Spreadsheet
Keep track of your search in a spreadsheet. Include columns for employer names, contact names (if any), details about the job, how you learned about the opening, and the dates on which you made contact with the employer. These records can keep you from accidentally sending multiple applications to the same employer: Just remember to check the spreadsheet before beginning an application or sending off a resume.
Set Up a Separate Email Account
If you get a lot of emails, it’s easy to miss correspondence from employers. Set up a separate email address for your search and check it at least twice daily. Some career gurus also recommend only using a Gmail account or your own domain name for your job-hunting email; these domains have more prestige than other types of email accounts. You should also include a link to pertinent sites, such as an online portfolio or Linked In profile, in your signature file. Also, make sure you use a professional naming convention for your email.
Test Your Email Alerts
Job posting boards often let you set up email alerts that inform you about open positions. This is an efficient way of making sure you know about possible openings, but it’s important to make sure that you have set up your request for alerts properly. Many job boards let you set up your search with multiple perimeters, including location, job title, keywords (such as a degree major) and level of experience. The trouble is that it’s easy to miss out on viewing some very appropriate jobs because you didn’t enter the right keywords or set very narrow perimeters. Test your settings by periodically doing a manual search on job sites and comparing your results to those that you get in emailed updates. If your emailed lists aren’t as complete as they should be, make some modifications to your requested perimeters.
Use Calendar Reminders for Follow-Up
Program Google Calendar, or your preferred calendar service, to remind you of when you need to take necessary steps in your search. These steps include following up by phone or email, sending off requested references, or doing a phone or in-person interview. If you are pursuing multiple jobs, or you just have a very hectic life, it’s a good idea to have your calendar send you emails or texts a day or two before the event. This early warning, in addition to a notification right before your task or meeting, allows you the time necessary to make appropriate arrangements for transportation, childcare or simply being near a phone or computer.
What tools have you used to organize your job search? What worked? What didn’t?
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