How To Organize Your Job Search
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” – 1 Corinthians 14:40
Getting organized is a sign of self-respect.” – Gabrielle Bernstein
If you are searching for a new job, the best way to maximize your efforts and your chance of success is by being well-organized.
Job searching at its best can be very taxing, and if you’re conducting your search actively, there are a lot of things to keep track of and manage a lot of moving parts, such as:
- jobs you have applied for or want to apply for
- application deadlines
- interview times
- follow up calls or letters
- which companies have responded to you
- network contacts
- network referrals
- target marketing companies
It can be an overwhelming amount of tasks to keep track of…being organized will take a lot of that load off.
If you’re already an organized person, these tips may give you some new ideas, and if you’re not as organized as you’d like to be, I hope they will help you be successful in staying on top of your job search process.
Steps for organizing your job search…
- Define your goals: Before you begin applying for jobs, decide exactly what kind of position you are looking for to define your targeted job better. Although you may be looking for a similar job as your previous one, get specific about what you are looking for, what your expectations are, what you can offer, what you may need to learn or improve, and what you hope to gain. Your targeted position may not be just one job role, it could be several based on your work history. Think about the things you have done in the past, and if some of what you did as part of another job role could be targeted specifically as a job in itself. This gives you options when considering opportunities.
- Make a list of companies you would like to work for: This is your targeted marketing list. Once you have a list started, you can begin to research the companies so you can understand their culture and history, the kind of work they do, problems they are currently dealing with, and they positions they typically hire for. This will you as you reach out to them directly. Your research is not complete until you can identify each organization’s needs, problems, and future plans. Don’t wait until you see a job posting from these organizations. In your research also identify who the Hiring Manager, or senior person, would be where you would work and develop a plan to reach out to them. Send them a letter and identify needs, problems, or future plans they are dealing with and describe briefly how you can help them address those. Don’t ask them to call you, they won’t. But you can follow up your letter with a call to set a time to meet and discuss their needs, problems, or future plans in more detail and the value you can provide. If you have accurately identified their needs, problems, or future plans they will definitely meet with you. During the meeting identify something of value you could provide easily and ask for a week or so to pull this together for them at no charge. Then set another meeting to bring what you want to offer them. Inform them that you would like to work with them to address their needs, problems, or future plans in more detail and then wait for a response. Don’t limit yourself to the original list, add others as you become aware of them.
- Create a method of tracking your job applications: For each application you send in start an electronic file that gives you all of the details of what you sent them, questions you still needs answered, areas of commonality you may have identified from their website, etc. This will enable you to easily prepare for the interview by knowing precisely what the company has seen from you, and what you what to learn from the interview. Some of the items you’ll want to track are:
- Company name and information, i.e., location, number of employees and any other information you consider relevant
- Contact person and their information
- Copy of the cover letter and résumé you sent them
- Copy of the job posting you responded to
- If not a posting, how you found out about the position
- Application date
- Interview date, times, and notes about what was discussed
- Your follow-up; how did you follow up and who did you communicate with
- Copies of emails you have exchanged with the recruiter, Hiring Manager, etc., and responses you receive from the company
- Your preference ranking for each job you apply for
- Create a method for tracking your networking efforts: Networking is one of the most valuable marketing activities you can engage in, but it can quickly become a nightmare if your don’t keep track of the contacts you make. Here are some the most common things you will want to keep track of:
- Name and contact info; phone number, email address, LinkedIn address, etc.
- Date of original contact
- Notes on what was discussed, items shared (such as résumé)
- Suggestions, advice, or ideas contact provides
- Follow up planned and dates
- Names and contact information of referrals, the name of person referring and relationship
- Organize your time: Don’t let your time and opportunities get away from you. Life can get busy and sometimes take over, so determine how much time you want to dedicate to your job search and create a schedule, taking into account other commitments you might have. When you don’t have a job, your job is to be actively looking for a job. That means setting regular “office” hours when you will work on your search. Set up a place in your home that is dedicated to your search and where you keep all your job search resources. If you have a difficult time getting up and getting started, institute some form of commute. One client went out and walked around the block to simulate a commute and to get their mind in gear for the work they wanted to tackle that day. Whatever works for you.
- Spend time with your résumé: Update your résumé to tailor it for each job opportunity you respond to. This is a good way to use the information you have learned about the company you are applying to, and what you found in the job posting. About 80% of your résumé will remain the same since it is basically historical information; including your work history, education, computer competency, and honors & awards. What you can tailor are the accomplishments you share as they correspond to the requirements the job posting lists. To do this you will need an accomplishments library so you can quickly copy and paste those accomplishments that relate most closely to what the potential employer is looking for. Aim at developing 30-40 accomplishment statements in your accomplishments library so you can pick and choose. You can also review and revise your summary statement and technical expertise for this same reason. This will make each résumé you send out slightly different as it demonstrates your capability regarding the particular position you are applying for.
- Use a calendar to keep track of deadlines and appointments: Make use of online calendars that you can always have with you on your smartphone. Additionally, most of the online calendars will let you set up alerts that can help you not only be on time, but allow time to prepare.
- Set up your email inbox: Using labels to organize your emails by company makes it so much easier to track email conversations you’ve had with various companies and people.
By establishing these suggestions early it will make your on-going job search much more effective and productive. You will not have to spend tons of time looking for information you need, because it will all be right there at your fingertips, reducing the frustration of such a waste of time. You may think of other ways to get organized, and if so I encourage you to go for it. Being organized won’t necessarily make your search move along quicker, but it will sure make it less aggravating and easier to accomplish in prepping for interviews, etc.
If you would like to explore working with a Christian centered Career Coach, Contact me for a no-obligation 60-90 minute job search consultation with America’s Job Searching Coach, or text me at 425-220-0707 and we can discuss your situation, your résumé, what you would like to achieve, and structure your job search to fit your uniqueness.
I am also available to speak to groups.