Get Organized! Three Ways to Stay Sharp in Your Job Search

By Hallie Crawford

Certified Coach and Founder of Create Your Career Path

Let’s face it… job searching is not fun. I don’t think I know anyone who enjoys it! Finding your next gig or your dream job can be a complicated process, and one that takes time. You have to stay focused, expend the effort to research career ideas, network with people, gather information and keep track of your application and action steps – all at once.

It can be hard to keep track of all of this, including the jobs you’ve applied for, who you need to follow up with and when. It’s easy to get lost in the details, and… you can’t let that happen. You can’t write the wrong thank you note to the wrong person, or thank a person who referred you to someone and spell their name incorrectly. Details and timing are both critical in job searching.

Because it’s so important, you need to start out organized and then stay organized throughout the entire job search process. I always suggest to my clients that they learn to love Microsoft Excel because it can easily be used to organize your information. You can track your goals, action steps, networking contacts, career ideas, etc. Whether you use Excel or some other software, it doesn’t matter. Just start out on the right foot.

The Jobsearch Worksheet I provide to my clients is divided into multiple categories such as Networking, Recruiters, Job Boards, Application Status and Elevator Speeches. Job seekers can use the worksheet to track things like their networking contacts, postings on job boards, and networking meetings or groups. For a limited time, you can download the worksheet here: http://bit.ly/V1N9Zv . Please feel free to use this for your search.

My clients who use this system have a higher success rate in finding a job. The worksheet prompts job seekers to revisit opportunities and reminds them of the contacts they might have otherwise forgotten. It also keeps them focused and provides perspective on what they have already accomplished.

Here are some additional tips to help you structure your search for success:

  • Pick your program: Although my Jobsearch Worksheet was created in Microsoft Excel, it can be imported into and used in Google Docs (an online office productivity tool). Job seekers can also create their own worksheets in Google Docs and log into the document anywhere they have Internet access. Other online task tracking programs, such as Producteev or Podio, are free for individual users and may also be helpful.
  • Set Reminders: Users of programs like Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar can create events and set reminders. Taking the time to set reminders for follow-up with networking contacts and prospective employers can ensure job seekers don’t miss important opportunities.
  • Go Mobile: Job seekers with smartphones or other mobile, Internet-connected devices should use them to record details and set reminders as soon as they make a contact, rather than waiting to do them later.
  • Look for Connections: Those who maintain detailed trackers often find powerful associations they might not otherwise have noticed. For example, a job seeker might meet someone who works for a certain company and then apply for a job at that firm, months later. With the contact recorded and tracked, they’ll notice the connection and can ask the contact for pointers, in advance.

Staying organized in your job search by tracking and managing all the information relating to your job search is a winning strategy. Take the time to research the tools that can work best for you. There are so many new technological tools out there to take advantage of, and often for free!

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