There is little question that an effective, and often successful, job search is an organized one. Those who have been navigating the job market for any length of time will truly understand the magnitude of what goes into a well-functioning job search.
Furthermore, now that the ability to acquire and track essential information is utterly at our fingertips, employers naturally expect job candidates to display a new level of awareness, knowledge, and reliability. This, in turn, adds another layer of complexity beyond simply maintaining a list of names, phone numbers, and email addresses.
With this in mind, we will explore some practical ways for hopeful candidates to sustain an organized and successful job search process.
- Designate Your Workstation – An organized space is conducive to an organized mind. Creating a specific area where you can peacefully search and apply for jobs online, make phone calls, and check email is an important part of maintaining an orderly job search. Be sure your workstation is free of unrelated items, such as books, bills, and other random papers which could become mixed up with your job-related materials. Consider investing in an inexpensive desk organizer to keep your supplies in order and reduce distraction.
- Create a Table/Spreadsheet – While this may seem like simple advice, it is very easy to become lost in a sea of barely legible paper scraps during a hectic job search. Notes jotted down during online searches and important phone calls can be easily misplaced or misfiled. However, a creating a spreadsheet or table with a suitable software program can eliminate the risk of losing important information. To keep your data separate and organized, Rae Sanders, Team Leader and Principal Staffing Manager at WynterWyman, suggests creating functional columns in your spreadsheet; such as Company, Contact Name, Email/Phone, Application Date, Interview Date/Time, Follow-Up Date(s), and Application Status. We recommend also adding sections for important keywords and – based upon your own research – essential facts about the company that would be useful during an interview.
- Use a Multi-Subject Notebook – If perhaps, you are not comfortable with a computerized spreadsheet, there is nothing wrong with keeping written records of your job search the old fashion way, with an organized notebook. To avoid confusion, just remember to make sure the notebook isn’t used for any other purpose. We suggest opting for a larger multi-subject notebook with built-in tabs to help you stay extra organized. Anna Runyan, CEO and Founder of the Forbes’ renowned website, Classy Career Girl, also recommends allocating sections of your notebook for drafting cover letters, taking notes during interviews, networking, as well as keeping track of your applications and interview appointments.
- Make Your Smartphone Work for You – If you’ve been searching for a new job, chances are you’ve already been habitually checking your Smartphone for important messages. Why not, then, make use of the myriad of Smartphone applications that can help you, not only stay organized, but never miss an appointment? The simplest of apps – the calendar — should actually have already been loaded on your device when you received it. Entering all appointments into your calendar, as well as vital alert settings, will ensure that you never double-book, miss, or are late for an interview or meeting. To take things a step further, research the plethora of job search-related organizational apps that are available, such as the highly recommended, JibberJobber, which acts as a virtual dashboard for your career search. With this particular app, you can upload and import the entirety of your job search materials, including your resume, notes, and email; managing them all from one convenient location.
- Phone Call Preparation – In our mobile world, there is a strong chance that your next important phone call will arrive at a time when you are away from your workstation. As organized as your job search may have been up until this point, you can still feel quite frenzied when trying to accurately grasp important information while in a public place or crowded area. The best advice is to be prepared by keeping your cell phone fully charged and have writing materials handy at all times. Consider purchasing a portable phone charger for your car, and most definitely keep a travel-sized notepad and pen in your pocket or handbag, should you need to safely pull over to take a phone call. If you happen to be in a noisy environment at the time of the call, do your best to move to a quieter space. If you absolutely cannot leave your location, at least be sure to write down the correct contact information until you reach a destination where you can speak properly with the caller.
A great portion of staying organized is remaining mindful and alert. Taking these five guidelines into account will not only keep your own job search on track, but will likely allow you to stand out to hiring managers as a well thought-out, sensible job candidate.
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