Organizing Your Job Search

planning calendar

According to Startwire.com, organized job seekers find work 70% faster. Some job seekers have better organizational skills than others, but everyone can benefit from using tools that manage the job search process.

Since finding a new job takes significant time and effort, it is essential to organize your job search using the best strategies to maximize your efforts. Since it is estimated that only 20% of jobs are advertised, spending most of your job search time using this strategy doesn’t make sense. Instead, a good strategy is to dedicate approximately 20-30% (some say even much less than this) of your job search time searching and applying for advertised jobs on the Internet and about 70-80% of your time searching for jobs in the “hidden” (or unadvertised) job market. Here, you can learn more about the effectiveness of different job search strategies.

Knowing how people find jobs efficiently should lead you to schedule approximately 20-30% of your job search time searching and applying for advertised jobs online and about 70-80% of your time searching for jobs in the “hidden” ( or unadvertised) job market. Remember, it is easy to mistake productivity in your job search with spending lots of time on the Internet finding advertised jobs. You may feel that you are making progress, but in reality, you may be wasting lots of time!

If you are currently working, you must be strategic about your available time to search for jobs. Try to schedule 5-10 hours per week for your job search. If you are between jobs, it is good to schedule 30 hours a week for your job search. Use an online or written calendar with reminders to plan your job search activities.

One of the characteristics of successful people is that they set manageable goals or what we might call “bite-sized” action steps. A goal is a specific action step that is measurable and time-limited. For example, “Create a personal contact cover letter for your job target by the end of the week.” To effectively complete this step may involve scheduling two different events in your calendar: One, scheduling an hour to write a draft of the cover letter, and the second, asking a friend or family member to review your cover letter for content, grammar, and spelling.

The calendar you use to schedule your goals or action steps can be on your computer, cell phone, or a paper version that allows enough space to write in numerous steps daily.

Here is an example of a sample day with “bite-size,” manageable action steps

Monday

8 am -8:30 am: Exercise (walk, run, bike, do yoga, etc). (Exercise will increase your energy and reduce fatigue.)

8:30 am – 11 am: Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to locate new contacts relevant to my search. Add new LinkedIn connections. Add people to the networking list to be contacted.

11 am -12:00 pm: Contact five new people from the networking list.

12noon Lunch and a short walk

1 pm – 3 pm: Research companies on LinkedIn to see if I know anyone at my target companies. Research key contacts from alumni associations and add them to the contact list.

3 pm – 4 pm: Contact 5 new people from the networking list.

4 pm—5 pm: Respond to job alerts set up with Indeed.com, LinkUp.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, etc. Send the needed resume, cover letter, etc. Add details to JibberJobber.com or other worksheets.

5 pm—5:15 pm: Set specific goals for the next day. Email my activities and goals to my accountability partner. Schedule fun activities and family time.

In the example above, you will see the person schedule a time to run and time with the family, which is vital so you don’t burn out and can stay persistent even when your job search is stressful.

There are two worksheets included to help you manage your time. The first worksheet will help you focus on the most effective job search strategies. The second worksheet will help you make your weekly job search schedule.

An effective job search campaign can involve making hundreds of contacts with employers and personal contacts. Imagine, after several weeks of job search work, you suddenly receive a phone call from a human resource director at a company that is only a few minutes from your home. You panic, thinking, “When did I apply? Was it on a job board? Which one? Or was it a direct referral from one of my contacts?” You need to figure out who you sent a resume to at the company and how you found out about the opening. You realize it is time to get organized!

If you would like to keep track of the information in a Word doc, here is a worksheet that you can use.

Software to Organize Your Job Search

While there are many ways to track resumes you have sent, employers you need to contact, and scheduled interviews (including Microsoft Excel), one of the best resources is Evernote.com.

Evernote is an invaluable tool for effectively tracking and managing various aspects of your job search. Here’s how you can leverage Evernote to enhance your job search tracking:

  • Job Application Log: Create a dedicated notebook to record the details of each job application, including the position, company, application date, and any specific requirements. This log will serve as a centralized reference point.
  • Networking Tracker: Use Evernote to maintain a comprehensive list of your networking contacts. Include details such as names, positions, and the date of your last interaction. Attach relevant notes about your discussions to ensure you stay connected and informed.
  • Resume and Cover Letter Repository: Keep a notebook specifically for storing different versions of your resume and cover letter. This allows for easy retrieval and customization based on each application’s specific requirements.
  • Interview Preparation Notes: Create notes dedicated to interview preparation for each job opportunity. Include information about the company, key points about the role, and potential questions to ask. Evernote’s search functionality makes retrieving and reviewing these notes easy before an interview.
  • Follow-Up Reminders: Use Evernote’s reminder feature to set follow-up dates for each application, ensuring you stay proactive in checking the status of your applications and sending thank-you notes after interviews.
  • Documenting Industry Trends: Keep track of industry trends and relevant articles by attaching links and notes to a dedicated notebook. Staying informed about the latest developments in your field enhances your knowledge and can be beneficial during interviews.

Harnessing Evernote’s tracking capabilities can help create a well-organized system that streamlines your job search. The platform’s versatility and accessibility enable you to stay on top of every detail, making the process more manageable and increasing your overall efficiency in securing your next career opportunity.

Next Steps

Ready to learn the keys to excelling in an interview? Learn the keys to interviewing with confidence.