How to Stay Organised in Your Job Search

Written by Roland Tamas

26th January 2020

a man sitting in front of a computer searching for a job

Here is the truth: Job-hunting can be a challenge, especially if you are sending a large number of applications to a variety of employers. There is a lot to keep track including tailoring your CV, writing cover letters, remembering key dates and contact information, as well as, following up applications, and attending interviews. Because of this, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by it all, but it’s vital that you stay on top of all of your applications to avoid missing out on key opportunities.

How should you keep track of what you’ve done, and what you ought to do next? The key to managing your job search is to be super organised, which isn’t nearly as time-consuming as it sounds.

Here are a number of tips you can follow to ensure an easy, streamlined and less daunting job searching process:

Review Your Career Goals Before You Begin

Before you even begin, step back and take a look at the bigger picture. Spend some time to review your career. Your career journey should start with a look at the direction in which you’re headed. Start by deciding what your goals should be: identify your preferred role, industry, type of company and any other factors that are important.

Also, think about your mid and long-term goals. Where do you want to be 2 years from now? Then, work backwards from there and set your one year, six months and three months goals. Once you have highlighted these, set some realistic targets you can focus on today. Remember:

Clarity is Power!

Create a Schedule

Job search can sometimes feel like a full-time job itself. Don’t try to tackle the whole job search at once. This will leave you frustrated and overwhelmed. Instead, focus on the process and set realistic goals you can cross of your list every week. Aiming for a goal will increase your motivation and provide a sense of achievement once you reach them.

Start with identifying the time you can set aside that’s dedicated to job searching and then find blocks of time within your schedule between classes, work, family engagement and any other responsibilities. Plan your day in easily manageable chunks for different tasks. Also, spend some time Friday afternoon, to review your performance and plan your next week accordingly.

Develop a System to Keep Track of Your Progress

This begins with choosing a good place to work and do your job search activities. Do you work better at home, in a café shop or in the library with fewer distractions? 

Based on my experience, it’s also good to keep the workspace you have selected clear of everything that’s not job search-related, as it helps focus on the task at hand. If you’re in that space, that’s what you’re there to do.

Next, creating a job application spreadsheet in Excel. If you don’t like Excel, you can use Microsoft Word or Google Docs instead. This is one of the best ways you can keep on top of your job hunt, as it helps you to keep all information and activities in one place. Basically, you create a spreadsheet which will include the most important elements you would like to keep track of. I would recommend including columns like; the company name, contact person name contact details including phone and email, the date when you applied as well as, job interview date, follow-up and outcome.

Having a place to store and track all this information will help you juggle multiple interviews, applications, and job-related conversations and networking—and will ensure that no important details fall through the cracks.

Take Advantage of Online Project Management Tools and Apps

If you’re someone who forgets to update the spreadsheet, consider free online project management and job search organisation tools like Trello and Jibber Jobber, to automate your job search process and to keep on track of what you are working on. Other useful tools you can use to keep track of meetings are or Microsoft OneNote.

Final word: once you keep all your job details organised in a spreadsheet or Word document make sure you can easily access them from your phone in case something comes up when you’re not near a computer. For this reason, it can be worth having copies on OneDrive, Google Drive (or similar service) so that you can easily send them off from anywhere and from any device connected to the Internet.

Now, go, get organised and send out some applications!

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