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When you begin job hunting for work, you’ll most likely find yourself applying for several openings in the same period. This situation is especially common for people who are just launching their careers. Each application will mean a different resume version and cover letter. If you’re in this phase for several weeks or even months, things can get out of hand pretty quickly. Before you even know it, you will have more than a dozen resumes, multiple application deadlines to keep track off, thank you letters to write, among other tasks related to your job search.
To avoid confusing application closing dates, missing interviews, or losing crucial contact details, read these fifteen useful pieces of advice on how to organize job search:
Define Your Career Objectives
Before you embark on sending out applications for different jobs, step back, and think about which way you would like your career to head. Then, lay down your general long-term goals, for instance, the milestones you want to accomplish in the next ten years or so. Then, narrow them to shorter-term goals. It’s imperative that your goals be practical and achievable. Don`t just take your career into account, but your finances and personal goals too.
Build a Job Hunt Schedule
Once you have envisioned your goals, it’s time to put a schedule together. That means you must set aside adequate time for job searching. If you are busy with classes, work, or other responsibilities, find chunks of time between these tasks. And since hunting for a job takes quite a bit of it, aim for a minimum of two hours each day for this process. Plan to complete particular job-search related tasks during this time. For example, you can decide to dedicate the first session creating your resume. The next day, you can clean up your LinkedIn profile.
Tone Down Your Job Search
Don’t apply for every open role you come across. Applying for too many jobs wastes your time and contributes to disorganization. And in most cases, it doesn’t increase your chances of getting hired. So, it’s best to identify those jobs that align with your short and long term career objectives. Apply for those opportunities which will push you to the position you aim to be in. After that, optimize your search further to those jobs that go well with your qualifications and skills level. To know if you are an ideal candidate for a role, check if you meet about 80% of the capabilities listed on the job ad.
Lay Down a System to Help You Stay Organized
Before you begin sending out job applications, implement processes that will assist you in making your job search move smooth and fast. Make organization a key factor from the start so that you avoid the possibility of overlooking anything that might be of significance. Make a folder that’s dedicated to your search for employment and subfolder for each company you send an application to. Save job postings, the applications you sent for each position, and any other vital details you may have acquired from researching the company.
Make Use of Spreadsheets
You can use simple spreadsheets like Google Sheets or MS Excel to effectively coordinate your job search in a chart. Begin by creating a list comprising the positions you’ve applied or are applying to, making sure to write down the status of each - yet to submit, interview stage, etc. Also, note down login details for any accounts you’ve created if you used company websites to apply to organize your job search. Make this information easily accessible on your smart device so that you can open and even edit it if you need to on the go.
Set Up a Customized Calendar with an Auto Reminder
For an extensive job search involving several scheduled interviews or multiple applications to follow up on, it would help to have a customized calendar. Such a calendar will automatically remind you of upcoming appointments or tasks. You can remind yourself to send thank you notes, follow up on an employer, submit applications before the deadline, and much more.
Use an External App or Tool
There are websites and even apps that are designed to assist candidates in organizing their job-seeking efforts. Installing or utilizing such a tool to organize a job search is a great idea if you are looking for a centralized way to record and monitor your various activities. An excellent example of such a tool is JibberJobber.
Separate Your Job-Related Emails
If you are applying for multiple job openings, your email inbox will likely be flooded with communications from different companies and networks. If your email is full and disorganized, locating a specific person’s address or contact information when you need it will be challenging. So, make sure your email is prepared for your job search by having a folder that’s reserved for job-related interactions. That way, your email communications will remain organized during the job search.
Opt-in for Automatic Job Notifications
Utilizing popular job search engines is a great way to find the newest job postings. Rather than spending a significant amount of your time scouting for open positions, sign up for notifications. New positions are posted daily on online job boards and professional networks. By subscribing to these alerts, you get instantly notified when a job that is relevant to you gets posted. You save time while searching for a job and gain an opportunity to build your candidacy.
Keep Track of Your Referrals
If you have mastered networking as one of your strategies in job searching, you`d want to keep track of those who refer you to other networks. It’s good practice to send a note thanking them for the referral and also updating them after you meet the person who they recommended you to. It shows that you are professional and strengthens your relationship with connections.
Target Specific Companies
If you have never visited sites of companies you wish to work at, you’ve most likely missed lots of job opportunities. That’s because most job openings are only posted on the company’s career page on their website. So, if there’s a specific company you want to work at, go to their career pages and bookmark them. Then organize them in a folder. This simple trick not only saves you much time but also helps you find legitimate job openings faster.
Export and Organize Your LinkedIn Contacts
Networking is still the most effective way to find a job. For this reason, most positions are filled through recommendations and referrals. So, it’s important to check if you have links to the hiring company - family, ex-colleagues, friends, etc. You can leverage LinkedIn features to simplify your networking process. You can also export your networks plus their relevant information such as the company they work for and their position into a spreadsheet. That way, you can conveniently search among connections for anyone working at a company you are applying to and request for a referral. Spreadsheets are great for this purpose because they offer lots of customization options.
Make Use of Cloud Storage
Organizing your job search you can use cloud storing systems like Dropbox to manage your application documents easily. That way, you won’t risk submitting the incorrect resume version or losing anything of importance. You can store your papers into folders that will assist you to quickly determine which employer and opening every document belongs to. It’s good to also save the job offer along with other materials to help you prepare for the interview if you are shortlisted.
Set Up Time to Get in Touch with People Weekly
It’s also wise to set aside some time each week to reach out to networks you’d like to meet. Have a list of referrals and target employers so that you can make a weekly plan and organize job search. That way, you can proactively contact persons who add value to your search. Remember, a meeting might not be possible during the same week you reach out to someone. So, build a schedule of weekly meetings in advance. Also, ensure that you check for updates from your list of networks on LinkedIn daily. Comment on posts, share articles, and endorse networks too. Aim for, at the very least, thirty minutes of activity on the platform weekly.
Follow Up on All Jobs You Apply For
Lastly, make sure you track every position you apply for. It falls upon job seekers to check on whether companies have reached in their application review procedures. Set one week and 30-day reminders and keep following up until you get closure. For each job you apply for, keep this information:
- The company/employer’s name;
- Their contacts;
- Your date of application;
- Deadlines plus interview schedules;
- Date of last follow up;
- Job status.
Now you know how to avoid being overwhelmed and disorganized when you are job seeking. These tips will definitely help you save time and maximize your efforts. Good luck!
While not many job seekers know this, another section you might consider including to make your application stand out is the volunteer one. With that said, you might now be wondering, “Well, but does volunteering count as work experience?” The answer is, “it does.” Especially if the experience you gained is relevant to the job you are applying to.
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