One of the hardest parts of looking for a new job is the sheer volume of things you need to keep track of. Many industry leaders suggest sending out two to three job applications per day (an average of 10 to 15 applications per week) if you’re serious about finding a new job.
When you consider the fact that each job may take weeks to get back to you, knowing how to organize your job search can feel overwhelming. If that’s the position you’re in, we can help. While everyone organizes a little differently, here are our top three strategies to organize job searches without getting overwhelmed.
Step 1: Find a Job Search Organization Tool
The first step is to locate a tool to organize your job search with.
This doesn’t have to be fancy, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. It could simply be a notebook or a computer spreadsheet, or you can get fancy with an online organization tool like Trello.
Whatever method you choose, your job search organization tool should include things like:
- Application deadlines
- The dates when you sent in your applications
- The date you plan to follow up on applications if you haven’t heard from the organizations you applied to
- The date you heard back from an organization
- Interview dates
Having one spot to go to when looking for this information can help you stay on track with your job search and ensure that nothing gets overlooked.
Step 2: Organize Job Search Paper Files and Electronic Inboxes
There’s a lot of paperwork that comes with a job search. Keeping that paperwork in one location allows you to find it when you need it and follow up with interviewers quickly and easily.
Keep a folder on your desktop labeled “Job Hunting.” Within that folder, keep every copy of your resume and cover letter that you make. While you may need to tweak these documents depending on the job you’re applying to, if you keep them on file, you’ll rarely need to start from scratch.
In the folder, you should also have a folder for each company you apply to. Within these folders, store any documents you’ve sent, recommendation letters you’ve requested, and other materials related to your job search. You can also include a brief description of the company. That way, if they call and request an interview weeks after you’ve applied, you can refresh yourself on who they are and what they stand for before you talk to them face to face.
In addition to organizing job search documents on your desktop, you should also organize any job search-related emails that come into your inbox. Consider creating a label for each organization you apply to. Then, any correspondence you engage in via email can be slotted into these folders. If questions come up down the road, you can easily locate any conversations you may have had, check which documents you sent to interviewers, and determine how long it’s been since a follow-up conversation.
Step 3: Schedule Time to Apply to Jobs
Sending out 10 to 15 applications a week is an arduous task, especially if you’re already saddled with college classes, a full-time job, or other responsibilities. So, one of our most important job search organization hacks is to actually schedule blocks of time when you’re going to apply for jobs.
Set yourself up for success by choosing a time — whether it’s one small session each day, a couple of long sessions throughout the week, or one long session weekly — where you can focus on job applications uninterrupted. Put this time in your calendar and treat it with the same respect you’d treat an interview or appointment: Show up on time, and stay until your task is complete.
You can make this process go more smoothly if you:
- Keep all application files, including resumes and cover letters, in one easy location.
- Subscribe to online job board reminders so you don’t have to spend inordinate amounts of time searching for jobs to apply to.
- Spend a few minutes of free time every day, outside of this scheduled time, looking for places to apply to.
The more you set yourself up for success, the more likely you are to apply to the best jobs in your industry.
The Best Organization Method Is the One That Works for You
Organization is a little different for everyone. A job search organization system that works for you may not work for someone else — and vice versa.
That’s OK! While we offer tips for staying organized, keep in mind that the goal of any organization system is for the system to work for you — not for you to work for the system.
Pathrise can help you find job organization strategies that work for you and your lifestyle. By working one-on-one with Pathrise mentors, you can develop the skills you need to improve your resume and cover letter, land more interviews, and find the job of your dreams.