Stay Organized During a Job Search

Looking for employment can feel daunting between networking, scheduling interviews, updating resumes, writing cover letters, following up on leads and searching for opportunities. That mixed with our current tough economy where many people are under financial pressure to quickly find a job can make it all the more challenging to stay organized during a job search.

There are three key areas where being organized can really benefit your search, saving you time and frustration, and ensuring you stay on top of your game.

Once you have assessed your payment needs, targeted industries, your skills and other issues such as child care and transportation needs, you are ready to begin your search, which involves three key components: time, workspace and contacts.

Create a calendar based on how much time you decide to commit to a search and include any appointments and to-do activities. Allocate time for networking, making follow-up calls, and sending out resumes and other correspondence. Tackle some of the most stressful activities first and focus on certain projects such as making phone calls or writing cover letters when your house is quiet. Save time by mapping routes when driving to drop off resumes or when making an in-person visit. Carving out “you” time to exercise or pursue a favorite hobby is essential to keeping you energized and avoiding depression.

Identify an area in your home to set up your computer and manage your files to stay organized and maintain a level of professionalism. Essential supplies include a supportive chair, a proper desk or work surface, telephone, a job search log and a calendar. Keep track of resume versions, job postings and correspondence with an electronic or paper filing system to have immediate access to the information you need.

Devise a system to maintain all your contacts during your job search. A card-file system enables you to fill out a card for each contact, including the name, title, contact details, source of the leads, and dates and summaries of conversations. You can also keep track of business cards with a binder system where you divide the cards into categories such as leads and companies contacted. Or consider using Microsoft Outlook, ACT! by Sage or other software programs to organize contacts electronically.

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