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Key Tools & Tips for Being an

Organized Job Hunter

By: Michelle Metzger, Human Resource Specialist

Job hunting can be a difficult process but you can make it easier on yourself with a particular skill which we all often boast of on our resumes: organization.  An applicant needs to remember all of the different companies applied to and for what position, so when a recruiter calls there is no confusion.  Organization on the applicant’s part can assist them in coming off as a serious applicant versus someone who has applied to a random job.  Here are several tips and recommended tools for the different aspects of your job search.

Job Application

Tools for organization: desktop folders, MS Word, a customizable resume

After you apply to a position, you may save it to the job search engine or to your web browser’s favorites.  Unfortunately, those will often disappear when an employer removes the posting.  Utilizing Word & desktop folders, you can be sure to retain the necessary information.  Start by creating a folder on your desktop called “Job Search”.  Each time you submit your application materials, create a subfolder named a combination of the company name and job title.  Copy all of the posting information into a Word document and save it to the corresponding folder.

In this same folder, save a copy of the tailored resume and customized cover letter that you submitted for the position.  Your resume needs to be one that is easily tailored to specific positions.   It is a good practice to arrive to your interview with a fresh copy of your resume in hand.  It may be confusing to show up with a different version than the one submitted; therefore, it is helpful to track of the resume versions you create.

Saving these materials will help when a recruiter calls later so you can quickly locate essential information.  When you receive a call or message from a company in response to your application, find the posting in your folder and read up on it again in case the recruiter has any related preliminary questions.

Interview Scheduling

Tools for organization: calendar, day planner

You’re at the point when your job application process has paid off and you are beginning to receive calls for interviews.  Use a calendar that has notifications, either on your phone or email program.  Set these notifications to go off both a day and 2 hours before the actual appointment.  When saving the appointment to your calendar, include information in the notes section such as who your interview is with, estimated duration, and a contact phone number.  Keep a day calendar as a backup plan in the event technology fails, i.e. your phone battery dies, your computer crashes, etc.  There is no coming back from a no call/no show appointment.

Quick Tip: Research the company that you are interviewing with.  Save this research to the folder you created in the job application phase.  This is helpful for coming up with questions for the hiring manager and for learning about basic company values and mission.  A lack of basic knowledge about the company shows a lack of genuine interest and raises a red flag for your interviewer

Communication 

Tools for organization: BCC, email folders

Keeping your email communication in line can be another organizational challenge for a job hunter.  To avoid searching through your sent folder for communication you have sent, utilize the BCC (blind copy) function and send yourself the email.  Save these BCC’d emails to a “Job Search” folder in your email along with communication from potential employers.

Less thorough, but still helpful

Tools for organization: MS Excel

At the very least you should keep a spreadsheet with the following columns: Company Name, Job Title, Submission Dates, Job Duties, Company Research/Website, and Status.  This won’t help you keep track of your resume versions and cover letters, but at least you will be able to look up some generalities about the position for which a hiring manager is contacting you about.  Use the status section to record when you receive correspondence related to that position, have an interview scheduled, etc.

In Conclusion

Reduce the stress of a job search by being organized.  These small efforts will help you be better prepared when a recruiter calls and an opportunity comes along.  You will look like a diligent and prepared candidate.  Organization is a quality that employers are seeking in all applicants; demonstrate organization early and in each step of the way.