Why is it important to organize your records for your job search

  1. Career Guide
  2. Finding a Job
  3. How To Organize Your Job Search
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A well-organized job search can maximize your chances of success by helping you keep track of all available opportunities. Regardless of the kind of job you are looking for, organizing your search will have a direct impact on results. Knowing how to organize your job search is a valuable skill, but it requires research and discipline. In this article, we discuss why organizing your job search is important and provide actionable steps to help you get started.

Why is organizing your job search important?

Most job search situations require the applicant to submit applications to a large number of different positions. Over time, the number of applications, follow-ups and replies become difficult to manage, which may lead job seekers to miss application deadlines, mix up interview times, forget to follow-up on older applications and more. This is why knowing how to organize a job search and keep track of all related activities is an important step toward landing your desired position.

Related: Effective Job Search Tools To Get You a Job

How to organize your job search in 8 steps

Consider these steps when trying to coordinate all activities related to your job search:

1. Define your career goals

Before you start applying for jobs, you need to figure out exactly what kind of job you are looking for and what your expectations are from that respective position, both short term and long term. This is an important first step because it allows you to narrow down your search, which will help you manage all job search activities. Consider your professional skills, job expectations and personal goals when determining the kind of jobs you want to apply for.

Related: 15 Job Search Tips for Landing Your New Position

2. Create a job application table or spreadsheet

You can keep track of all job applications through a simple table or spreadsheet. You can do that by using any office software you are accustomed to, or even a pen and paper. Here are the main elements to include:

  • Company name: The first column should state the names of all organizations that you apply to.

  • Company information: Next, add details regarding each company, such as location, products or services they offer and their number of employees.

  • Person of contact: Include the name of the employee handling the recruiting process for each job you apply for.

  • Contact information: After their name, write down the email address and phone number of your person of contact for each organization.

  • Date of application: Make sure to include the date you submit each application.

  • Date of interview: You should also write down the date of any scheduled interviews.

  • Follow-up: Include a record of any follow-up messages with each organization you applied for.

  • Status: Specify the current situation with each application, and keep this updated as you progress in your job search.

  • Listing source: Take note of the online or offline resources where you found each job you applied for.

  • Job rating: Finally, include your personal preference for each position compared to others you have applied for. This could be on a scale of 1-10 or 1-100.

3. Create a job search schedule

Setting aside time for job searches can be difficult if you have other commitments, such as another job, college classes or family obligations. Determine how much time you can dedicate to job searches, and create a schedule to keep you organized. By setting aside specific occasions to work on your job search, you can use that time to fully focus on your task.

A job search is a process, so for the initial stages, you will be spending time organizing your resume and researching potentially suitable companies. As the search goes on, you will usually spend more time communicating with companies and following up on applications.

Related: 9 Job Search Strategies To Help You Find Your Dream Job

4. Keep the number of job applications to a minimum

Although it may be tempting to think that you're more likely to get interviews if you apply to more jobs, this is not usually the case. Applying for a high number of open positions may mean that you won't be able to give all of them the attention they need. Instead, less is more in this situation.

By applying for fewer jobs, you can spend more time on each application, which will allow you to personalize your resume and cover letter for every job. Pick positions that align most closely with your short-term and long-term goals as well as your skill set.

5. Constantly optimize your resume

Your resume is usually the main factor that determines whether or not you will be invited to a job interview, so it needs to be designed in a way that maximizes your chances. If the jobs that you are applying for are different when it comes to required experience and skill set, you will need to modify your resume in a way that highlights your most suitable qualities for each role.

This doesn't mean that you have to completely redo your resume for each new position you apply for. Instead, you can use the same base resume and make small modifications to match the job description.

6. Make a list of desirable companies

Knowing what companies you want to work for most can help you organize your job search because it keeps your focus on a select list of target organizations. Researching their company culture and history will help you customize your job applications and increase your odds of doing well in an interview.

However, this doesn't mean that you should limit your job search to just those specific companies. Still, you can use them as a benchmark when assessing professional opportunities from other companies.

7. Make full use of the internet

The internet is not only a very effective job search resource, but it also provides many useful organization tools. Calendar apps help you keep track of important dates, such as interview appointments or scheduled follow-ups, which can be very helpful when dealing with multiple companies and job applications at one time.

Job search websites also have useful tools to help you keep track of all actions and opportunities. You can set up job alerts that notify you when jobs that fit certain predetermined parameters are listed on the website.

They also provide you with ways of keeping track of jobs you are potentially interested in or that you have applied for. However, you should still write everything down in your table or spreadsheet, as it's the best way of keeping track of job search events from multiple sources at once.

Related: How To Use Your Phone To Search and Apply for Jobs

8. Constantly track your actions and progress

If the job search goes on for multiple weeks or more, a good way to optimize it is by compiling relevant statistics. They will help you in your job search by revealing the areas that you need to improve on. Some of the relevant metrics that you can track include:

  • New people that you contacted in a week

  • New jobs you applied for

  • New suitable companies you identified

  • How many leads from these companies you discovered

  • Follow-ups made

  • Interviews attended