7 Tips for Organizing Your Job Search

Looking for a job can drive you crazy on its own regardless of what state you are looking in: Mississippi, Nebraska, Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota – it’s just tough. Don’t let disorganization send you into even more of a frenzy. Between lists of potential contacts, dozens of job-posting sites, and 20 different versions of your resume stored on your desktop, it’s easy to see how a little organizing can help you tremendously when searching for a job. Use these tips to make sure nothing slips through the cracks on the way to “You’re hired!”

  1. Set up a filing system on your computer:

    In this age of job hunting and applying on the Internet, you’re bound to find yourself overwhelmed with the number of files you end up saving. Resumes, cover letters, work samples; if you don’t find a way to organize them all, you’ll have a hard time finding anything you save. Set up easily accessible folders on your desktop, organize them in a way that makes sense to you, and then be consistent with filing documents into them. A clear desktop can help with a clear mind.

  2. Focus on your cover letters:

    Everyone does it; after you’ve applied to a handful of jobs, you start to reuse the same cover letters. As long as the contents speak to the job you’re applying for, it’s a great time-saver. The problem is that many people are in such a rush to get that cover letter into hiring managers’ hands that they don’t slow down to make sure they’ve replaced every mention of the companies they’ve sent this letter to in the past. You won’t be hired at Apple if your cover letter closes with “And that’s why I think I’d be a great fit at Microsoft.” Take the time to read through every cover letter before you send it, and if you’re using the same one over and over, make a checklist of every place the company’s name appears to assure you change each mention for each new job.

  3. Use an online job organizer:

    Sites like JibberJobber, JobMango, and Huntsy offer a one-stop online shop for keeping track of the jobs you’re looking at, your progress in the application process, and what connections might lead you to your next position. These sites save you the time it would take to create your own organization system and allow you to access it from any computer.

  4. Make a list of job banks:

    Any job searcher knows that you discover awesome new job boards all the time. But if you don’t write them down, you’ll probably never go back to check those that aren’t already part of your routine. Keep an active list of all the sites that post relevant jobs so you can look at them at least once a week instead of just refreshing over and over again.

  5. Set hours for your job search:

    It’s easy to let job hunting consume your life, so to keep your time spent searching and applying productive, give yourself a schedule. It will help you remember that you can have a social, active life outside of finding a job, as well as give some structure to your days. Set aside certain hours for job hunting, and consider breaking those hours down further — an hour on social media, an hour on job boards, an hour applying, etc.

  6. Filter your email:

    Putting a little time into setting up your email filters can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Filters can instantly archive or prioritize emails, so you always know where to find the important messages. And don’t be shy about unsubscribing from emails or sending them straight to spam. You don’t want to have to dig through a hundred mass emails from a job site to find out whether you’ve heard back from a potential employer. Figure out the email organization system that works best for you, and stick with it.

  7. Clean up your workspace:

    Just like you would do if you were working from home (which you basically are!), you need to dedicate a space to job hunting. Whether it’s a desk or your kitchen table, make sure it’s clutter-free and allows you to concentrate. Get rid of piles of papers, mail, and anything that will distract you from the task at hand.