Keeping Track of Your Job Search
The Job Search Tracking System
As you go forward in your job search, you will find yourself accumulating a large amount of information. You need to organize and plan. Start saving job search information in an organized way on your phone or laptop so that you can use it effectively in your job search. This includes keeping track of any custom resumes you developed for specific employers. And jobs to which you have applied. You need to have your custom resume and the job posting readily available when the connection is made.
Begin now to plan your day, plan your week, and plan your life. Fifteen to thirty minutes a week will pay back in multiples down the road, especially when you are organizing your job search.
It's not rocket science, but applying simple planning and organization principles will greatly increase your efficiency and productivity. No more missed appointments. No more forgotten assignments. No more lost phone numbers. And a much greater emphasis on completing tasks and reaching a definable goal, day in and day out.
If you are looking to organize a complex job search (with more than 100 potential employer contacts), you might also look into using contact software to automate the planning and tracking process. My personal suggestions would be Microsoft Outlook (included in most versions of Microsoft Office), which can handle large numbers of contacts with ease and efficiency. It provides an easy-to-use interface, calendaring, scheduling, reminders, and the capabilities to both capture and update information about the people you are contacting. But Outlook is only as effective as the data you place within it. Dedicate time to using properly. Alternatively, you might want to use Excel to build a spreadsheet to track all of the key contact information.
Another option is to use a contact manager in Gmail or on your mobile. Some can interface with your desktop through the cloud to keep all your contacts in sync.
Even though you may use your computer and mobile, your should still always be ready with pen in hand. Pocket organizers are portable and available, if you don't have one, even post-it notes will work. You should be prepared to record each and every bit of information, no matter how minor or insignificant it may sound, as it occurs. Do not get caught in the "I'll write it down later" trap, because you will often either forget or lose the information by then.
No matter what you use—paper planner, contact software, or mobile—you need to use it consistently to be effective. Dedicate the time and energy to make it work for you. It takes time up front to be committed to the system, but it will definitely pay off over time.
It's amazing how often you will find yourself going back to a name or phone number that you recorded weeks or even months before. After your job search is complete, the information you have gathered will serve as the networking foundation for all future job searches. Capture the information and use it wisely.