11 tips for an organized job search
So, are you looking for a new job? Perhaps you are making a voluntary career transition. Maybe you’ve been laid off, or worse, fired. Regardless of the reason for your career move, one fact remains true: if you’re looking for a job, it’s vital to take an organized approach. Managing this search is just like managing any other large project. You need to create an infrastructure that allows you to work in an efficient and productive way. A successful job search requires forethought and action. Here are some tips for conducting an organized job search.
- Clearing and pre-clearing – If you are looking for a new job, it will be difficult to do so if your physical space is cluttered with piles of documents everywhere. Take some time to declutter. Clean out all the unnecessary items, archive the documents you need to keep, recycle the junk mail and bring some order back to this space! It will be easier for you to concentrate on your job search without all this chaos and disorder around you. Just be careful not to spend so much time decluttering that you start using it as an excuse to put off your job search. A few days should be enough.
- Create a job search schedule – Let’s face it – job hunting is hard work! If you are still employed while looking for a new position, be prepared to have an extremely busy schedule. If you are currently unemployed, realize that you really have a job – conducting a job search! Create a schedule that gives you enough time for all the activities you need to focus on to succeed: resume and cover letter preparation, job searching, networking, interviewing, follow-up, etc. Block off time on your calendar for job search activities and treat that time like any traditional work commitment. Be consistent in the amount of time you spend each day and week on new work activities so that you maintain your momentum and don’t lose focus and miss valuable opportunities.
- Arrange your equipment – Update your CV, cover letter, references and writing sample (if applicable). Ask for letters of recommendation and references from past or current supervisors, colleagues, and professional peers. Get some nice new stationery and stock up on print cartridges for your printer. If you want to use an outside printing source, some local printers will copy resumes for free during an economic downturn, so ask around! Be sure to have a computer with high-speed Internet access. An all-in-one machine for printing, copying, faxing and scanning will also come in handy during a career change.
- Create a job search center – Set aside a space at home (or wherever you do your search activities) and make it central to your job search. Keep all of your job search supplies in one place that will make it easy to find when you need them. This will also help you enter search mode when you are in this space.
- Create a paper management system for career movement – You may acquire a lot of paper in your search: resources, articles, sample resumes and cover letters, business cards of networking contacts, contact us later or rejection letters, etc. To the extent that you can maintain these items in paperless fashion, go for it. But if you must maintain hard copy paper, be sure to set up a job search paper management system or filing system to store in your job search center. Keep it simple and use whatever system makes the most sense to you for ease of use (binder, portable file container, traditional filing cabinet, etc.).
- Plan job search activities – Schedule job search activities on a daily basis such as phone calls to make, resumes to send, online applications to complete, informational interviews to conduct, etc. Record your search activities as calendar items, tasks, or assignments so that you take them seriously and treat them as measurable goals. Be realistic about what you can reasonably accomplish in a day, but also challenge yourself!
- Activity tracking – Organizing your job search includes keeping track of all information and communications. Record where and when you sent your resume, who you talked to, when interviews took place, etc. This information will prove vital when deciding when to follow up with leads. You can track all of this information using a calendar like Outlook or Google, or an online tool like JobFiler.com. Whatever tools you use, it’s important to be able to track the status of your job search.
- Manage your job search email – In today’s world, much of your job search will likely be done via email. Therefore, before you even begin your search, reduce the amount of email in your inbox so you can hyper-focus on your job search emails, which will quickly pile up. Create folders in your email system using categories that make sense to you, such as companies you’re applying to, contacts, resumes sent to, etc.
- Polish your online profiles – If you are looking for a new job in today’s market, you would be remiss not to develop an online presence on social media sites, especially LinkedIn, which is the most “professional” of the social media sites and can essentially serve as your online resume. But also consider other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The possibilities are endless for employers and your contacts to find you online. You might even have your own website, e-zine or blog. Maybe you post articles on various article marketing sites or serve as a guest blogger on other blogs. If you maintain profiles on any of the social media sites or have any kind of online presence, be sure to polish your profiles to promote the image you want potential employers and contacts to see.
- Change your greetings – Change the message that greets callers for each phone number you plan to use for job searches so that it sounds professional and conveys the information you want callers to hear. Be prepared, don’t panic!
- be positive – The longer the job search takes, the more likely you are to become negative about it. Try to maintain a positive attitude as much as you can by monitoring your progress and staying active in your search. When the going gets tough during the job search, many people get left behind and give up, which is counterproductive. Try to stay focused and make valuable contacts that are likely to lead to work. However, don’t get completely absorbed in the job search! Maintaining some balance in your life at this time will serve you well. Get enough sleep, eat well, see family and friends for pleasure, and make time for exercise.
Organization is one of the most important things you can do to keep your job search manageable. Just as being organized helps you improve every other area of your life, home or work, it will also help you navigate your job search quickly and efficiently and with less stress. It might even be the key to landing the dream job you’ve always wanted.
#tips #organized #job #search