How To Organize Your Job Search (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 11, 2020

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In the throes of an intense job search, submitting your resume to more companies than you can count on both hands is common. While you can breathe out a sigh of relief after sending a potential employer your completed resume, a job applicant’s tasks don’t stop there. Many job-seekers create application chaos for themselves by failing to keep track of who they’ve applied to.

Disorganization leaves room for error, missing important phone calls for interviews, and being perceived as a poorly prepared candidate. Creating and maintaining an organized system to assist in tracking your job search is crucial to landing your next position.

Why Is Organizing A Job Search Important?

Organizing your job search efforts is key to finding, impressing, and eventually working with an employer. Organization systems provide important information about each opportunity during a job search, like when you applied and the contact information of the person you reached out to about the position. It shows everything you need about the applications you’ve submitted to follow up accordingly and be prepared if they call you for an interview.

Maintaining organization when you apply for jobs also strengthens this skill for later when you use it on the job. It can be easy to slip into disorganized or lazy patterns at work. An employer will recognize a disorganized candidate, and it’s not an attractive quality when considering who to hire for an open position. Being organized during the job search will help you carry this over to working as an employee.

Organizing your job search makes it’s easier for you to find a job and can help you foster good habits to bring to the workplace once you get one.

There are many ways to structure your job search in an organized way. The method of organizing your job search depends on a candidate’s personal preferences and what will work best for their lifestyle. What keeps one person completely on track may leave another confused and frustrated.

Review the following ways to organize your job search and try different methods until you decide what works best for you and improves your productivity.

  1. Make a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet can be a very effective way of visually organizing your job search. It’s one of the most popular options for keeping track of job-hunting measures because it’s straightforward. It gives you the information you need concisely and keeps you on a schedule.

    Programs for creating spreadsheets include:

    • Google Sheets

      Job type you want
      Full Time
      Part Time
      Internship
      Temporary
    • Quip

    • Zoho Sheets

    The job search spreadsheet should be comprehensive and explain the companies you’ve applied for in a list. Consider all the information that you’ll need in the future pursuit of landing this position.

    Information you should include in your job-search spreadsheet:

    • The company that you applied with

    • The position you applied for

    • Who you contacted regarding your application and their contact details

    • The date you sent in your application

    • What you included in your application

    • If you’ve heard back, followed up, or received an interview for the job

    • Any job offers received

  2. Use a job search website. Using a reliable job search website can take a lot of the work out of organizing your applications. Most job search websites will automatically keep track of the job openings you’ve submitted a resume for and alert you if there have been any changes in the status of your application. Some sites will even give you the option of receiving emails for new job postings in your field.

    Using a job search website to organize your is an excellent option for the candidates who don’t want to build an entire organization system from scratch, but still want to stay on top of their applications.

  3. Write it out in a Word document. For the job-seeker who doesn’t want to work with spreadsheets but also doesn’t want to solely work through job search engines, writing out your application details in a Word document can be the perfect solution.

    You can either insert a table into your document or simply write out the information you need in lists. It should contain the same basic information as a spreadsheet, with additional details if applicable since you have more space to use.

    Programs for creating Word documents include:

  4. Download a project management app. Phone applications have long evolved past being just for games and now possess useful tools that you can use to organize your job search.

    Project management applications are made to bolster your success and help you meet your goals, making it a great alternative for organizing your plan to land a job. Deciding to use a phone app can also be useful to busy job-seekers because you can return to the details of your job-search wherever you are.

    Examples of project management applications include:

  5. Use the pen and paper method. While most of the world has adapted to using their computers for handling job-related tasks, the classic method of a pen and paper can still be just as effective. Using a traditional written method to keep track of your job search can be more personal than other organization tactics.

    Dedicate a specific notebook to all of your job search efforts and include all relevant information in your writing.

  6. Use online organizational tools. The internet provides many tools to help organize your job search and eventually land the position you’ve been dreaming of. A lot of users prefer to use organizational websites to assist them in finding a job because they supply a clear structure. It can also be helpful because it tells you exactly what information to include.

    Online organizational websites include:

  1. Check in weekly. Compiling a list of all the jobs you’ve applied to and the information associated with those applications is great, but part of the reason for doing this is to check back in on these opportunities. Weekly check-ins help you establish a schedule for when you should follow up with jobs, how many positions you’ve applied for, and how well your search is going overall.

    Establishing a routine for reviewing your application spreadsheet or document at the end of the week improves your chances of getting the position because you’ll be on top of deadlines and dates of when you applied.

  2. Don’t overapply. While it can be tempting to send an application out to every job opening that is even a little relevant to your experience, this may actually hurt your chances of landing the position you want. It creates an overload of companies and roles that you’ve applied to, which can lead to a lot of confusion.

    Additionally, overapplying to positions during a job search can quickly exhaust you. If there’s one thing you don’t want to be while finding a new job, it’s mentally drained. Only apply for positions that you can see yourself succeeding in and that are the right fit for your career goals.

  3. Turn on job search notifications. Many job search websites offer a helpful option to receive notifications when job listings in your field of expertise get posted to their site. Receiving email notifications about job openings with your search parameters keeps your search and organizational system current with the most up-to-date opportunities.

    It also takes a lot of the hassle out of logging into job search websites every day to see new postings.

  4. Use your calendar to follow application timelines. Including the date when you applied in your job search organizational system is needed to create an accurate timeline of how long it’s been since you reached out.

    Putting this information on your calendar can also reiterate this point and keep you on top of following up with potential employers. It can also be convenient when calls for interviews start rolling in, and you need to focus on scheduling.

  5. Include a company summary for jobs you’ve applied to. Including a company summary for the job openings you’ve applied to can be helpful for several reasons. The primary reason is that it can be a useful reminder when an employer reaches out or asks you to come in for an interview.

    Additionally, writing a summary about the companies you’ve applied to can get you more familiar with their values and goals. This can provide insight for if you even want to work with them in the first place, and if you do, it gives you an explanation for why.

  6. Create checklists for job applications. Applying for a job is a process with a lot of steps. To stay on track with your applications, implement a checklist of steps that lead to either getting the job or not for each opportunity you’re going after.

    After applying for a job, manage a tally of the actions that follow, such as:

    Keeping up with what actions have been taken in the application process for each possible position makes it easier to know what opportunities are still possible and which doors have closed.

Take the hassle out of your job search & get an offer faster
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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