Highlights from Chapter 4 in our forthcoming book.
This penultimate entry from our new book helps you save time and energy by setting up a simple tracking system and using your ultimate weapon–your phone–to find the perfect job.
How to Organize and Track Your Job Search
If your search requires you to apply to more than one job, read this section for how to keep track and keep your sanity.
When on the hunt for a job, it’s not uncommon to be applying for multiple opportunities at once.
This is especially true for those of us just starting out in our careers. But multiple applications mean different resume versions, various cover letters, and many different deadlines to keep track of. With so many moving parts at once, it’s easy to become disorganized.
But a disorderly job search process can lead to embarrassing mistakes such as lost phone numbers, confused deadlines, and missed interviews.
To help you avoid these downfalls, here are a few tips to help you keep your job search organized.
Step 1: Start with Your Career Goals
It’s natural to want to just jump right in and begin filling out job applications. But before you do, it’s best to take a step back and get a look at the bigger picture. Your career journey should start with a look at the direction in which you’re headed.
Thinking through the career path you’d like to pursue is one of the most important steps to take. How are you supposed to get anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go?
Reflect on what you’d like to do and why you feel that’s the right path for you.
Start by thinking about your long-term goals as those don’t need to be overly specific. Where do you want to be ten years from now?
Then work backward from there down to five years, one year, and six months from now. Be sure to think through your personal goals in addition to your career and finances. Take your family, education, and anything else you value into consideration.
Step 2: Create a Schedule
Now it’s time to start building out a schedule.
First, identify blocks of time within your schedule between classes, work, and other responsibilities that you can dedicate to job searching. Job searching is a time-consuming process, and it requires regular attention.
Next, build a schedule to complete certain tasks you know you need to get done. For instance, devote one hour to cleaning up your professional online profiles like LinkedIn. Devote another hour or two to preparing your resume.
Perhaps even more important than actually setting up this schedule is sticking to it. Let’s be honest here: Activities like resume building and email sending are less than thrilling tasks. It can be easy to let these to-dos fall by the wayside and choose something a little more exciting to occupy your time. However, this will only put you behind and lead you down a path of disorganized job searching.
Step 3: Minimize Your Job Applications
Looking for a job is often a high-pressure situation, so you might be tempted to begin aimlessly applying for any open position you find. But even though applying for more jobs can make it feel like you’re increasing your chances, this is actually just a waste of your time — and an easy way to become disorganized.
Go back to your long-term and short-term goals. Narrow your search to only the jobs that align with those goals.
Next, narrow your search down to only the openings that match the level of skill you have. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your qualifications need to match up with those listed on the job description exactly. In fact, this will likely never be the case. Job descriptions should be more of a directional tool for whether or not you’re a potential fit for a role, so aim for an 80 percent match with the qualifications listed.
Step 4: Track Each Position You Apply For
Here’s where things can get especially messy. Applying for multiple positions at once leaves you with a lot of different things to manage. It’s very important to make sure you’re keeping track of all of the different details as you go along.
One of the best ways to do this is to create a spreadsheet. This is an easy and effective way to help you keep track. Don’t worry about making anything too fancy. Just be sure to include basic information such as:
- Company name
- Contact details (name, email and phone number) of your contact at the company, in most cases a hiring manager
- Date applied
- Deadlines for upcoming information the company asks for, and scheduled interviews
- Date you followed up after an application submission or interview
- Status of application: whether you’ve been rejected, are waiting to hear back, or have an interview scheduled
Tools for this include Excel and the Glassdoor’s Job-Search Tracker spreadsheet.
However, setting up a tracking system alone is not enough. You need to be diligent in updating your system each time you take a new action or receive an update from a potential employer.
There are so many different things to keep track of when job searching; but by following these few simple tips, you’ll be ready for a more organized and effective job hunt.
How to Use Your Phone to Find a Job
If you’re looking for your first job, you may be more comfortable on your phone than on a job site.
Have you ever emailed yourself the link to a job listing so you’d remember to apply when you got home to your laptop? Or have you ever missed out on a position because you applied too late? We’ve all been there, but you don’t have to be.
Lucky for you, there are a bevy of apps, including Glassdoor’s app for iPhone and Android, that can help you in your job search and even help you find a dream job. Read more here.
How To Capture an Employer’s Attention in 6 Seconds
Depressing statistic: Recruiters and hiring managers only spend an average of six seconds reading your resume. (We know, it hurts. But we also noticed that their attention span is even briefer than yours, haha — six seconds compared to your eight.)
That’s not a lot of time to capture their attention. That’s why it’s so important to know what potential employers are looking for in those few precious seconds, and put them in your resumes.
Consider: technical skills, soft skills, examples of impact, certifications, and quantifiable successes. Read more here.
Cover image used with permission from and gratitude for kinga-cichewicz-HYcXUU-mLwE-unsplash.jpg of Unsplash.
This post comes to you as a portion of the book:
MY JOB Gen Z: Finding Your Place in a Fast-Changing World
(c) 2021 by Suzanne Skees and Sanam Yusuf
An open-source, narrative nonfiction book full of true stories of jobs along with best practices for how to make your dream-job come true.
Note from the authors:
Join us each Tuesday and Friday as we release highlights from our new book, that will be FREE to our community members.
Share with your friends and followers; it’s FREE, open-source, and available to everyone.
No one makes a penny on this book project, which is intended to inspire and empower Gen Zers to launch their careers and land their dream jobs. Suzanne and Sanam have volunteered their time, and we’ve chosen this platform to transmit our book so that YOU don’t have to pay for publication costs.
However, if you feel inspired to help someone in poverty to have access to dignified work, jump here to donate directly to the nonprofit job-creation program of your choice–all vetted and supported by Skees Family Foundation.
Thanks for being with us! We’re excited to share our book with you.
–Suzanne & Sanam