Keeping Your Job Search Organized Reposted by daytonjobs.com
Keeping Your Job Search Organized reposted by daytonjobs.com
As a recruiting management professional, I’ve called countless people who have each applied to a job but don’t know who I am when I call to interview them. Often when I give them all of the information about their application I’ll get a response such as, “I’ve applied to so many jobs I just don’t remember what I applied for.” I know right then that we’re not off to a good start. As an employer I can tell you that I’m completely underwhelmed.
Employers are looking for candidates to be engaged at their new jobs. Though it may not be true, an answer indicating that you don’t recall applying for the job sends the clear message that you don’t really have a true interest in the role or the company. It also indicates that you’re probably not an organized person. I realize that many companies take weeks or even months to contact you after you’ve applied but if you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot, you need to be organized so that you can put your fingertips on the information you need and when you need it.
With the capabilities of modern technology, keeping track of your job search should be easy. I encourage people to keep a folder for their current search. This can be an electronic folder or a manila folder, whichever is more natural for you. For each job to which you apply, keep a copy of the version of the resume and cover letter you used along with the job ad. If you’re doing this electronically, it’s easy to keep a separate folder titled with each company name easily accessible to your desktop. If you’re filing hard copies, simply staple and keep them all in one folder. Once you reach the interview stage, however, it’s time to make an individual folder for that job so that you have a place to add your company research as well as correspondence.
Make sure you keep all written correspondence with a company until its determined that your search has come to a close. You need to be able to refer to information about with whom you’ve communicated and when. I suggest you keep everything until you’re working again or no longer interested in working for that company. Even though a particular position with an employer may not work out, another role may come up later. You’ll thank yourself for being able to refer to previous conversations.
If you’re applying to so many jobs that you can’t easily remember them, you need a quick sheet to identify them. You should keep a spreadsheet to track the jobs electronically. For the hard copy method, create a list that you can staple to the inside of the front cover of your manila folder. Start with the company name, the title of the position, the date you applied and how you did so (applied online, emailed resume to firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.). Leave space for notes such as whether or not they contacted you, phone interviewed you or sent a note that they weren’t interested in you for the position.
Now, when you are contacted by a company, you’ll have all the information you need available to you. If you’re invited in for an interview you’ll know exactly which version of your resume you used, which cover letter you used and also still have the job description for the role. Make sure you use all of this information to prepare for your interview. If you do come in with an updated resume, you’ll know to explain up front what’s different and be prepared to answer questions about the changes. It’s important that if there are changes in your resume or just your situation, that you are able to explain those fluidly to a potential employer. If you don’t address them and later in the process an employer realizes they have different versions of your resume or your resume doesn’t match your application, these things will start to look like inconsistencies. From a hiring perspective, inconsistency is bad.
How can an employer feel they are making a solid hiring decision if the information about you keeps changing? And what other inconsistencies might they find later? All of this is avoidable as long as you stay organized.