Monday, March 2, 2015

Organize your job search

Author: Viktoria Polgar

I love to organize. Dealing with lists; notes, to-do list, shopping list, spreadsheet for finances etc. As I am really a list maker person of course I do have a list containing my job search information. I know that not all of us share this passion; nevertheless, I would like to share my opinion on how it may help you.

I am not talking about a special tool. I simply use an Excel spreadsheet in which I input the relevant information about the job ads that I’ve applied for or want to apply in the future. I know that not everyone is a fan of lists and writing down everything, but it’s worth the time because you could really benefit from maintaining a list of the jobs you’ve applied for or want to apply.

Why is it useful?

First, it allows you to easily see your search at a glance and gives you a good overview that highlights what you’ve done that day or week for achieving your goal (finding a job).
It’s also useful as a reliable and handy source when a recruiter contacts you regarding an application. Within a few clicks you can follow up (which one it is or what documents you’ve sent them) as well as refresh your thoughts about a job search. It’s simply faster and easier to keep track of the information!

Also, there is great benefit to seeing the lines in your spreadsheet, which may make you feel much more effective after spending long hours searching and reading job ads. After you’ve worked on your job search, the visibility of the many new rows shows you how productive you were. This has a positive effect on your motivation and mood – and we know that sometimes this is the most important and necessary thing for us.

What do I put in my spreadsheet?

I start with the basics: position, company name, position ID/reference ID, location, distance, contact, date of the application, document used for application and of course, a comment column. If I have information about the working hours, salary, or any other useful data which I could find, I usually put them in the comment field – the link could be inactive in the future if the info is form the internet. The date of the application is much easier to put in here than searching through the e-mails later, especially if you apply through a job site and the confirmation e-mail does not arrive immediately.

I also use highlighting, different colors for different issues, such as:
  • If I don’t have the time to apply for jobs right away for viable job ads, I just write in the information, copy the links and highlight it. That way next time I open the file, it will stand out as a reminder to follow through on those ads.
  • Any information regarding your personal preferences – for example jobs where the commute would be more than 50 minutes
  • If there is a company what I really liked and want to check their opportunities in the future as well or I want to avoid them because of bad experiences
In the same Excel file on a separate tab, I even have some hyperlinks of the mostly used job sites or companies containing my account name and resume info which makes it much quicker to check their actual openings.

Whatever information is “Relevant” to you is subjective (different industries, personal preferences, etc.). The best thing to do is to collect and include all information which is important to you because that’s what will make your search easier. 

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