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Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Job Seekers: How to stay organized while on the hunt


Job hunting these days is less like dating and more like having your face stomped on repeatedly by a rubber boot. Forbes reports that a single job listing will get an average of 118 applicants, yet only 27 percent of those applicants will actually receive an interview. If you're serious about your job search, you're very likely applying to dozens of positions every day. This can lead to a lot of complications, such as forgetting which jobs you've already applied to. Finding a new job should be treated like work: you need to be structured, organized and consistent if you are to be successful.

Managing separate résumés for better fits

If you're looking at multiple types of industries and positions, you need to have multiple résumés that resonate with the hiring manager you're targeting. If your last two positions were tech support in a healthcare company and administrative support for a real estate company, you might even have up to four resumes: healthcare-focused, real estate-focused, tech support-focused and administration-focused. There are applications such as Résumé Tracker, which will allow you to track the different versions of your résumé easily, but you can also simply name them in a consistent fashion, and keep them all in the same folder on your hard drive.

Mind the image you present

Take a look at the image you present to the people you're approaching - does your résumé look professional?  Are you using a professional email address?  If you're sending a physical résumé printing it on high quality paper can help - just avoid cheesy patterns or overly busy stationery.

If you plan on presenting references, be sure those references know about it, are willing to help, and are warned that you've just sent out a bunch of résumés.  It can also be helpful if you confirm that they believe you'll be a good fit for the jobs you're applying for and are willing & able to give you a positive reference. 

Organizing your job applications with ease

Applying to a specific job multiple times can be a disaster. Not only does it make you look unorganized, but you could also accidentally represent yourself in multiple ways, and thus make it appear as though you're being shady about your credentials. It's somewhat easy to tell whether you've applied to a position when using job applications online, as you can simply check to see whether you've signed up or not under your email address. Responding to classified ads, on the other hand, can be a little more difficult. You could keep everything in an Excel spreadsheet, or you could also start using an application such as Jibber Jobber.

Time management isn't only for after you get hired

It's important for you to be consistent when it comes to your job hunt. As Huffington Post notes, you should schedule specific times for your job hunt, and you should approach it like a job. You can create a routine that involves set hours of your day, and during this time, you should focus only on procuring your next position. You should also set small goals for yourself each day, much like projects. These tasks must be actionable steps you can control, such as filling out 10 applications in a day, rather than steps you can't control, such as acquiring an interview within a week.  This can also help you feel the momentum of the process.

Don't stumble at the finish line

Organization doesn't stop once you get an interview. You also need to manage your appointments effectively, and ensure you never miss an interview and you're never late. If you're going to an interview in an unfamiliar area, you may want to head out early, or scope out the location beforehand. Smartphones are absolutely superb for creating appointment notification, as well as getting directions. You should also remember that it's impolite to be late, but it's also impolite to be more than 15 minutes early.  It's OK to show up early to keep unforeseen delays from making you miss the appointment, but when you do, simply hang out at a nearby coffee shop and wait until 10 minutes prior to the interview before going into the building.

If you have any other tips to share, please let me know. 

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