Take a moment to think about how your job search has been going. Do you have difficulty finding the right copy of your resume to attach to an application? Are you forgetting to follow up on an application? Did you send your thank you letter three days late? Or do you simply feel like you have no idea about the status of your applications? If you’re answering yes to these questions, then you should take steps to get your job search organized. Here’s why this is crucial to finding a new job.
Research is a breeze:
Job seekers often forget that researching companies is the most important starting point to their job search. Cultural fit is crucial to both sides of the equation, and poor fit can cost a lot of time and money. The easiest way to avoid making this mistake is to do your research before you hit apply. Finding blog posts, news articles, social media mentions, and reviews of companies is easier than ever, but the more research you do, the more vulnerable you are to getting disorganized.
Having an easily searchable, categorized system to easily store your notes, articles, and other info is key to keeping your research organized. It helps you determine which companies to apply to, what to say to them in a cover letter, and how to approach them in an interview. It also helps you develop a profile of the types of jobs and the types of companies that you’d be interested in working for, and will make the search for new openings easier and faster.
Know where you’ve applied:
When you forget where you’ve applied, what cover letter you used, or if you’ve applied to more than one job posting at one employer, you open yourself up to a ton of potential mistakes. You might refer to something you thought was in the cover letter you sent, or by applying to too many varying job postings, show a company that you lack focus. Avoiding these mistakes is easy if you take the time to keep track of your applications. When your application history is clear and easily available, you’ll find yourself making fewer of these silly mistakes that will continue to plague many other disorganized job seekers.
Know what to do next:
Keeping track of your applications also helps you know what’s next in the process. Hitting apply on a job listing should never be the last thing you do. By not following up diligently, you’re crippling your own chances at landing an interview. If you’re late to an interview or forget to send a thank you note on time, you may leave a bad impression with the company. Any of these mistakes can irreparably hurt your chances at getting hired. Taking the extra effort to stay organized allows for a proactive job search, where you can do more than sit back and put your fate in the hands of a recruiter or hiring manager to judge you in your moments of weakness.
Impress the interviewer:
An organized job seeker should have notes, articles, and contact information properly stored, easily searchable, and categorized by company. Easy access to this information makes interview preparation a breeze. Your notes should include the pain points of the team and hiring manager, so use those to your advantage and address how you will positively impact the company on day one. You should be able to reference certain ideas that the interviewer may find interesting, all found while researching them online and on social media. You should also have a clear image of the company’s culture, which will allow you to make a strong case for why you’re a strong match for each other.
The end result will impress you:
Properly organized, your job search will become a breeze. Tailoring your resume and cover letter will be faster and more effective, allowing you to send the most impressive applications. You’ll no longer be frustrated by missed deadlines and forgotten details. Interviewing will be a lot easier as you have better conversations with interviewers and show them you have honest motivation to get started and join their team.
Few can truly claim they are professional job seekers (career coaches, resume writers, etc…), but everyone can take a few simple steps to be the best job seeker they can be. Staying organized is the first step you can take towards this goal, and it only requires the amount of time and effort it takes to set up a process for yourself. And most importantly, it’s the first (and easiest!) thing you can do to stay a step ahead of the competition.
Author: Stefan Mancevski is a co-founder at gojobhero.com, a free web & mobile job search dashboard for job seekers to organize, optimize, and upgrade their job search. You can follow Stefan on Twitter at @smancevski and JobHero at @gojobhero.