It’s a situation you never want to find yourself in – a recruiter calls after receiving your application, and you have no idea what position they are contacting you about. Not only will you be embarrassed, but chances are you won’t be hearing from that recruiter again.
There is nothing wrong with casting a wide net. It certainly increases your odds of finding a job (assuming you applied to relevant positions), but it can be hard to keep track of all your applications. Soon, you find yourself in the humiliating situation outlined above.
The best way to prevent this is to get organized! The sooner you do, the better off you’ll be. Here are some tips on how to organize your job search:
Start from day one
It might be too late for some of you, but try to start your job search with a basic plan of how you intend to organize your applications, resumes, etc. It’s much easier to organize everything from the beginning than it is to go back through weeks, and maybe even months of materials pertaining to your job search.
Save job postings you’ve applied to
If you apply to enough positions, things can get out of hand quickly. Save all of the job postings you’ve applied to in a folder. If you want to store them on your computer, saving the postings in PDF form will probably work best. If you applied to postings that were non-electronic, scan them to your computer if possible. You could even print out job postings and keep them in a physical folder, as long as you keep it in a safe place that you’ll remember. Another option is to create a Microsoft Excel sheet with a list of jobs you’ve applied for. You could include contact info, the date you applied, and more if you really want to be on top of things.
Manage your time effectively
You’ve likely heard the saying that “looking for a job is a full-time job.” This is absolutely true. It can be easy to put things off, but hours turn into days and days turn into weeks pretty quickly. You will get out what you put into your job search. If you apply to one or two openings, the odds simply are not in your favor, so be aggressive with your applications. With all of this being said, don’t forget to relax occasionally. Your job search is important, but it shouldn’t consume all of your time. If it does, you will only stress yourself out even more. Try to put things into perspective and put your best foot forward.
In the end, the benefits of staying organized during your job search far outweigh the extra effort you have to put in. You don’t want to lose out on a position (and perhaps future positions) because you were too lazy to keep track of your applications. To put it simply: the cost of being organized is nothing compared to the cost of being unorganized during a job hunt.