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How To Organize Your Job Search

May 10th, 2012

I did a search on Google for how to organize your job search, and JibberJobber came up on the second page.  I thought that was pretty lame, so I figured I’d write a simple post on how to organize your job search.

Why would you want to organize your job search?  I sometimes think organizing your job search is like balancing your checkbook… boring, mundane, unnecessary.

Well, it can be those things.  But I found in my job search that I had to keep organized, or I would quickly forget too much, especially who I was supposed to follow-up with.  Here are some reasons WHY you should organize your job search:

  • To help you feel more in control. It’s easy to feel out of control in your job search (after all, you lost your income, your title, your status, perhaps your dignity, and maybe more).  This is something you can be in control of. Don’t take this lightly – feeling out of control will not help you at all.  Feeling in control will help ensure your attitude is in the right place.
  • To help keep track of new contacts you meet. Networking is a big part of anyone’s job search, and if you are doing it right you are meeting dozens of people each week.  Dozens times weeks = lots and lots of contacts.  From personal experience, I can atest that it’s super easy to forget people… names, importance, titles, etc.  It’s even easy to forget who that most important person is that can help you network into your target company.  No big deal if your job search is ONE DAY.  For the rest of us, though, it’s critical to keep track of key people in our job search.
  • To help keep track of Target Companies. I prospect target companies.  I meet multiple people that help me network into the company, and I do different things with different people.  For example, I might send a resume to one, have a phone call with another, have lunch with another, and have a panel interview with four others.  How in the world do you keep track of all that in your head?  You don’t.  My sophisticated job search spreadsheet imploded around the time I had five applications I was working on at eBay.  It was just too much information for a spreadsheet.
  • To help keep track of jobs you apply to. This is obvious, right?  The devil is in the details.  Keeping track of jobs you apply to means tracking which version of what resume you sent to who, and when you need to follow-up.  It means logging when you had an interview, who was there, what you need to follow-up on later (questions you might have to research), and whether or not you sent a thank you letter.  It means tracking the relationships of people you interviewed with, whether you got the job or not, because those relationships might lead to something much better.
  • To help track what job search marketing tools (resumes, cover letters, 30 second pitches) you use where, and for what. It gets really confusing trying to remember what job you applied for, what was in the job specs, when you should follow-up, etc. This gets really complicated.

That, my friends, is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are other things to keep track of.  But you must keep track of those things.

How do you do it? Here are some options:

Job search spreadsheet: I tried this.  It worked for about two weeks, then it started to get too convoluted and confusing, and I missed appointments and call-backs.  FAIL.  Oh yeah, here’s another failure with a spreadsheet – some people spend too much time tweaking and retweaking their spreadsheet, all in the name of doing a job search. They are usually just hiding from the phone, or networking, and “optimizing” the spreadsheet as an excuse.

Sticky notes: Um, seriously?  I tried this system for organizing other things for a few years… it resulted in a ton of random sticky notes all over my desk, in books, in binders, etc.  No way to do a quick search, scan or any other reporting function.  Imagine this – a recruiter calls you and says “are you still interested in the job you applied to here, four months ago?”  Yeah, find the sticky note on that one!

Your PC, documents, etc.: I’ve had too many hard drive crashes to trust one PC.  No way.

Online Google Docs or something like that: Nope. If it’s not a database, it’s not what I need.  I want something that can make those logical connections (5 people at one target company; three jobs I applied to at that company; etc.)

Any of JibberJobber’s competitors: Go for it.  There are about 12 me-too sites.  Make that about 9, since a few have already gone out of business.  I have no idea what the other companies are doing with their technology, or what their users think.  But I do know this: after going to conferences with career coaches for the last 5 years, in general, no one has heard of any of the competition.  Not that that means they aren’t awesome, but if they aren’t getting their name out, and getting customers and users, they might not be the best place to trust your data for the long-term.

JibberJobber.com: Disclaimer: I’m totally biased. I know where we’ve come from, six years ago, where we are at, and where we are headed.  We are beyond dedicated to helping you not only organize and manage your job search, but have a personal relationship manager for the rest of your career, even if you are inbetween job searches.

How do you organize your job search?  Jump on the next JibberJobber user webinar to learn how.  It’s live, so come with questions, and get a sense for yourself if this is the company you want to trust your information with.

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3 Responses to “How To Organize Your Job Search”

  1. Excellent post Jason!

  2. Karen Findlay says:

    Your comment “even if you are in between job searches” really struck me. Its a rather clever way to point out the need for a JibberJobber, and it certainly rings true. Today’s economy, and likely tomorrow’s also, will require us to stay connected with our contacts . . . both to give and to receive . . . as we move through the various changes in our careers.

  3. Jason Alba says:

    @Heather – thank you :)

    @Karen, I love that phrase… I heard it from someone who runs a job club somewhere, but can’t remember where. In the olden days, we really could network when we were unemployed and then drop off the grid, but nowdays we need to nurture and maintain relationships since we are in transition so much more than before. And, those relationships might help us do a better job when we are working… they might be customers, consultants, referrers, etc.

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