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Stay Ahead of the Chaos: Organize Your Job Search

With all of the resumes, research, and interviews you have to juggle, it’s easy to lose control of any job search. As things spiral out of your grasp, you grow stressed out and exhausted. Your hunt for employment suffers.

Luckily, exploiting a few simple tricks at the beginning of your search can ward off disaster. Here are three easy ways to keep everything in order.


Create a Schedule

Time management is a skill every job seeker needs. Start by making a long-term schedule for yourself, including items like Submit [#] applications by [DATE] and Attend [#] networking events each month. Then, use this agenda to create daily to-do lists each morning. Breaking big goals into small, bite-sized steps will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and keep you focused throughout your day.

When completing your short-term checklist, pay attention to the times of day you are most productive. Try to structure your schedule around these periods, doing errands and other less demanding activities when you are less efficient.


Woman organizing email inbox


Prepare Your Email

With so much focus on online applications these days, email may well be the greatest tool at your disposal. Send and receive all your job search-related emails with one address. This will prevent you from missing important messages and make it easier to find and track emails when needed. Choose your address with care— a corporate account may concern employers with your use of company time, while free email providers come with a range of stereotypes. You might even consider establishing an entirely new email address dedicated to your job search, eliminating the risk of losing great opportunities beneath personal emails.

Once you have the email account you’ll use, set aside an hour to organize it. A disorganized inbox is confusing and difficult to navigate, forcing you to spend time searching and trying to remember which messages still need a response instead of applying to new positions. Take advantage of the built-in folder, tagging, and prioritization tools your service offers. An effective inbox management system allows you to be confident that you will notice high-priority emails, consistently provide employers with timely responses, and always be able to locate important conversations.


Woman looking through stack of paperwork


Keep Records

Past applications and other related materials are excellent references for future resumes, interview answers, and follow-up letters. There are two essential pieces to managing job search records: 1) the system and 2) the documents kept.

The three main record keeping systems are paper-based, computerized (paperless), and cloud computing. The right approach for you depends on your personal preferences. Hard copy and cloud-based records will be unaffected if your computer crashes, but paper takes up space and may cause clutter while access to cloud documents relies on an internet connection. For added security, use two of these methods.


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Good record management also means only saving what you need. Come up with a way to decide what to hold on to and what to throw away. Here are some things you might keep:

Make sure to develop a plan for naming your files. Whether you’re labeling manila folders or renaming computer documents, sticking to a single method will help you find what you need quickly.

By Erin Coursey, iHire | October 11, 2016
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