Organizing your job search

If you have ever found yourself having to look for a new job, you know how daunting it can be.  As you reach out to your network of contacts and submit resumes to various job boards, you might find yourself in the position of being slightly overwhelmed.

I know from personal experience how awkward it can be when you receive an unexpected call from someone wanting to schedule an interview.  At first you are excited about breaking through the barrier and receiving a response . . . and then you think, “oh dear – which job was this again?”  The caller asks a simple question such as, “when you saw this position, what interested you most about it?”

A friend of mine shared with me a spreadsheet he keeps when searching for a new career opportunity that enables him to quickly check the job description and basic information.  “I used to save the link to the job description,” he explains, “only to find instances where you couldn’t access it anymore.  I decided to keep a spreadsheet with all the needed information so I can not only remind myself of the specifics about the job before a phone or in-person interview, but also keep track of any contacts I have at the company that may help me connect with the hiring manager.”

I have used his spreadsheet layout whenever I search for a new career opportunity and it works great.  I thought I would share it with you.  The columns he uses are as follows:

– Company Name

– Job Title

– Networking Contacts at the Company

– Last Action Date (last correspondence date)

– Job Description

– Open Action Items

By using this style of spreadsheet and color coding the rows into Dark Grey (looks like this is a “no thanks”), Yellow (it’s got potential), Green (the conversation has begun and the interview process is underway), and White (it’s new – nothing to report yet), I can quickly scan who I have sent my resume to and what stage it is in.

My Dad once told me that when you are looking for a job, you are trying to “sell yourself”.  In order to get a single “yes” you need to be prepared to receive 100 “no” responses.  “Now”, he would say, “go out and get your 100 no thank yous”.

By using this spreadsheet, I am able to get my 100 “no thank yous” and keep track of my progress.  Therefore, I can rest comfortably knowing that I will be better prepared to answer the delightful, but unexpected call.