Organize Your Job Search

By: Ryan Stewart

So, what is the best way to organize your campaign? Initially, you need to take a personal inventory on the specifics of your search. To start, you should:

  • Identify your skills and experience. What are you looking for in your next position? What issues do you need to consider (commute, travel, childcare, etc).
  • Locate and begin researching your target market. Are you searching by pharmaceutical companies or within a geographic area?
  • Prepare your career portfolio materials, such as your résumé, generic or posting-specific cover letter s, professional biography, brag book , etc.

After determining the direction of your job search campaign, you should ensure you have an organized approach to 3 major areas. Follow these initial steps to effectively organize your job search efforts:

  • Time - Determine how much time each week you can realistically devote to your search. You will need to build in time to search for, read and apply for advertised positions, but you also need to make sure you allow time to continue your networking efforts, write follow-up correspondence, following up on leads and visiting any employment professionals; like recruiting agencies. Be sure to work within your natural energy patterns if possible. Most people have a preference for the time they make telephone calls or search job boards so try to build this into your day. It is also helpful to tackle your least favorite tasks first thing each day to get them out of the way.

    Try keeping a time log that tracks the time you spend on certain activities. This can be an effective tool if you find that you are struggling to stay on task.
  • Space – Think of the space you have to conduct your job search. If it is organized like an actual office, you will be more inclined to approach your job search in a professional frame of mind. The bare minimum you need is a comfortable chair, a desk or table devoted solely to your job search, a telephone and basic office materials; like notepaper, pens and highlighters. Of course, it is helpful if you have a computer and a fax machine. Other supplies that streamline your job search include: index cards, telephone directory, file folders and a calendar. Establish a filing system for each custom-tailored résumé you have. Consider having a separate file for each job you apply to that contains the positing or advertisement, the cover letter you sent, the résumé submitted and copies of company information you have researched. This will make it easy to document any conversations on the inside of the manila folder and you can easily take that folder with you when you interview.
  • Contacts - A dynamic network of contacts is essential to any job search and successful career. Over the course of a typical job search campaign you will speak with hundreds of people so it is important to keep track of them. This is useful during your search as well as later on in your career. A great way to manage your contacts is a simple card file. Be sure to get a business card for anyone with whom you meet and develop a standard information card for those you encounter over the telephone or via e-mail. Track the obvious information like name, title, address, telephone and fax number, but go one step further and track the source of the contact. Think of it like the “6 degrees of separation" game. This is a great way to effortlessly expand your network. Be sure to develop a system that allows you to set up follow up reminders for meetings and telephone calls.

You already know that searching for a new job can be both time consuming and overwhelming but being organized can help you manage your network, stay focused and maximize your available time. All these can lead to expanded opportunitiesScience Articles, decreased frustration and perhaps a faster resolution to your job search!

Careers and Job Hunting
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