How to Organize Your Job Search

Have you ever sat down to apply for a job and struggled to remember where you put your most current resume?  Or been called for an interview but had no idea who or what the job was about so you end up faking it? Yes, that actually happened to me…though I must have faked it well… I got the job.

However, I will never forget the feeling of panic as I struggled to remember when and how I had applied, frantically clicking folders on my computer desktop trying to find the files I had used to apply.

Frankly, I freaked out. I could have lost a prime job because of my disorganized ways. Which is unacceptable to my over organized little heart. So I promised myself that I wouldn’t let it happen again.

After much research (I’ve just spent 4 years working with clients as a “Job Search Coach”, among other things, with a pretty high success rate) I think I’ve come up with a pretty good solution.

The first thing you need to do is to decide how you want to store your job search files. This is important, especially if you don’t want to spend scads of time searching for files, or recreating the wheel over multiple devices and systems.

Storage Options

You have a couple of options here.  You can 1) keep them in the cloud, my personal favorite, using services like EvernoteGoogle Drive or Dropbox. Or 2) you can physically carry them with you on a computer hard drive, flash drive or a CD. No matter which option you choose the basic folder structure will be the same.

Basic Folder Structure

My Job Search Folder
“My Job Search” Folder Structure
  1. Applied To (Folder) – This folder will contain sub-folders for each company you’ve applied at, along with a folder for each job title. In the Job Title folder you will store all the relevant files used to apply for that specific job.
  2. Archive (Folder) – The Archive folder should be used to store outdated information that you may need to refer back to at a later date.
  3. How Tos & Articles (Folder) – This folder is used to store all of those job search articles you’ve bookmarked.  (Psst…ya know, like this one.)
  4. Non-Targeted Resumes (Folder) – Use this folder to store your “General Resume” or “Industry Specific” resumes for posting on job search sites or the occasional “send me your resume” situation. These resumes are used if you don’t have a specific job to apply for.
  5. Templates (Folder) – This folder will hold all of your templates. The basic shells for all of your job search documents.
  6. Tracking (Folder) – Here’s where you will keep track of the who, what, when and why of your job search. You can use a spreadsheet, a word processing document or event a text file.  Doesn’t matter how you do it, just be consistent.
  7. Master Resume (File) – A “Master Resume,” sometimes referred to as a “Lifetime Resume” is a fantastic tool in your job search arsenal.  It’s the “one resume to rule them all” resume! I’ll be writing more about this in a later post.
  8. Master Application (File) – A “Master Application” is an general application that you can fill out and keep with you for reference.  There’s nothing worse than trying to fill out an application and not having all of your information with you.
  9. Professional References (File) – This file has the names, contact information, and relationship to you for at least three (3) professional references.  These are people you have worked with in the past; usually past supervisors, co-workers, or clients that can talk to a perspective employer about your skills and abilities.

Having a well organized job search goes along way toward staying sane when your looking for employment. Hope this helps.

Love, peace and good luck!