3 Ways to Retain Essential Information During the Job Search

job search tips
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job search tips

Organization is key when you’re on the job search, especially if you’re holding out for the right role and may be on the hunt for months. It’s easy to lose track of important details about job postings when you’re applying for every relevant job post you find. This could come back to haunt you when it’s time to pull yourself together for an interview.

Fortunately, we have a few simple hacks up our sleeves to keep your job search organized. Here is a list of the details you want to keep track of and how to maintain a minimalist organization style:

Let’s get digital 

Brush off those old computer class skills if you’re not using job search apps and digital forms on the norm. Exploring and mastering new technology is the simplest way to streamline your job search details.

You can use a basic spreadsheet to create categories and track important dates. Or you can invest in an intuitive app and level up your job search. An added bonus to going digital is the ability to link directly to significant documents you may need to access, external links that are useful, and even connect to your calendar.

Categories you should track in your job search include:

  • Company
  • Role
  • Starting salary
  • Benefits
  • Location
  • Hours
  • Values/Mission
  • Notes about what you like/why you applied 
    • Could come from branding on social media, the website, referrals from friends/network, you’re a customer, etc.
  • Date application was submitted
  • Date resume was submitted
  • Interview dates
  • Recruiter/HR contact information
  • Job offered/accepted

Keeping job search information in one place allows you to see if you’ve applied at different times to the same company (and forgot), and if certain details about one job jump out to you over another (such as starting pay or the commute). Not only will you be more successful in the job search, but you’ll also be able to make better decisions when you start interviewing and receiving job offers.

Move it to the cloud

You don’t keep your socks in your cheese drawer. OK, that is a stretch, but what I’m trying to say here is you need a clearly labeled place for all of your job search materials to live. When a recruiter calls you for an early screening interview, you want to be able to access important information on the spot. And because documents can be stored on the cloud, rather than your desktop, you can access these folders from anywhere, anytime.

This is particularly easy to do in a dedicated job search app like CareerShift. You can simply create folders and organize information for each job to which you apply. As you update your resume for a specific job, add a copy to the corresponding folder. Do the same with copies of your applications, and any important documents the company requests in the interview process. You never know if something might slip through the cracks and you’ll be called upon to resubmit.

Looking back over these folders when you’ve completed your job search (or start the next) will give you insight on how your resume has improved, and what was most effective in gaining recruiters’ attention on each job search. Keep a document in each folder containing notes about the application/interview process as well! You could tactfully provide insight for improving the candidate experience with constructive feedback at some point in the hiring process, proving you’re a valuable asset to any team.

Clean up your workspace to clear your mind

This could mean clearing your physical desk, or it may mean organizing your digital desktop. Whatever is cluttering up your life is also cluttering your mind. Don’t wait to scan those documents in and add them to your cloud folders, do it now. Then put them away in a file box or recycle them if possible (remember, you have a cloud copy). 

Having a clear workspace and checking off your list of to-dos ensures nothing is overlooked in the process of getting organized, for one thing. Consider getting a call from a recruiter and pulling the folder up for a quick confirmation of your references, and you come up empty-handed. Now you remember. You laid that document up on the shelf above your desk two weeks ago and it’s still there under your empty coffee cup and a book you’ve been trying to get through since last September.

For some people, procrastinating and then stressing over undone tasks is a normal cycle. But the pressure can build up until something has to give, and in the meantime, you lose valuable information in your headspace as your brain tries to self-preserve. Simply keeping your job search documents and details organized can prevent freezing up or burning out when it comes time to show recruiters what you’ve got.



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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.