Each application during a job search means new contact names, company information, paperwork, résumé tweaks, possibly an interview to schedule, and more details to juggle in your head. With all these moving parts, staying organized is critical. But where do you start? What tools do you use?
We spoke with Cheryl Rich Heisler, president and founder of Lawternatives, which offers career consulting to lawyers, to identify ways to maximize your efficiency and organization during your job search.
You may be tempted to just dive in and start applying to jobs, but that’s not the most effective or efficient approach in the long run.
Instead, you need to map out a plan, which can include your goals, as well as the tasks you need to complete to work towards it. The individual pieces of that plan can vary depending on your own personality and needs, Heisler. For example, you might commit to making 10 to 15 new contacts each week to advance your network.
Create a structure that suits you and stick to it. You might need to make tweaks along the way, but the general flow will still be there.
Creating diagrams and flowcharts can be a good way to help you remember your contacts and the connections made through them, Heisler says.
For example, if a friend introduced you to an employee of a company you want to apply to, use the diagram to illustrate that and to connect that person with the company’s recruiter. Before an interview or phone call, review the connections you have at a particular company; you might be able to use that information when speaking with a recruiter to stand out.
There is a ton of paperwork to fill out throughout the application process, and to stay on track you need to keep all paperwork updated, Heisler says. If you wait to fill out part of an application or to send a thank-you note, the chances of you forgetting about it increase, especially when there are other aspects of the job search you are thinking about. When something happens, immediately update your paperwork. This will keep you on track and ready for the next step, whatever it may be.
Keep all of the information you have gathered in one place, such as a paper binder or online folder, Heisler says. Be sure to include contacts, the stage of the application process you are on and any relevant company information that will help jog your memory about a particular job and application.
Regularly review this material to keep it updated.
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