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Feeling out of control in your job search? How to get organized...

Career Exploration The Hiring Process

Question: I’ve only been job searching for a week, and it’s already out of control. Yesterday a company called me in response to my résumé, and I couldn’t even remember who they were. What do I do now? Answer: Take a deep breath. The good news is that you’re obviously doing a very active job search. Some people apply for one job, then wait and wait (and sometimes wait some more) for the employer to contact them. They may go weeks before they give up on that job and start looking for another. This is a great way to extend your job search for the longest time possible. You have the opposite problem: more leads than you can keep track of in your head. So how do you organize them? This has a lot to do with personal preference and how you are accustomed to organizing information. You might get a three-ring binder with dividers for various sections. You might want an alphabetized section to keep track of companies you apply to and their contact information. You’ll probably want a calendar so you don’t miss any interviews, networking meetings or other events. You could have another section where you store information about the companies you’re interested in: their website, recent news reports, perhaps their Dunn & Bradstreet report, the first few pages you get when you Google the company. If you prefer to store your information on a computer, you could create a folder or sub-folder for each company. Or if you’re interested in several different jobs or industries, create a folder for each one, and then make sub-folders for each company. Either way, it’s a good idea to save a copy of the cover letter you send in with your résumé. It helps you remember whom you’ve told what. Keep your notebook near the phone, and with you when you’re out and about. Then, next time a company calls, you can reach for your notebook, flip to the section where you store that company’s information, and you’ll be on the same page as the employer (literally.)