Way back in 2010 (when this blog was still Adventures of an Unemployed/Newly Employed Librarian!) I wrote a series aimed recent graduates and unemployed librarians to help with job hunting. I thought it would be a good time to update that series for all my new readers and for any unemployed librarians out there. While this series is mainly aimed at library-related jobs, I think that everyone can find something useful here. If you missed Part I – Treat Job Hunting Like a Job, be sure to check it out.
Part II: Get organized
I can be very organized and compulsive when it comes to certain areas of my life, and job hunting was definitely one of them. I work better with a set schedule, to-do lists, and deadlines so I set up this process to suit my personal needs. Most of you aren’t as obsessive as I am, so you’ll want to set up a schedule and process that best suits you.
I established three ways of keeping track of the paperwork job hunting generates. The first was a job hunting binder to help me keep track of all the job postings I came across.
I used a 2 inch three ring binder and 4 dividers, labeled according to job type: academic, public, special, applied for. I printed off every posting I found that I thought I might possibly apply for (I know, a huge waste of paper, but necessary for me), and wrote the application due date on it. I then marked the date (using different colored highlighters) according to priority and arranged them in the binder in the correct category, according to their priority level. After I applied for the job, I wrote the date I applied at the top and stored it in the last section “applied for”, organized by date. When I followed up on the a job and/or heard back from the job in any way, I also marked that on the job description.
The second way I stayed organized was by establishing a flash drive just for job hunting purposes. I only stored job-related documents on the drive. That way I could carry it around and use it on different computers without having to email myself all sorts of documents.
On that drive was the cover letter for every job I applied to, and probably 5 or 6 different versions of my resume (another post coming soon to explain why I think you need multiple versions of your resume). I saved all working files as word documents and finished documents (ones that had been attached to a job application) in a PDF. Now, I’m a little obsessed with folders on a drive so I had folders that mimicked the sections in my binder. I found that helpful because when I was following up or needed to reference something, I could easily locate the correct cover letter/resume. I know a lot of people don’t save all their cover letters and may find this excessive, but again, this is what worked for me and kept me sane through all of this.
The third and last way I maintained organization was an Excel spreadsheet. I know next to nothing about Excel, but even I am capable of setting up a simple spreadsheet to help me keep track of all the jobs I applied to. I liked to think of the binder as way to keep track of all the job postings for jobs I wanted to apply for and the spreadsheet to keep track of all the jobs I applied for. My spreadsheet headings included:
- the name of the institution
- what sort of place it was (public, academic, special)
- where the job was
- what kind of librarian they were looking for (reference, circulation, etc)
- the date of the application deadline AND the date I applied
- whether it was an electronic application, an email application, or a print and mail one
- if I had followed up, the date of the follow up
- if I had received any correspondence from the library and what kind
- if I received a phone or in-person interview
Obviously, this was a huge spreadsheet, so I never printed it out, but I used it to keep track of how my job application was progressing. I stored it on my flash drive and updated it daily.
These three organizational methods worked for me. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep track of your job applications. It doesn’t have to be anything like the insanity described above, but you should figure out something to keep your applications and correspondance organized and findable.
How do you stay organized in your job hunting? Is my method to OCD for you?
Coming next week: Diversify Your Sources