Organizing (and Loving) your Job Search

As someone who is currently looking for full time work, I realize the anxiety that comes with these months of uncertainty. With every mail that one doesn’t get a response to, every rejection with no accompanying reason, it’s natural to feel dejected.

There’s not much that can be done on how the receiver engages with what you give them, but there are a few controllable buttons from your end that you could push, to stay calm and motivated through this time.

The bit about organizing

Avoid the clutter: If at this moment, your desktop is full of different versions of your resume and CVs you’ve sent out to various companies, this is for you. Constantly seeing a huge number of files could be overwhelming and a little bit of organization around maintaining these documents could go a long way.

The easiest way to begin decluttering is by using your favorite online organizing tool. For me, it’s Google Drive. Maintaining a folder with all your current applications could help you sort through the active list easily. For companies that rejected your application, you can move the application from the current pile to a different folder in the applications master.

2 other things I do to organize my applications and assets are:

a) Master Folder: Create a Master Folder where you store only the final versions of your resume and cover letter. If you’re looking at applying to multiple roles, create one such version of your resume and cover letter for each ‘role’ you are applying to. This becomes your go to folder.

b) Database: I know this sounds boring, but once you hit beyond 30 applications, it could become confusing to track which roles you’ve applied to and where. Having an excel sheet with a record of this could become a useful asset, even in the future.

A few things I track in my database are names of organizations, position applied, status of application, reference (if any) and point of contact from the organization.

Organize your everyday: To — do lists help get things done. We all know that. But here’s a formula for a to — do list that has especially helped me — APC — Apply, Prep, Check In

Apply: Set a number. For me, it’s five. Aim at sending out 5 applications on a daily basis. This is a non — negotiable. And worth it when you get to tick it off the to — do list.

Prep: Make a list of the calls or interviews you need to prep for.

Check In: This is one of the most crucial steps in the job hunt process. It’s crucial to stay in touch with people you’re writing to and checking in on how to take conversations forward. Time this appropriately and add check in and follow up emails you need to send out as tasks on your list.

Prepping for the Week: You could prep for a productive week much like prepping your meals for the week. A list of potential roles you could apply to helps start the week on a productive note, with concrete tasks to do. Given that recruiters don’t check your applications over the weekend, a bit of the weekend could be spent just researching roles you would like to apply to and saving them for the week.

Find a buddy: On many days, you might feel like you’re in this search alone. But that doesn’t need to be the case. Find someone you enjoying working with and is in this process themselves. Setting up a work routine with them and looking for work together could be a great way of building accountability and having fun while at it. Set up achievable targets on a daily basis and reach out to your buddy to help you achieve them. On low days, ask for help. On their low days, be their sounding board.

But loving, really?

Maybe not everyday, but there are ways to enjoy this testing time.

Feed your curiosity: Learn your market. This is a great time to get back to the basics and understand everything you’ve always wanted to about the industry you’re a part of.

Have active projects on the side: Finding a job is crucial but it doesn’t need to be the only thing you do around the clock. Finding time in the day to do other things that require your mind space could do you more help than harm. Cutting yourself out of the job search process for a few hours and coming back to it after could help you approach it with a fresh pair of eyes and a refreshed mind.

PD time: Treat this like your time for professional development. There are a million new developments in your field everyday and with a full time job, it’s rare to find time to lift your head up from the work you’re doing and find time to learn more about the field. Making time to do this now could even help you in your interviews.

Learn things you couldn’t before: I recommend this at the risk of sounding cliche. There are a number of online courses, certificates and skills that could be learnt for free. Dedicating some time towards learning a new skill could prove useful even outside of the job search. But if you wanted to align this with making yourself more qualifiable for a job you want, take a look at the skills section in a job description. If there are certain tools that roles would prefer you have, this may be a good time to learn them.