Using Trello to find a Job

How to track everything during the job hunt.


Trello is awesome. It’s a digital whiteboard that is open to interpretation and is flexible to take on any project. I’m also a productivity junkie, so I love testing new systems. When I discoverd Trello, I knew it would be a great tool, it just didnt’ fit in my workflow the way I wanted it to.

Some time later my freelancing career hit a huge dip and I needed to start finding more work. When I started to look for work Trello immediately came to mind. I needed to be able to track each job opportunitiy’s details and progress while keeping a birds eye view on my progress. I also needed a system flexible enough to let me log points of contact, write notes, store contact information, collect research from the company and record duties for the position. Easy enough right?

Here’s were Trello came in. I’m going to go through my process and how Trello has helped me during my job hunt. I will explain some of the details of Trello, but I will expect that you already have a basic understanding of the system.


Board

The first step was to build the board. Trello is setup with lists that hold cards. You can also have six labels to tag cards. You can also archive lists and cards to clean up clutter as the board grows. Here is a screenshot of the board:

The Trello board gives me a good overview of everything that’s happening at once.

Here is a short description of each list:

  1. Potential: Found and decided it is worth pursuing (the inbox).
  2. Working On: Currently writing a cover letter, email, application form, or adjusting my resume.
  3. Waiting: Sent the application but still waiting on a response.
  4. In the Process: Currently working through the interviewing process.
  5. Yes: Received a job offer.
  6. No: Didn’t get the job.
  7. Unresponsive: No response after multiple follow-ups.

Cards

Every card in this board is a job opportunity. I write the card’s title with the position followed by the company.

Product Designer — Basecamp

Sometimes I mix the order up, the point is if I have 50 job opportunities on my board, how can I quickly recognize the job in as little characters as possible. The meat of the position will be inside the card.


Labels

Trello really starts to shine with labels. Because I wasn’t just looking for a full-time job at a corporation, I needed to be able to quickly recognize which jobs could be done from home, which jobs had a commute, etc… So I decided to use the following labels:

There’s only six labels available so use them wisely!
  1. Full Time: 40 hr. a week work
  2. Part Time: 10-30 hr. a week work
  3. Freelancing: Project based work
  4. Remote: Work from home
  5. Writing: Work related to writing
  6. Local: Work in an office

Description

The description feature in Trello uses Markdown, a plain text syntax that rocks! I love Markdown and that may be one of the biggest reasons I love Trello.

The description box is where all reference material goes: contact information, job descriptions, links, notes, etc… Using headings, line breaks and sticking to markdown formatted text makes it easy to find what I’m looking for when I’m on a call, and quickly add important notes without having to think about it.


Activity

The activity feature also tells you when you’ve moved a card around.

This is my favorite features in Trello while job hunting. Every time I make a point of contact with a company I make a short note to myself in the activities section to show what I did on what day. It creates a log to help me track what I’ve done and how long ago it happened. When the cards are in the waiting list, I tend to write things like “I emailed John today, no response” or “I called the company today, the receptionist (Amy) said she was going to forward the information to the right person (whoever that is, she didn’t say).

Recording the details will keep you sane and just might land you a job.

In Closing

A tools is only good as it’s user. Build your system and stick to it. A job hunt is temporary, so there’s no need to try and perfect your workflow, it’s going to be a bit messy starting out. Keep pursuing new leads, tracking your progress, and take time every week to make sure everything is up-to-date on Trello.

“A tools is only good as it’s user.”

I’m proud to say that I got a job! Trello didn’t get me the job, but it sure helped being able to track, manage, and organize all my opportunities to find the right fit for me.