Are you surrounded by yellow sticky notes? Do you have a dozen texts to yourself in your phone? Did you try to commit something to memory that is no longer there? Have you lost track of who referred you to what jobs or companies? It’s all just one big busy blur, right?
It’s time to Cut the Crap and Get a Job by mastering the art of project-managing your own job search process. That’s right. No different than what many of you have done in past jobs, for college homework assignments and other day-to-day tasks. Why is it that your process becomes one big, random pile of stuff for the single most important thing you are doing right now: job searching.
Here are the top excuses I hear for why job-seekers are not organized and running their search with a tool:
Excuse #1: “I don’t have a PC”
Response: Go to the Library or borrow a friend’s PC (save your files to an inexpensive thumb drive), invest in a PC, use Paper and Pen.
Excuse #2: “I’m not good at Excel spreadsheets”
Response: Learn Excel free online, build a table in PowerPoint or Word, buy graph paper and a pen. If your new employer needs you to have basic computer skills, learn basic applications now by building a job tracker.
Excuse #3: “I have a great memory”
Response: Cut the Crap. No human has a memory as good as documenting.
Once you are past the Goal-Setting and Preparation stage of the job search process, you are ready to hunt. But wait! Every single action you take or that you receive must be documented. Here are the bad things that can happen: You’ll miss a follow-up opportunity, you’ll forget to apply to a job you saw, you’ll fail at sending a thank you note in a timely manner, and, worse, you’ll bomb in an interview. Only the most focused, committed, active and organized job seekers are winning jobs today.
The Cut the Crap JobTracker will be downloadable soon, and available in my soon-to-be-published book called “Cut the Crap, Get A Job!” but you can build your own right now. I don’t care if it is hand-drawn on paper, or developed in Word, PowerPoint, Excel or OneNote…all are excellent.
Here are the fields from left to right:
- Job Opportunity Number (for future reference)
- Status of the Opportunity
- Company Information
- Company Website and links to other research you do on that company and position
- Job Title and Description and link to the posted Job Description
- Hiring Manager or contact information, link, e-mails
- Date you applied
- Date you need to follow up (recommend 7 working days after submittal)
- Next Steps: Log what occurs: dates you hear from them, date of your follow-up
- Referrals: Keep track of who has helped you with this specific job opportunity: network contacts, friends, LinkedIn connections, Facebook connections. You must thank them, regardless of the job outcome!
In summary, if you are not prepared to hunt, then you’re not committed to winning a job. The other candidates are doing this well…and winning. Cut the Crap, Get a Job! (pre-order my forthcoming book here)