Stop using yellow sticky notes to manage your job search: Here’s how to get organized

Stop using yellow sticky notes to manage your job search.
Stop using yellow sticky notes to manage your job search.

Stop using yellow sticky notes to manage your job search.

I’m shocked by how unorganized most people are when it comes to the job-search process.

And I’m not just talking about those who are unemployed. I’m also pointing at those of you who want to make a career move within your company. Even more mind-numbing are all the same excuses for why you don’t have a great process in place:

  1. I’ve never had to organize a job search before.
  2. I have my notes and I put them all in a folder.
  3. I have a really good memory, so I don’t need a better process.
  4. Searching for a job is all about meeting people, not running a process.

Well, cut the crap and get a job! Using yellow sticky notes to manage your job search isn’t going to do you much good.

Here is what you need for a successful job search:

  • A computer that has software for writing letters and emails, plus for creating spreadsheets. If you don’t own a computer, borrow computer time from a friend or use one for free at your local library. Plus you don’t need expensive software. There is a lot of Internet-based software for writing and making spreadsheets.
  • Pen, paper, and a binder

What you need to build:

  1. Contact List: This is for all of the people with whom you will be meeting. Your network is your most valuable asset, and it should be treasured well past the job-search process. Most contact software will allow you to place each person into a category, such as family, friends, peers, job search, associations, etc.
  2. Your Goal Worksheet: Document the hunt and set goals. What kind of job do you want? In what city? In what industry? In which companies? Is there a specific job title?
  3. Job Opportunity Tracker: A table, spreadsheet, or simply lines on a paper with each row representing a different job opportunity. It may be a lead from a friend at the gym or a posted job description. If it is something you are ready to pursue, it becomes a row. The most important part of this tracker is the information about when you applied and when you will follow up. After that, any “next step” must be captured.
  4. Calendar: Why is it that so many job seekers use their calendars for work or when to take the kids to school, yet when it comes to the job search, they simply don’t use it? Bad things happen to those job seekers. You said, “Yes, Ms. Marshall, I will call you to follow up next Wednesday.” But you forget because it wasn’t in your calendar. Now you’re embarrassed, so you never call her. There goes your dream job — all because you thought you could remember or you didn’t want to use the right tools.

Avoid the job search crap and step up your game by building a strong foundation of tools AND the discipline to use them properly.


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