In normal times, graduates will have to send off an average of 100 applications to get a job – what a horrible statistic. So how do you keep on top of all of those potential applications, working out what you did right and wrong, and make sure you stay organised when job hunting?
I’ve come up with a few organisation tips and tricks to make sure that you don’t get lost in the world of job applications. You can use these to stay on track with deadlines, measure what’s going well and ensure that job hunting doesn’t take over your life.
Create a vision and stick to it
When applying to jobs, it of course helps to know what kind of thing you’re aiming for. Note down somewhere the industry you’re looking to go into and what specific job roles you’d ideally like. This can really help when an industry is quite broad and you only want to go into one specific area of it.
If you don’t know what you want to do, check out my post on discovering your career interests here.
Alongside this, it’s also really helpful to write down a few key things that you want to be doing in your day to day role. For example, you might want to be working on social media, writing blogs and conducting influencer research; or you might want to be booking venues, inviting guests and managing events. Those sorts of day to day things. It does all really come down to what you do day to day in a job that makes you love it, so that’s the most important thing to map out.
Then when you’re on job sites – you can type those job titles and industries into the search bar and see what comes up and whether the listed job responsibilities match your vision.
The idea of creating a vision and following that helps you to not become distracted by other things. You might get tired of browsing through roles and start to question whether you should just look for any job, but it’s important to always have a goal in sight.
Make a timetable
You might have heard myself or others mention before that applying for jobs should become your full-time job. That means sticking to certain hours too, so you don’t completely overrun your life with job applications and stress.
When you’ve not got a job, try to stick to a typical 9-5 routine, that way you won’t be working late into your evenings. If you do prefer working in the evenings, make sure you haven’t already worked on things all day beforehand. It’s better to do three good hours of job hunting than nine hours of poor quality working.
It’s more difficult when you do have a 9-5 (blog post coming soon) to look for another job, as you’ll quickly find yourself with very little time for things after working 37+ hours a week. This is why it’s so important to stay organised when job hunting.
Each week, work out what hours you’re free in the days and evenings, and write down your ‘job hunting’ hours. This will help you to be more efficient too, if you only have the energy for one hour of it, don’t tell yourself that you’ll do three.
Create a colourful spreadsheet
It’s so important to keep note of all your applications. You shouldn’t just rely on memory for deadlines and which jobs you want to apply for. What you should do is make some kind of tracking system that works for you – like an excel spreadsheet.
Create a spreadsheet or table with the headings ‘Company’, ‘Job Title’, ‘Deadline’, ‘How to Apply’, ‘Interview’ (and any other application stages you can find or are told about), etc. Basically any information that you’ll need or find useful. Here’s one I’ve made for you already!
TIP: when you’ve applied for a job, remember to take a screenshot of the listing so that if it disappears you’ve still got all of the information to hand.
Work out the stages you need to improve on
Using a tracker means that you can find out which stages you’re good at and those that you maybe need to work on.
If you list out all of your applications, make sure to colour the cells at the stages that application gets to. If you find that 20 out of 20 applications don’t get any further than sending off a CV or cover letter, try doing something new for those documents to make them stand out more.
Maybe you’re always getting to a telephone interview stage but no further, seeing a pattern with this can help to identify that you could do some research into acing phone interviews.
It might be disheartening to only get to a certain stage for lots of jobs, but by analysing this data you can really map out how things are going and how you can improve.
Set up job alerts
Sometimes looking for the jobs you want can take up valuable time that you could spend writing the perfect application. That’s why setting up alerts for the job roles you’re searching for can be really helpful.
You can set up automated email alerts, find similar jobs on LinkedIn to those that you’ve viewed, or register with a recruitment agency who could send over relevant listings.
Although as I’m sure people will know, sometimes you can get sent listings that are absolutely nothing to do with what you’re looking for – it can be hit and miss.
Don’t lose faith
It’s so hard to stay positive and keep on top of things if you’re facing rejections or just not hearing back from jobs. Putting time and effort into applications for nothing to come of it is so difficult but you’ve got to remember that the more jobs you apply for, the more likely you are to hear back.
That’s not to say that you should apply for anything and everything – refer back to your visions – because what good is getting a job that you really don’t want?
It’s a tough time but have faith in yourself that it will work out. I have faith in everyone reading this – we’re all on different journeys but it’ll work out in the end. Remember “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. ”
What are your personal methods of staying organised and motivated when applying to jobs?
If you need any further help for careers, you can find more advice here about jobs and workplace tips.