When you start your job search, it can feel as if you’re climbing a mountain whose summit you can’t even see. Once you start moving, though, you’ll realize that it’s totally doable. Better yet, you’ll discover that there are no big secrets to tackling the job market. You just need a well-organized and structured plan to guide you through the process.
To get you going, our friends at NerdWallet asked several career experts to give job-seekers advice on how to organize your job search. Here are 5 tips to improve your job search:
1. Keep your information in one place.
Maintaining a clear overview of the jobs you’ve applied for will go a long way. Since you’ll probably apply for a number of positions, it’s important to store your information somewhere you can review it all at once. Whether that’s in a simple Word document, on a spreadsheet or in some other form is up to you.
“Keep track of the position name, organization name, application deadline, date you applied and a list of the contact points you have had with the company,” says Anna Young, assistant director of career services at the University of Richmond in Virginia.
It’s also useful to jot down reflections about your interviews, which can include the kinds of questions you were asked, what went well and what didn’t.
“Write down any notes about your conversation with the organization or anything you learned about the position,” says Kevin Nall, director of employer relations in the Office of Career and Professional Development at Baylor University in Texas. “This will help you with your follow-up plan and any future conversations with the organization.”
5. Look beyond the Internet.
Take your job search offline from time to time. Arranging informational interviews with someone from your school’s career center, or with alumni working in your field of interest, will benefit you in ways a Google search simply can’t.
“The Internet is great for uncovering leads, but to get into the highly coveted internships and full-time offers, students need to have an ally in their network who has a connection to that employer,” Trahan says.
“One of the strongest and most fun parts of your search can be the networking process,” Bradac says. “Reach out to everyone you know and tell them what you are looking for. Ask for contacts and resources that your network may have. Networking is a great way to meet new people and to develop advocates for you as a professional.”
If networking doesn’t come naturally to you, just remember that the people you’re reaching out to were in your shoes once. Getting help is simply part of the job hunt, and you won’t have to do it forever. Soon enough, college juniors and seniors will be seeking your advice.
Your nerves will quickly turn into excitement as you learn more about the job opportunities available to you. Just remember to stay organized, and know that you’re more than capable of taking on the challenge and reaching that summit.