Ask A Recruiter: Staying Organized During Your Job Search

 

Q: What are some tips for staying organized during my job search?

 

A: Recruiters love this question because the more organized you are, the more effective your job search will be!

 

Tracking your activity will help you see what actions are most effective. It will also help you avoid being caught off guard and making mistakes. (There’s really nothing more awkward than an employer or recruiter calling a candidate who doesn’t remember applying for their job.)

 

To start getting organized, I recommend these steps:

 

Create an organized workspace – While it may seem great that you can apply for jobs on your phone while walking to work, it’s really not an organized way to do so. I recommend identifying a physical place where you can be productive in your job search. This place could be a home office, a place in the library, or a spot on the counter in your kitchen. It should have access to the basics, like a computer with Internet access, a printer to print your resume, a calendar or schedule, and a folder or file to keep important documents.

 

Make a commitment – Dedicate time each day or each week to your job search and stick to it. Many successful job seekers treat looking for a job as if it’s their job.

 

Set goals – It can be hard to stay motivated if you’re facing rejection or a slow search process. Setting and reaching goals can help you feel a sense of achievement and keep your momentum going. Achievable goals include scheduling in-person networking opportunities, researching new companies, submitting applications, etc.

 

Be strategic – Identify the top companies you’d like to work for and then research the opportunities at each. You can also research which recruiting firms work for those companies and when each will be holding job fairs.

 

Be image conscious – Your best efforts will come to naught if you don’t have an updated and optimized resume and if your online presence isn’t professional.

 

Track your efforts – Whether you use a notebook, a traditional spreadsheet, or a mobile app, it’s important to track your efforts. Many of the small steps that you take in your job search – e.g. following up, sending thank you notes or emails, connecting on LinkedIn – can become important factors in the hiring process. Your tracking efforts should include:

  • the date you apply for the job
  • the name of the position and the job number if there is one
  • the name of the organization
  • the application deadline
  • a date to follow up
  • the name of the recruiter and their contact information
  • notes and reflections on the interview, including what questions were asked
  • whether thank you note or email was sent
  • strategies for networking, e.g. following on LinkedIn, meeting at an upcoming event

 

We created an easy-to-use template for tracking your job search efforts, which you can download by clicking on the image below:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.22.35 AM

 

There are also plenty of calendar and project management apps, like those offered by Trello, that can help you stay organized.

 

Gwendolen Knott is a Senior Group Manager on the Major Accounts Division at Professional Staffing Group. She manages four teams that work with a variety of clients within the higher education and healthcare industries.

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Ask A Recruiter: Signs It’s Time for a Job Change

Q: I’ve been on the fence for a long time about whether I should look for a new job. Are there any tell-tale signs that it’s time to move on?

A: The answer to your question is different for every person, but in our experience there are several legitimate signs that it’s time to change jobs:

Not being challenged – Workers who have been in their position for a long time can become frustrated if they aren’t challenged with new responsibilities over time. If the job becomes stagnant, it can feel like there’s no opportunity for growth and that it’s not worth staying. However, if you find yourself in this position, I recommend first trying to fix the situation by sitting down with your manager and explaining that you’d like to be challenged more at work.

Lack of growth opportunities – Employees also like to be recognized for their growth with promotions and higher-level titles at work. If there’s little room to grow – for instance, if a manager’s or supervisor’s experience level is close to your own or their own growth opportunities are limited – it becomes difficult to see a path forward or future at the company. However, again, before deciding to leave, it’s important to validate your perception by talking to your manager about your interests. Perhaps there’s a growth path within the company that you haven’t noticed yet.

Passed over for promotion – Being passed over for a promotion can make employees feel neglected. While such an event can be an opportunity to talk about your future at the company and what it will take for you to be selected for promotion, it can also (especially if it happens more than once) push employees to the conclusion that there’s not an opportunity or future for them at the company.

Company instability – It’s said that “change creates uncertainty,” and at the workplace changes like a merger or acquisition, a new outsourcing strategy, or lay-offs can cause workers to feel as though their job is at risk. The changes can also cause opportunity – if your job is not eliminated there may be lots of new opportunities for you. However, if the company really appears to be shrinking and heading in the wrong direction, that could be a good reason to make your move.

Supervisor or manager is leaving – Many times people look to their supervisor or manager as a role model and aspire to be in their position someday. If that person decides to leave, it can raise doubts about whether it’s wise to stay yourself, i.e. if the person you admire and aspire to be has found better opportunity elsewhere, perhaps you will too. Of course, their leaving can also open up an opportunity for you to grow and take on their responsibilities.

Culture change – Workplace culture can be an important factor in job satisfaction, and if the culture of an organization changes and is no longer what it used to be, or what attracted you originally, it may be time to make a change. Workers’ needs change over time, too. For instance, working for a fast-paced, fast-growing organization can be exhilarating and rewarding, but it can also cause burnout and prompt an employee to look for a different job in a more stable environment.

Job Description has changed – As I mentioned earlier, workers look for change in their job over time, especially changes that give them the opportunity to learn new skills or take on new responsibilities. However, when a job changes in a way that minimizes the employee’s responsibilities or they feel their role at the company is being threatened, it could be a sign that it’s time to move on.

About the Recruiter

greg-menzone-pic1Greg Menzone is a 10-year veteran of the staffing industry who has made hundreds of successful placements. Greg and the team he manages specialize in direct hire placement of accounting and finance professionals.