Did you see your dream job float by on LinkedIn? Did you click the apply now button and whoosh! Your resume has been magically transported to… ? Most likely, it went to an Applicant Tracking System which I discussed with how long your resume should be. Now the waiting game starts.
Fast forward a week (maybe even longer) and that beloved email appears! The company’s recruiter would like to schedule a call with you. Now the excitement begins! But which job was this again? You vaguely remember applying on LinkedIn but what was the job description? and which resume did you submit? Oh goodness. So you search through your email and you find the confirmation but no details. And gosh, you’ve changed your resume like a million times since last week.
Does this sound familiar? I bet so. I did the exact same thing plenty of times. My sad story was that I applied to multiple roles at Wells Fargo and they sent me rejection emails FIVE MONTHS later. Whaaaaaat? It’s not as bad if you’re rejected but what happens when you’re called for an interview and you don’t have the job description? So you scramble online but the job posting is gone. Once a company has received hundreds of applications, they close down the post which means the description is often gone from the internet.
Wouldn’t that job description and knowing which version of your resume you submitted be SO helpful to prepare for the interview? I recommend to all my clients that they track every job they apply for. It’s also great to have visual cues of how much hard work you’re putting in each day on the job search.
1. Applications. Tracking your applications doesn’t have to be hard and time consuming. I have a convenient job app tracker worksheet that I share in my 3 Day Resume course.
2. Job Postings. Save a PDF (or print) of the actual job posting from the internet. This step is so important because often job descriptions are removed online when the company stops taking applications. And if you got the call from the recruiter for the interview, that’s when you’ll really want a copy of the job posting!
3. Resume. Save a copy of the resume you submitted for the job so you can find it later. You should be tailoring your resume for the job so you’ll want to know the exact version you submitted.
I like to name my resume files with this format:
[First name] [Last name] resume [Date] [Job title] [Company].docx
Caroleen Burroughs resume 2020-10-20 Wells Fargo BA.docx
Sure, it leaves for a long file name but I have no doubt which day I applied and for which role and where. I always start with my first and last name and the word resume so recruiters know it’s my file if it gets separated from my email or application instead of generic “resume.docx”. I put the date next because I like my files to show in a list by date but you can move that around how it suits you.
This way, for every job application you do, you’ll have the info of when and where you applied, a copy of the job posting, and the version of your resume you submitted. This information will be invaluable when you get that call for the interview!
When you keep your files in a cloud based service like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox, or Apple iCloud, you can access your files from any device that has internet access. This comes in really handy if you’re switching between cell phones, tablets, and laptops throughout the day. It also helps you stay organized in not having multiple versions of the same files running around.
I like to organize my resumes by date (as described in #1). I also keep a copy of every job posting I apply for. This doesn’t have to be fancy. The key is that you can find the files you need quickly and in one place. Example folders:
Resumes In Progress
Resumes and Applications
You are going to have a FLURRY of email activity when you start applying for jobs. Here’s a few examples of email folders to set up:
Job Alerts – These are automated emails from job sites. For example, I have a LinkedIn alert set to email me Business Analyst emails daily.
Jobs Applied – Confirmations from automated systems when you apply for jobs online.
Recruiters – Once you have a rock solid targeted resume, you’ll get tons of unsolicited emails from recruiters. On a happier note, you should also get correspondence from recruiters to schedule interviews. You’ll want to save these while you’re working together.
Rejections – The sad face emails when you get rejected from a job application or interview.
Miscellaneous – These might be emails like your friend sending you an opening from their company.
However you want to organize your emails, please sort them into a folder system that makes sense. Personally, I’m a David Allen Zero Inbox person. Even if you’re not, when you are job searching, you’ll need to be able to locate those pertinent emails quickly. You don’t want to be searching through an inbox with tens of thousands of emails (true story because this was me at one time!). It’s a huge time waster and inevitably the one email you need is the one that the Search can’t find. AHHHH!
If you’re an iPhone user, this could be as simple as using the native Reminder App on your phone. Schedule your to-do’s and set reminders so you don’t forget. If you’re working with a recruiter and they tell you to check in three days, please set the reminder and politely follow up when the time comes. When you’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, it’s easy to forget about what you committed to doing last hour let alone three days ago.
By staying on top of your tasks and follow-up communication in a timely manner, it helps you stand out above the other candidates as professional and organized. When you politely check in with recruiters and hiring managers for status, it keeps you top of mind. Of course, be tactful with the frequency and correspondence to be respectful of other people’s time.
There are countless productivity apps out there that have task tracking and reminders. No matter the system you choose, just pick one and stick to it.
In summary, job searching takes a lot of time. Although it may seem tedious and time consuming at first, by organizing your applications, files, and emails up front, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort in the long run. Plus, when it’s time for the interview, you’ll have the job posting and resume at your fingertips which will be instrumental in preparing.