How long do you think that it would take a job seeker to find an important piece of information from the messy work station in this picture?  The answer is longer than necessary, thus wasting valuable time.  As many job seekers know, the key to an efficient job search is staying organized throughout the entire process.  From before you start applying until you start receiving job offers, the following tips will help you get organized so you are able to utilize your time effectively.


Create a job search headquarters:  Before you start your job search, create a work station (also known as your “job search headquarters”).  Your headquarters should be a quiet place in your home that is designated solely to applying for jobs and preparing for interviews.  To ensure that you aren’t constantly leaving your work station, this area should contain your computer, phone, printer, a filing system for paperwork that always seems to accumulate, scratch paper and a calendar to write down important application deadlines and interview times.  By creating this space, you are setting yourself up for success by eliminating as many outside distractions as possible.

Minimize clutter:  Once you have created your job search headquarters, you can further minimize the amount of clutter and distractions around you.  Clutter causes your mind to wander and soon you are focusing more on books, mail, bills, and random paperwork than looking for jobs.  Remove clutter and outside distractions from your work station and create a filing system so that the paperwork that pertains to your job search is readily available.

Differentiated resumes:  As you are minimizing clutter and organizing your paperwork, make sure that you create and file resumes that highlight strengths that are applicable to the different job fields you are applying for.  By doing this you will be using your time efficiently by not needing to edit your resume each time you apply for a position in a different field.  Keep copies of these resumes both on your computer as well as a few paper copies so that they are available should you need to quickly send one out, email a copy to a possible employer, or bring a copy to an interview.

Document:  To stay organized throughout your job search, it is important that you have a way to track the companies and positions you have applied for.  To do this, I highly recommend creating an Excel spreadsheet that is saved on your computer in addition to printing out a hard copy.  On this spreadsheet, you should document the company’s name, contact name/email if available, link to the job posting, date applied, a short job description, interview date, any follow up details, and current status.  Documenting each job you apply for is crucial so that you have a record of each step of the application process from beginning to end.  Having an organized spreadsheet will ensure that you have important details about each job at your fingertips as calls from possible employers start rolling in.

Make a schedule:  Successful job hunting has often been described as a full time job, and if you are currently unemployed it should be treated as such.  Organizing and implementing a schedule will help you to work efficiently and hold you accountable.  Once you create a schedule you should not deviate from it, and you should make sure that you aren’t spending your scheduled time on personal business or taking personal phone calls.  Just like at any other job, when you are job hunting, social media and fun apps on your phone should be avoided since they are unnecessary distractions.  Scheduling breaks throughout the day will help your productivity, so don’t forget to schedule yourself a lunch break and a few times to get up and stretch.  If you already have a job but are looking for new employment, creating and sticking to a well-organized job search schedule is even more important since you have limited time to work with.  In this case, make sure that you have a block of time every morning or evening to dedicate to your job search.


Use these tips to ensure that your time is spent finding the perfect job instead of filling your time with the distractions that being unorganized creates!