Image of a scheduler and flowers on a deskIt's time for spring cleaning! Organize your job search by following our 10 tips. We offer advice on setting up a job-search space and staying organized as you keep track of applications, interviews and networking opportunities.

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Spring Cleaning: 10 Tips for Organizing Your Job Search

Apr 9, 2018

Image of a scheduler and flowers on a deskThere's something special about spring. As winter's cold melts away, many people find motivation in the fairer weather to do some cleaning and get organized.

Have you ever wondered if you might be able to organize your job search? Think of it like the traditional "spring cleaning" when you open the windows, dust the places you've ignored all winter and start clearing out excess stuff. It's essentially getting organized to make your search easier to manage and more productive. Today's post offers 10 tips to help you get started.

  1. Create a dedicated space. Whether it's your home office desk, kitchen table or a folding card table, clear it off and make that the place where you do your job searching. Try to keep it free of other materials like books, mail, bills, magazines, etc. Having a space dedicated to the task, you may feel more focused as you look through job listings and review your resume.
  2. Have your important materials close by. For example, a computer with Internet access and a printer are highly desirable. You may also find pens and paper, sticky notes, a calendar or planner, a phone with voicemail, a cell phone charger, and a file box or drawer helpful in keeping your search organized. 
  3. Identify your career goal. Where do you want to be in 10 years, 5 years, or next year? It's hard to know where to begin until you know where you want to go.
  4. Create a schedule. Block off a specific amount of time each day to focus only on your search. How much time will depend on your individual circumstance. For example, if you're not currently employed, you may want to consider making the search your full-time job. The important thing is to have a set period of time without distractions.
  5. Set daily goals. Identify the basic tasks that you'll do during your scheduled time. It could be preparing or revising your resume, updating your social media profile on LinkedIn, reaching out to your network contacts, creating templates for cover letters, or sending thank-you notes to people that you've recently interviewed with.
  6. List and research specific companies that align with your goals. You may sometimes apply to companies that are not on your list, but having a list of target companies that you have studied is an efficient use of your time. Research includes conducting informational interviews as well as Google searches. Some search engines will allow you to set up updates, so you'll get notifications based on specific keywords.
  7. Make a list of potential contacts. Most people get their jobs through networking, so commit to get out and meet people. Request advice, their contact information, and suggestions for who else you should be talking to. Start with your list of targeted organizations. Identify who you know in the organization. Do you know other people who know organizational insiders? Then move on to friends, professional organizations, college alumni, etc.
  8. Apply for positions. Keep your career goals in mind and only apply to those positions that match your goals, skills and experience. Applying to openings that don't align with your long-term plan, will waste your time and disrupt your organization effort.
  9. Track the jobs you apply for. This can be as simple as writing down the information in a notebook. Or you can find tracking systems on the internet, create your own spreadsheets on the computer or write them down in a notebook. The key is to be sure you have a record. Keep track of:

    Spring forward with Ticket to Work

    As you organize your job search efforts, remember to keep in touch with your Ticket to Work (Ticket) program service provider.

    Social Security's Ticket program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits. The Ticket program is free and voluntary.

    Through the Ticket program, you can work with a service provider, like an Employment Network (EN) or State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency, who will provide you with supports and services to help you find work and earn your way to financial independence.

    • Company name

    • Name, email, and phone number of your contact at the company

    • Date you submitted your application

    • Dates and times for any deadlines and interviews

    • Date you followed up after an application or interview

    • Status of your application (e.g. waiting to hear back, interview scheduled or rejection).

    • Also, keep the job description, application or cover letter and resume that you submitted to each company to help you remember the specifics when a potential employer replies.

  10. Set weekly and monthly goals to keep you on track and motivated. Sample goals might include: set up 2 networking meetings; attend 1 professional networking event; contact 10 potential contacts from LinkedIn; or research 5 companies.

Remember, just like spring cleaning, job hunting is a process. Getting organized is the first step. You'll feel much better once you clear away mental and physical clutter and build your job-search momentum.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, you can call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

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