Three Steps To An Organised Job Search

Three Steps To An Organised Job Search

Special announcement…this week I cleaned my desk.



Now I’m not at either extreme of the tidy spectrum; I don’t line my pens up at right angles nor do I work in what most messy people refer to as organised chaos, and yet, the organisation process got me to focus, work more efficiently and gave me a mental lift.

It occurred to me that this could work for the job seeker, whether right at the beginning or knee deep in the application trenches. That in just 3 steps, they could organise their search and gain better results.

So here we go:

1. Target and tailor

2. Take action and Record

3. Follow Up

1. Target and Tailor

Make sure you make your actions bespoke, that you have made your correspondence specific in some way. If you are sending your CV / Resume to a job advert, create a new profile section responding directly to the criteria the advert has set.

If you are talking with an agent ask for the consultant by name and use a referral where you can. If you are directly approaching a client / company make it clear as to why and what action you would like them to take next.

2. Take Action and Record

Whatever you prefer to use: desk diary, pocket notebook, excel spreadsheet, pda, mobile calendar, iphone or pen and paper make sure you jot down every action you take and its result in a search activity record. Not only is it necessary to complete your follow up, it allows you to keep a grip on who is dealing with what (not always easy when you have multiple applications with multiple points of contact,). It also gives you a realistic picture of how your search is going and helps you to recall the necessary details in order to appear professional at all times, even when put on the spot with late in the day calls to your mobile.

Date &Time           Contact Company           Job Title and   Salary                Notes Next Action Complete
5th April 9:05am Paul Murphy ABC Agency Pharma co in Slough Account Manager 30k Sent CV to agency Call wed to check received yes
5th April 11am Tim Sprocket Sprocket and Co Accounts Exe Saw my details on Linked In Tailor CV to his co and send
7th April 11am Paul Murphy ABC Agency Pharma co in Slough Account Manager 30k Client reviewing at weekend Call 11th have I been shortlisted


Having the information all together along with job specs and company profiles etc with also help you to come across as professionally informed and prepared.

Now you could take this to a whole new organised level (but then I’m obsessed with stationary and love colour) and use a colour key for roles you are really interested in, or showing various stages of progression / sent CV, application, 1st interview, 2nd interview and so on. It’s really up to you. Just remember to put in the bare minimum to keep track of what you have done and need to do and when.

3. Follow Up

No news is just that – no news. Take control, don’t just wait around in the dark, time is definitely of the essence in Recruitment. Follow up to find out as much as you can about the situation before deciding on your next action. That next action maybe to wait it out, yet, you won’t always know unless you ask.

There have been some great blog posts recently on the follow up, check out:


What I would add is one further word of warning:

If you do receive a text message, email or voicemail from an agency asking you to get in touch, do just that.

Many candidates I have spoken to have so many agents calling that they have lost track and now wait to be contacted. They have held the attitude that if the call was important they would call back.

This is simply not the case. Yes, sometimes a consultant may switch into “stalker” mode leaving a barrage of messages, but on just as many occasions they will just move onto the next candidate.

Of course it depends on the role and the number of applications they have received, but by waiting you may have already missed out. Many recruiters are dealing with multiple vacancies and only have a small window of time to work within. Turnaround times can be as quick as 48hours no matter what the level of position or whether the role is a permanent one.

Remember they may have already advertised the vacancy on a previous date, or likely to have already short listed candidates known to them previously. You will be excluded simply because your response wasn’t fast enough even if your skills and experience were right for the role.

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