Whether you’re making a jump to a new industry or you’re a college graduate looking for your first job out of school, it’s likely you’ll be firing off a bunch of applications to a variety of companies. It’s not uncommon for people entering new job markets to apply to dozens—even hundreds—of job postings before landing a position.

In this post, we’ll help you to maximize efficiency during your job hunt and give you some organization tips to keep track of all your applications, resumes, interviews, etc., so nothing gets missed or misplaced.

Create a Filing System for Your Resumes and Cover Letters

Every job posting is unique because the needs of companies differ based on the industry, customer base, and organization structure. This means that even if you’re finding the same cookie cutter job postings, your resumes and cover letters should be customized for the business you’re applying to.

To ensure that you have a strong application, you’re going to want to create a separate Cover Letter and Resume for each job you plan to apply for. Your basic format or framework can remain consistent from application to application, but the details should change to emphasize your most relevant skills and experience based on what the job posting says.

With all the various drafts and versions of your Cover Letter and Resume you’ll have taking up space on your computer’s hard drive, it’s a good idea to have a filing system to keep track of everything.

The following are some suggestions for your Resume and Cover Letter filing system:

Create separate folders on your computer for each job application, separated by company and job post

Having your applications set into broad categories like company and job title will help you keep track of which version of your Resume and Cover Letter you’re sending to whom.

For example, let’s say you’re applying for a few marketing positions at Stallion Marketing. You’d create a folder for Stallion Marketing and then add separate folders titled Copywriter, Email Marketer, and Marketing Specialist. Then in each job title folder, you’d save or upload the appropriate Cover Letter and Resume.

Come up with standard naming conventions for each Resume and Cover Letter

You’re going to want to avoid having 100 files in different places on your computer all called Jane-Smith-Resume. It can make it difficult to find which file you’re looking for—especially if you’ve accidentally placed a file in the wrong folder. It’s better to create a unique name for each Resume and Cover Letter, so you know exactly which post they’re relevant to.

Consider including the name of the company, job title, and application date. For example, you could name your resume Stallion-Copywriter-Resume-June-2018, and then sort it into your Copywriter folder. This will create long file names (which some might consider ugly), but you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at before opening the file.

It should be noted that it’s best to include your first and last names in the file title when you submit your Resume and Cover Letter in the application. You can choose to save your files with your name in your filing system, or you can simply rename them entirely when you’re ready to submit them, e.g. John-Smith-Copywriter-Resume. Keep in mind, some job posts (like many government jobs) may indicate that your Resume and Cover Letter must be sent under a specific file name.

Use a Spreadsheet to Track Your Job Applications

When you’re sending out applications left, right, and center, it can be hard to keep track of your files, dates, and application statuses.

If you want to ease your stress and diffuse the confusion during your application storm, you might benefit from organizing your various application details in a spreadsheet to help monitor activities and statuses.

You can organize your columns in whatever way suits you best, or you can copy the suggested fields in our example below to get your spreadsheet started.

job-application-organization-spreadsheet-template

Click to enlarge.

You might find it helpful to include a column for next steps where you can make notes of actions you can take following your submission, such as:

  • Dates you want to send follow-up emails
  • Other submissions (e.g. if you’re asked to submit a portfolio or writing samples for review)
  • Scheduled interview dates and times

Adding your next steps can allow you to keep track of your application’s flow through the hiring process.

Organizing for Peace of Mind

It’s easy to get bogged down with the monotonous process of rewriting your Resume and Cover Letter and sending email after email to hiring managers and recruiters. It’s also easy to lose your motivation, but keeping yourself organized with these filing systems and spreadsheets can help keep your stress down and energy up.

The important thing is to keep applying until you find the perfect job for you, and let these organization tricks help you out during your search.

What organization tactics do you use to help out with your job hunt? Let us know in the comments!

Posted by Spencer Knight

Spencer Knight is a writer in Edmonton, Alberta. His nonfiction has appeared in Spinal Columns, The Bolo Tie Collective Anthology: Volume I, and filling Station. When he's not writing, he's sleeping.

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