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How to organize your job search

A recent survey found that a typical job search takes a person 5 months. It takes an average of 15 applications to get one interview and 12.5 interviews to get one offer. Based on these numbers you may need to apply for 187 jobs before you get an offer. That's a lot of information to keep track of. So how can you organize your job search?

Main "Job search" folder

Start by creating a main "Job search" folder to store every related to finding your next job in.

Master resume.

Keep a copy of your "master" resume in it. You want to tailor your resume to every job you apply for but I recommend creating one master resume with everything you might want to have in any resume you will use to apply for a job. As you are tailoring your resume for a specific job you can then just delete the irrelevant pieces and make small tweaks to the "summary" and skills.

Cover letter template

Also keep a copy of your cover letter template. Again, you want to adapt your cover letter to every position you apply for but the template gives you a starting point so you just have to change the pertinent items in the cover letter.

Application tracking spreadsheet

If you are like most people, you won't be able to remember the details of 187 job applications. I recommend creating a spreadsheet to track of each job you apply for. In the spreadsheet have columns for:
  • Date applied. ("11/1/19")
  • Company name. ("ACME Products.")
  • Job title. ("Head Hammer Tester.")
  • Contact. (Recruiter or Hiring Managers name.)
  • Networking. (The name of someone in your network you can give you a recommendation and when\how you contacted them.)
  • Interview. (Date, time, location.)
  • Notes. (Any notes about the job application.)
  • Result. ("Offer" "Rejected.")

11/1Company1IT ManagerJane DoeEd Smith11/5 10amMake boats
11/2Company2IT LeaderJohn SmithRachel GreenSell planesNo
11/3Company3IT DirectorMary JonesSarah Lee11/7 3pmRepair bikes

Company folder

Create a "Company" folder within your Job search folder for every company you apply to. If you apply for multiple positions at the same company you can use the same folder. In this folder you should put the following.

Copy of job description

As soon as you apply for a job save a copy of the job description in to this folder. You will need it when preparing for an interview and you can't guarantee it will always be on the job site.

Copy of tailored resume

Save the tailored resume you made for the position in this folder. That way you can keep track of every specific version of your resume. I always recommend taking a copy of the resume you sent to the interview as well.

Copy of cover letter

Save a copy of the cover letter you adapted in this folder too. You can use the wording to help you in your interview prep.

Company research

As soon as you are invited for an interview I suggest researching the company. What market are they in? What do they do? What have they been in the news for recently? Keep your research notes in this folder.

Interview questions

You always want to have questions to ask the interviewer. This is the place to keep notes on specific questions you want to ask the company.

Interview answers

Lastly, you want to spend time preparing answers to interview questions you may be asked. This is the place to keep those answers.



  • Master_resume.docx
  • Cover_letter_templage.docx
  • Application_tracker.xlsx
  • "Company1_folder"
    • Company1_resume.docx
    • Company1_cover_letter.docx
    • IT_Manager_Job_Description.docx
    • Company1_research.docx
    • Company1_questions.docx
    • Company1_answers.docx
  • "Company2_folder"
    • Company2_resume.docx
    • Company2_cover_letter.docx
    • IT_Leader_Job_Description.docx
    • Company2_research.docx
    • Company2_questions.docx
    • Company2_answers.docx
  • "Company3_folder"
    • Company3_resume.docx
    • Company3_cover_letter.docx
    • IT_Director_Job_Description.docx
    • Company3_research.docx
    • Company3_questions.docx
    • Company3_answers.docx

A career coach can help you organize your job search.

You might also be interested in reading: 3 tips to help your Linkedin profile stand out.