Q. My job search ought to be a success, but I am overwhelmed by the amount of information that I have to keep straight. The last time I had a request for an interview, I had no idea whom I was talking to or what the position was or even what I said on my customized resume and cover letter! I had to bluff my way through the phone call, and I am still hunting for the original job posting, so I have at least some information before the interview. This is not good. What can I do?
A. You are right: it is never good to answer a phone call or go into an interview completely clueless about the person you are speaking to, as well as the company, position, and job requirements. But fortunately, organizing a job search is straightforward. You will need three organization tools:
A place to store folders about each job you are pursuing. Each folder will contain a printed copy of the job posting, the resume and cover letter you sent in response, and any notes about that particular job. You can also keep this information in a binder with the details about each job stapled together. The important thing is to have one place where you know the information can be found and retrieved quickly when a company calls for an interview.
A single list including every company you applied to by company name and location, position, any identifier the company requested, contact information for the recruiter or hiring manager, and the date(s) of your contact(s) with the company (for example, date of first phone call, first interview, second phone call, second interview). You should update this list immediately after each contact and carry it with you always. That way, if you receive a phone call for an interview while you are relaxing at the beach, you will still be able to respond knowledgeably.
A calendar. You never want to double-book an interview. Make sure your calendar includes all your obligations for the day, hour by hour. If you are job hunting while still employed, many recruiters and hiring managers will accommodate interviews before or after hours or on the weekend. Do not assume you will remember the exact date and time or that the company will call to confirm: write it down and send you own email or letter to confirm as soon as possible.
With those three organization tools, you should never again have to panic when a potential employer calls. Good luck with your job search! If Robin’s Resumes® can help with resume writing or career coaching, please reach out to us.