By Ashlee McCullen, staff writer for ApronAddicts.com.
If you are in the midst of a graduate job search, you may be sending out a dozen or more CVs a day, be setting up interviews, calling back on leads, and making countless versions of your CV and cover letter.
A formal system to track all this can prevent you from forgetting tasks like sending e-mails and making phone calls, and can help you feel more organised and less stressed.
I recommend the following tools to help you make sense of the chaos of so many applications, and to stay organised with as little effort as possible. Each is free and available on Macs, PCs, iOS and Android.
On the surface, Evernote is a fairly simple program. You make notes, and refer back to them. However, with a bit of ingenuity, you can use it to keep track of all your job search tasks, or at the very least hang on to important notes.
Use it any of the following ways:
- Take notes during phone interviews. This works best when you’re sitting before a desktop computer with a keyboard.
- Save links to great “how-to” articles and career resources.
- Take notes at any lecture or event you attend related to the job search.
- Record phone numbers and other contact information (that you may not want to overwhelm your personal address book).
Another idea: create a separate Evernote note for each job you’re interested in. Include a link to the job posting, the text of the posting, contact information for that job, and a to-do list to track your progress. You can furthermore add tags such as “To Apply,” “Application Sent,” “In Progress,” and “Inactive.”
While I suggested using Evernote for keeping track of applications and projects, you can also consider a fully-fledged task manager app.
Unlike Evernote, an app like Wunderlist will actively inform you when tasks are due. Plus, it’s easier to see what tasks you have on your plate at any given time, and to keep a “Someday/Maybe” list for those wild ideas that strike you. (For more in-depth tips on organising your tasks, look into “Getting Things Done”).
And if you need a record of your job search activity (such as for receiving unemployment benefits, or double-checking whether you filled out a particular online form), you can refer back to Wunderlist.
Dropbox is a fantastic online storage service that is extremely easy to set up and use. It acts like a normal folder on your Mac or PC, but it quietly uploads files online.
With Dropbox, you can begin working on a cover letter on your home PC, make a few changes on your smartphone while you’re riding the underground, and finalise the document using your laptop at a café. It’s seamless and easy, and is ideal for those with super-fast 4G phones.
I recommend keeping all of your job search files in Dropbox, and considering an app like QuickOffice Pro (paid) to access and edit your files on an iPhone or Android phone.
Ashlee McCullen is a staff writer for ApronAddicts.com, a site about fashionable aprons and kitchen style.