Managing a Job Search

I recently read an article in The Chronicle's ProfHacker blog asking how people manage searching for a job.  That got me thinking about how I have managed a job search.  As I recently experienced a job search, I thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect on how I managed my search, what tools I used and how it all worked.

I really don't like looking for a job.  I am sure that there are a lot of people who would agree.  I particularly dislike having to fill out paper applications.  So strongly in fact, that for one application I scanned it and used Adobe Acrobat Pro to create a PDF form that I could fill in.  Over zealous? Maybe.  I would much rather fill out an online or otherwise digital form than a paper form.

The main tool that I used during my job search was a site called Simply Hired.  This site pulls information from across many job sites like Monster, Jobfox, and many more.  One of the cool things about it is that you can do a search from with in Simply Hired, save it, and then subscribe to the search as an RSS feed.  This brings all the latest additions to you without the need to actually go to the site.  I did, however, use the site to manage my search under the "My Jobs" tab.  You can rate each job posting - I used this to indicate to myself which jobs I was really interested in/fit my credentials. You can add notes for each job, which was useful to for writing down deadlines and keeping track of the documents that I needed for each job.

I also created digital versions of all the documents that I would need (resume, references, transcripts, etc.) so that I could attach them easily to email and upload them easily for applications.  Most places now are accepting digital applications although, especially in education it seems, some places still require a paper application.  I used Dropbox to store all of my documents so that I could access them from wherever I happened to be.  If you haven't heard about Dropbox or used it before, it is a cloud storage service.  A free account allows you to store up to 2GB for free.

One strategy that seemed to be more effective was to go directly to the employers website/contact than applying through whatever service the job listing was posted on. This may be common knowledge, but it was a new strategy for me.  My workflow went like this: 
  1. Find a job posting
  2. Save it to Simplyhired (make notes about the deadlines, etc.)
  3. Visit the employer's site (to investigate them and the job posting)
  4. Write a cover letter 
  5. Complete and submit the application
  6. Follow up on application (usually a week after submitting the application)
This process helped me to work efficiently and as quickly as possible.  A different workflow might suit you better, but this seemed to work for me.  I hope that this information will be helpful to those of you looking for a job.  I was fortunate enough to find a job and have been blessed to have been so.  Happy searching!


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