Prepare for a Winning Job Search

February 14, 2024

Searching for a job can sometimes seem daunting. Perhaps you've never applied for a job before, or maybe you were just laid off after years at the same job. No matter the circumstances, your search will be much more productive and much less stressful if you organize all of your information.

Keep track of the people you talk to, the resources you use, the jobs you apply for, your interviews, and any follow-up notes. This information will be very helpful if you have multiple job applications. When people contact you, you need to know how they are connected to your search. You don't want to miss a job opportunity because you forgot where one of your contacts works.

Everyone organizes differently, and you need to do so in a way that makes sense to you. Whether you use a notebook, a weekly planner, or software, the most important thing is that you stay organized. Remember to write down dates and keep copies of applications and letters you send out. Whatever you decide to use, track the items listed below.

Important Information

Before you apply for any jobs, it’s a good idea to collect important information (e.g., places and dates of past employment, list of skills and certifications, special accomplishments, references) that you will need for job applications. You will then be able to use this information to write your résumés and cover letters.

People in Your Network

Keep a list of your contacts with their job title, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and mailing addresses, as well as anyone they have suggested you contact. Keep in touch with your network.


It's also a good idea to track resources you use in your job search. The most obvious ones include websites, employment centers, or books. But you should also keep copies of tests that you take so that you can refer back to them and save receipts of money spent on your search for tax purposes.

Jobs Applied For

Keep a detailed record of each job you apply for. Include the name of the company, the department, and the specific position. Write down dates and times of phone calls, résumés sent, and who you have talked to. When a potential employer calls you to set up an interview, they assume you know which job they are talking about.


Keep track of all your interviews, whether they are informational interviews or interviews for jobs. Include a calendar for upcoming interviews and record the names and contact information of the people who interviewed you. Make notes about the questions asked, what you learned about the workplace, and your impressions of the interviewers.


Thank you notes are an important way for you to stand out from other applicants or interviewees. Send them immediately after informational interviews and job interviews.

It's also important to organize your life so that you stay positive and motivated. Searching for a new job can take a long time, and there may be disappointments and rejection along the way. Stay positive!

Source: Excerpted from Oregon Career Information System, ©2023, University of Oregon, All Rights Reserved.

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