Have you ever answered your phone, heard a recruiter quickly run through an introduction, and thought “This doesn’t even sound familiar? What is this?” You’re not alone!

The problem is that your initial confusion can lead to some blunders that will trip you up later. For example, I had a client who had a lovely chat with a recruiter and scheduled an interview. He made a note of the day and time, the address, etc., but he never got the name of the company that the recruiter had rushed through at the beginning of the call. Do you think that impacted his prep for the interview? Unfortunately, yes.

His failure to get organized and take control of his job search was sabotaging his efforts. 

A lack of a tracking system is the single thing I’ve seen sabotage so many people as they are looking for work. It is at the root of all kinds of stumbles – large and small – that can make us feel like the job search process is happening to us rather than managed by us.

Here are just a few ideas for keeping organized and taking charge of your search.

  1. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of your applications. The fields you can use are: Job title, Company Name, Contact name (if you have one), Contact email, Date of application, Heard Back?, Date of follow up, and Notes
  2. Add each job application to the spreadsheet as you complete it
  3. Create a folder for Job Postings. For each application, take a print screen or copy of the job posting and save it in a Word or .pdf file. DO NOT simply copy the URL – it may not be there when you need it for interview prep!

Now, when a recruiter calls, pause, breathe, and ask them to give you a moment. It’s professional, and no one will mind. Ask them to repeat their name and their company. If you are able, record these details into your spreadsheet as you are speaking to them; otherwise, take a note in your phone, or grab a pencil and paper. Just say, “I want to make sure I’ve got the details,” then, and only then, continue with the conversation.

BONUS TIP: You do not have to speak with a recruiter when they call, you can always say “It’s great to hear from you, but I can’t talk right now. Is there another time when you’re available?” Again, the goal is for you to manage the process, not the other way around!

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