If you’re hitting the pavement hard for job opportunities, organization is vital for efficiency and avoiding embarrassing mistakes. There are simple strategies and tools you can use to make the process easier in order to keep organized during your job search.

Make a Plan

Are you blanketing a particular job field in hopes to pick up something in that area? Or are you targeting a particular company?

There’s a plenty of different goals and you may hold a several simultaneously. You may also have your #1 goal but are willing to keep a Plan B.

Keep all of this in mind when you plan out your strategy. I encourage you to write this down.

For example, you’d love to get a job with Company X. Maybe you plan weekly applications to openings that you feel you are qualified. Then set a date that you are willing to begin Plan B, if you don’t get a bite. This doesn’t mean giving up on Company X, you can continue those weekly applications to them, but now you’re diversifying into other possibilities as well.

Keep Track

This is the no frills approach but just as effective, cause let’s face it, the whole reason we’re looking for a job is for money and who needs to spend money before a source of money is secured? So use what you have.

I recommend just using Microsoft Excel to set up a tracking system. In order to keep organized during your job search, you should record openings that you’ve applied to, when, what company and what resume version you sent. Don’t be afraid to add notes and a link so you can refresh your memory.

If you get a “not interested,” response, then record the response as well as the time/date. This can be helpful for future applications, to make sure you don’t end up reapplying for a position you’ve already been eliminated from consideration.

On the other hand, if you get a call back, you will be able to pull the exact resume you sent them and be on the ball. I suggest adding the POC’s information when you receive a call back. This is especially helpful when you are routing through corporate phone lines.

In order to keep organized during your job search, maintain a file library with multiple versions of your resume that target jobs or companies you are interested in most. Also keep a library of well-labeled cover letters.

Make Technology Work For You

Many of your favorite job search sites have apps that you can download to your phone. While filling out an application on your phone is less than desirable, it can still be a great way to keep abreast of new openings. So often, time is vital for job applications, the longer an opening runs, the more likely it will be filled before you get a chance to apply. The chance to find an opening even if you’re on the run, can up your job search game.

If you keep organized during your job search, you’ll find yourself ahead of the game and increase your chances to land the job you want. It can also help you narrow down on the kinds of jobs you are most qualified for in your target region. In the future, if you decide to change jobs again, you can easily access past files to get insight on what worked best and how you should frame your new search. There are really endless benefits to such a simple idea.