Even if you’re currently employed and only casually looking for a new job, the process of job hunting can still inspire a bit of anxiety. But you can beat the job-search stress by using some of our tips to help you stay organized, save time, and better manage your search.
This is basically your cardinal rule; just save everything! Save it on your laptop, Google Drive, a flash drive, it doesn’t matter. Just save it. If you decide to go with Google Drive (which we highly recommend) here’s how to get started:
1. Create one folder in your Google Drive labeled Job Applications.
2. Next, in your Job Application folder, create a new folder for each job you apply to. Add a copy of the job description (saved from Idealist.org, not linked!), and the resume and cover letter submitted for each job.
3. Come up with an easy naming convention for your folders, such as ORGANIZATION NAME, DATE APPLIED.
4. If you’re conducting a national job search, you may also want to include a tag either in the title of the folder or on each documents to specify with which location, office, or branch you shared this particular set of application materials.
5. Add an additional document (or spreadsheet) to each folder to hold any important notes from your email correspondence, phone calls, and interviews. This is also a great place to jot down any news that you come across about the organization that may come in handy if you make it to the interview process.
Pro Tip: As mentioned above, you’ll want to be sure to download or copy and paste the job description for each job that you apply to. There's nothing worse than getting an interview request a few weeks after you have submitted your materials, popping back over to Idealist.org to review the opportunity and finding that the listing is no longer live.
Use customizable boilerplate language for your cover letter
To write a thoughtful and tailored cover letter, start by keeping one master document that you can pull from for each new application you submit. This document should be organized thematically and can be treated almost like a filing cabinet for all of your professional skills and accomplishments. For example, if you’re routinely applying for fundraising jobs, create a section in your document called Fundraising and Development that includes subsections with language that you can pull in order to reference specific fundraising experiences like grant writing, event planning, or donor cultivation.
Again, the trick here is to balance crafting a tailored cover letter with creating an efficient process. Keeping an accessible and organized document that contains language you can crib and customize will save you time, energy, and help to prevent careless typos.
Use customizable boilerplate language for post-interview thank you’s
Follow-up is king during the job interview process. And while no one has ever been hired based on a follow-up note alone, sending a timely, thoughtful, and brief note can reiterate your interest offer you a final chance to highlight your credentials.
Another item to add to your growing Google Drive folder is a well-organized template document. Be sure to include the essentials, like thanking them for their time, reiterating your interest in the position, and a sentence or two on how your background is aligned with what they need.
Consider the template below:
Dear [NAME OF INTERVIEWER/HIRING MANAGER],
Thank you for meeting with me earlier this week. I really enjoyed learning more about the Individual Giving Manager position at [ORGANIZATION].
It was very exciting to learn more about your plan for the upcoming year and how individual donors will support the overall fundraising goals, and I believe that my extensive experience building relationships with potential donors will be a natural fit on your team.
Again, thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
Check out our post-interview thank-you note templates for more ideas.
Follow our tips for a low-stress experience
By adding a light touch organizational system to your job hunt, you’ll be infinitely more relaxed and well-prepared to find all the documents you need, craft an effective cover letter, and send a polished thank-you note after your interview.
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About the Author | Sarah Goff has nearly fifteen years of experience working in NYC’s public sector in what can only be described as an elegantly haphazard career path. She geeks out on politics and social policy and is deeply passionate about the the social sector. She has participated in numerous public sector fellowship programs and has her M.S. in Public Policy from The New School.