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Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

How to Stay Organized for a Successful Job Application Process

Patty Ceglio

What? When? Where? Who? How? What’s Next?

You may know these questions from a Journalism Class writing assignment, online dating, or following your favorite Netflix Series.

Did you know that they are also the keys to helping you stay on top of your Job Search? We can’t tell you how many folks reach out to us and say “I’ve applied to work and want to check on my application” but can’t provide any additional information. #RutRoh

That’s painful for a variety of reasons! Mostly – without details, it would be not just hard but most likely impossible to connect the dots and gain any ground in following up on an application.

Let’s get a handle on this from the start – and your Job Search process will go much more smoothly! We promise.

1.) Decide what method of tracking suits you best – are you a spreadsheet geek? A long-hand journaler? Totally dependent on your phone and digital data? Anything can be deployed as a tool and a technique. Choose one way and stick with it.

2.) Come up with a format – keep it simple – and that makes it easier to become a habit. You know those pesky New Year’s Resolutions? Turn this into one that you commit to keeping up with!

3.) Don’t count on your memory to help you. Once you submit 10 or 15 applications and start to have conversations and interviews, you will lose track of the What, When, Where, Who, How and What’s Next, and your head will spin. We can all hope that 2021 looks much different, but as we all know from 2020, things can change pretty darned quickly. Give yourself a fighting chance of “keeping it together” along the way.

4.) Give some thought to your “dealbreakers” and maybe even add them to your application tracking system of columns and checkboxes. Remember that not everything can be a top priority or a dealbreaker, but choose what’s most important to you and note which employers fit the bill.

“When I worked seasonally, my only real deal breaker was the six-day workweek. I was totally good with giving it my all for five days, doing any job, didn’t care much about the living conditions or the food – at the time – but no matter what, I wanted two days off a week to explore and adventure.”

That’s an excerpt from: Seasonal Work Priorities: How To Identify Your Dealbreakers. Read the full article for additional insight!

Ready? Set? Begin.

Keeping detailed notes on each of the topics outlined below for every position and employer that you apply with will help you stay on top of your seasonal job application game and better assist you in checking in on the status of your application and narrowing down your options as the possibilities continue to unfold.

WHAT?: What position are you applying for? Some employers ask for your top three choices and/or if you are willing to accept another position – make note of all of these options in case they come back to you in the interview process. Also, note the dates of availability you provide on your application, or better yet, keep a copy of the actual application so you are always in sync with the recruiter or hiring manager who is referencing your application information.

WHEN?: What date / time did you submit your application?

WHERE/WHO?: You need several pieces of information here. The location, location, location. (Not just ‘Yellowstone” or “Alaska”, for instance. That would narrow it down to about 100 employers, give or take.) The name of the specific Company, property, the specific operation or person (if you were given that level of contact information) – those details are good to note here. Also, consider jotting down more regional specific information. How far is the position’s location from X, Y, Z? What travel logistics or housing info might be helpful to make note of now so that you have those details at hand when you circle back around and are weighing job offers?

HOW?: What process did you use for applying? Did the employer ask for a resume to be emailed? Were you asked to register to use their application system? If so, make sure to make note of your username and password. Did you complete an application form? Be sure to follow the instructions given and make note of your process. After you applied, did you receive confirmation that your application was successfully submitted? (And more importantly – were you given the expectation that you would receive confirmation, and you didn’t? That’s a probable cause for a follow-up.)

WHAT’S NEXT?: Use this section of your tracking system to take note of your next steps. Did you receive a request for an interview? Note the date and time, method (Phone? Zoom? Skype?) and double-check time zones. What’s the name/phone/email of the contact person? Were you asked to submit any supporting documents – licenses, certifications, etc? Have you rated your choices? (Remember when you did that with your college applications?) When a job offer arrives (Postal mail? Email? Online?) make note of the date that arrives and the date by which you must confirm your acceptance or decline. Follow through all the way around, and keep track of all the moving parts. You’ll thank yourself later.

Have a blast researching all the possibilities and putting yourself out there. The hardest part is making a decision about which fabulous opportunity will capture your heart and move you into planning mode. (Did someone say ROAD TRIP?!)

PS: This Resource also provides some great research tips and information you should document when you Do Your Homework.

As we like to say around here, may the force be with you – pick a pin and dream!