Career choicesBeginning your job search

Get organised!

Looking for a job can seem complicated and a time-consuming chore. However, you can make it easier for yourself by getting organised.

Record-keeping

Keep a log of your job hunting activities in a notebook - who you have written to and the date, if it is a speculative letter or specific job application and what action you need to take e.g. call to check they have received the letter. You could use the suggested format to keep a record in the section on Making Career Choices - the corresponding pages on the CD ROM have tables you can print out to record your progress.

Use your records to note letters, e-mails and phone calls - both sent and received. Update your log every day and make sure that you have completed any necessary tasks. Write down the names of the people you talk to and note their comments.

Manage your time

You will find it very helpful if you structure your time for job hunting. Invest in a desk diary and use it to plan your time effectively. Schedule time for regular activities and use your diary to keep track of deadlines for job applications or for obtaining information.

To organise the resources you need for job hunting keep a box file with stationery - stamps, pens, paper. Keep copies of any letters you receive from companies.

Set targets

You will find it useful to set yourself targets and create an action plan when you start job hunting. This means setting yourself realistic targets for writing speculative letters, completing application forms and collecting information. The targets need to be achievable to avoid feeling disappointed. For example, give yourself a maximum number of letters to write each day and stop when you have reached your target.