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Guest post by Janet Barclay

Today’s post wraps up our series about organizing your job search

During your job search, you will probably communicate with hundreds, if not thousands, of people, but in order to make effective use of the network you develop, you’ll need a way to keep track of all your contacts.

The simplest method is a card file system, with a card for each contact. Each card should include the contact’s name, title, organization, address, telephone number, fax, and email address, the source of the lead, and dates and details of any conversations, correspondence, or interviews. You may find it helpful to set up a recipe box with a set of dividers labelled with the days of the week and a set numbered 1-31 for the days of the month. You can file each card under the date you wish to contact that person. For example, you may speak with someone on the 10th who suggests that you call him or her in two weeks. After noting the information on the index card, file it in the section for the 25th where it will serve as a reminder for you to follow up.

There are wonderful software programs available that can help you with organizing your job search contacts. Winway Resume, for example, has a section for storing contact information that you can merge with your cover letter. ACT! allows you to schedule tasks and reminders as well as perform mail merges. If you don’t wish to buy or learn a new software package, email address books in Outlook, Windows Mail or free Web-based email packages are also an excellent way to keep track of your contacts. However, unless you have unrestricted access to a computer, or a portable system such as a BlackBerry, you won’t be always able to access the information. The key features of any organizational system are ease of recording and ease of retrieval. If using an electronic system will make your job search more complicated and time-consuming, don’t use it.

Job searching can be overwhelming, but when you organize your schedule, workspace, and contacts effectively, you’ll be able to stay on track and find your new job more quickly.

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