Getting Organized for your Job Search

by Amanda May, Head Editor, INALJ North Dakota

Getting Organized for your Job Search

1da1d70When I was searching for my current work position, I remember feeling overwhelmed.  I had applied for quite a few positions, so it was really hard to keep track of everything.  I felt like I was drowning in paperwork!  I knew that I needed to buckle down and get organized.  I wanted to work in a library.  This organization thing should come pretty naturally, you know? 

Job Search Log

In order to keep track of every application, I created a job search log using Microsoft Excel.  When I applied for a job, I used the spreadsheet to keep track of the following:

  • Position Title
  • Company
  • Contact Name
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail Address
  • Mailing Address
  • Website
  • Application Deadline
  • Application Date
  • Application Submission Method
  • Application Materials Submitted
  • How I Heard About this Job
  • Interview Date and Time
  • Notes
  • Status of Application

Is this a bit excessive, perhaps, but I found that having more information was a lot more helpful than not enough.  When I applied for a position, I didn’t necessarily fill out every box.  It really depended on the job opening.  It worked as a “one stop shop” for all of my application information.  Another benefit to the job search log was the ability to see patterns in my job search.  For example, I saw that certain types of companies took longer in their search.  I also saw what types of companies were calling me for interviews.



I tailored my cover letter and resume for each specific job opening.  In order to keep track of all of this paperwork, I created a folder system on my computer.

  • I created a folder titled, “Job Search.”
  • When I submitted an application, I created a subfolder using the company name.
  • In the subfolder, I included a copy of my cover letter, resume, application, and job description.

When I first started my folder system, I didn’t include the job description in the company’s subfolder.  I thought that I could easily access it online.  I quickly found out that it wasn’t quite that easy.  By taking the time to include the job description in the company’s subfolder, I alleviate a lot of stress for myself.  The job description helped me prepare for the interviews.  It also was nice to have to on hand for any potential references that may request to look at the job description.

By using a job search log and a folder system, my job search process became a lot easier.  I became much more aware of the job search and a much better informed candidate.    



Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ has had over 19.5 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 & 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro. She presents whenever she can, most recently thrice at the American Library Association's Annual Conference as well as breakout talk presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa and as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting, at the National Press Club, McGill University, the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has relocated to being nomadic. She runs her husband’s moving labor website,, fixes and sells old houses and assists her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food as well. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.