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) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its 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. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians 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 one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.