Making the Most out of OneNote

Stephanie Sendaula, INALJ Associate Editor

Making the Most out of OneNote

I’ve found that one of the most innovative and interesting aspects of being a reference librarian is teaching computer literacy classes. Often times, I learn just as much from patrons as they do from me. I currently teach classes on three Microsoft Office applications: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Towards the end of each class, patrons often ask me about other Microsoft Office products. I mention Outlook, Publisher, Access … and OneNote. The very mention of OneNote leads to a lot of confused faces. What is it? What would I use it for? Those are great questions. And I’m here to answer them!

You can use OneNote to:

Organize your job applications. Similar to the process that Ashley mentioned in this post on Evernote (link:, you can do the same in OneNote. In one folder, you can create sections for cover letter tips, interview advice, or even pending applications. You can add as many pages and subpages as you want within a section. I equate OneNote to a digital scrapbook. An older page within my career section contains two text boxes (a job posting, my corresponding cover letter), one image (screenshot of the job confirmation page), and two attachments (Word and PDF versions my tailored resume). You can add several multimedia items, including audio and video, anywhere in a single page.

Create a master resume. In the same section, you can create a page containing a list of every paid position, internship, and volunteer experience you’ve ever had. When you apply for a position, pick and choose from among your master resume to create a resume tailored to the position. (Sometimes, your unrelated internship or volunteer experience isn’t relevant to a position you are thinking about applying for.) Also, since OneNote is a Microsoft Office application, all of your formatting will be retained if you copy and paste to Microsoft Word and vice versa.

Maintain a list of references. You can also create a separate page with a master list of references. When it comes time to submit references for a specific application, pick and choose from the list. Naturally, be sure to confirm with your references beforehand. The upside of having a large list to choose from is that it prevents you from relying on the same group of references for each application.

Draft your thoughts. What thoughts are these? Anything you want! Create rough drafts of cover letters. Draft as many as you want in a single page. Simply copy and paste into a Word document later on. Having trouble remembering past salaries? Insert a table and enter your salary history. Tag or highlight it for easy access in the future. Forgot what that job site looked like? Use the screen clipping tool to insert a screenshot and label the site. Need to compose yourself before a Skype interview? Use the recording feature to perfect your tone.

Always keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to organize your job hunt. Just do what works best for you. I use Evernote to “clip” and save articles on everything from managing staff to tracking technological trends. I use OneNote to create rough drafts of everything — including this post — that I want to flesh out as I go along. Have any of you used OneNote? What have you used it for? For more tips on OneNote compared to Evernote, this Lifehacker post (link: provides a great summary.

(Note: In order to access OneNote on Microsoft’s cloud,, you need a Hotmail account. Otherwise, your folders are only accessible on your personal computer.)

Stephanie Sendaula is an Associate Editor at and public librarian in New Jersey.

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