Traci Pederson has spent over 10 years in various IT positions. She is now working from home and shares her suggestions and tips for tracking your job search progress.
Are you someone who has been working the Internet and other areas for telecommuting work or home-based businesses? Confused, yet not sure what you have done or where you are going with it. I have been there and still am sometimes. I have worked out some tips and suggestions that can help you navigate these waters.
I have found that one of the most useful things I started doing was to keep track of everything I am doing. I use a simple spreadsheet, like Excel. And I do mean everything. I have one file where I enter all the information from any job sites that I join. Information such as the username and password I created, what type of job site is it freelance or regular or specialty. The date that I joined and whether I posted a resume to the site or filled out their own skill assessment list goes in the file too. After about the fourth or fifth one joined anyone can be forgetful.
In another file I keep track of jobs that I have actually applied for. Write down the date you sent it in, whether you mailed it or emailed or applied directly to the employer’s site. Don’t forget to add in all the contact information such as a web site address, the email used to send your application, any phone numbers, addresses or person’s names that were given. This is very important for follow-up inquiries. Something that can separate your resume from the rest of the batch is to put a little work into it, read their web site and mention why you would be a great fit for their company or call them to get the hiring managers name to personalize your cover letter.
Another page to add to your job search folder is one for classes you have taken. I’m mostly referring to the online tutorials that you can find. This is a great way to beef up your resume and get some experience and skill in a particular area that seems to be a “hot” topic for the industry you are targeting in your search. I like to record the web address, any username/passwords that I created and what the tutorial was about for easy reference.
A silly thing I overlooked was the use of various keywords on the job search engines. I was using like ‘telecommute’ and that was it. So of course it was hard to find hits. Branching out with other phrases will find you more opportunities such as “home-based”, “off-site”, “virtual office”, “freelance” and “work-at-home”.
It may also help you to do different things on different days. Job-hunting is intense work and there are a lot of ways of doing it. Look at doing searches on job boards two days a week. Another two or three days spend researching and contacting companies that are known to be flex-friendly, this one can really pay off as a lot of jobs aren’t posted on the job boards anyway.
Keeping multiple copies of your resume is a time saver as well. We all have various strengths and emphasizing certain areas which target a particular company’s job listing will improve your chances by focusing their attention on what benefits you can bring to their company. And just don’t send a generic cover letter with a bland statement, I’ll mention again to at least read some of their company information to personalize it and show the hiring person that you spent some of your time researching them and that you mean business and aren’t just throwing your resume out to the wind. You will save time in the long run if you keep your applications to jobs that you are actually qualified to do.