Post Date: March 23rd, 2012

Desktop-Based Tools for Organizing Your Job Search

Photo © Dušan Zidar –

This week, I welcome back guest blogger Janet Barclay. In her third post on the topic of organizing your job search, Janet describes a number of desktop-based tools to help you get and stay on top of your job search activities.

In previous posts, I’ve explored paper-based and online tools for organizing your job search. This time I’ve got some ideas for those of you who prefer technology over paper, but don’t have ready access to the Internet or aren’t comfortable with online services.

There are a number of specialized software programs available to help you organize your job search.

WinWay Resume, for example, has a feature that allows you to manage your job search contacts, including potential employers, professional and personal references, and others in your network. For each contact, you can record details such as telephone calls placed and received, resume submissions, information you’ve gathered, and future actions.

You can take to another level by using a full-fledged Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) such as Sage ACT! This powerful program allows you to schedule tasks and reminders as well as perform mail merges. If you’re accustomed to using ACT! in your work, you will probably welcome it as an aid to your job search.

However, if you don’t wish to buy or learn a new software package, Outlook and many other email programs include functions to organize your contacts, calendar, and tasks. By making use of all available fields, including Notes, you’ll be able to keep track of just about anything you can think of.

For a simpler approach, you can create spreadsheets using Excel or a similar program, setting up a worksheet tab for each type of information you wish to track. The following list may be a helpful starting point:

  • Networking contacts: name, email address, phone
  • Employers contacted: business name, contact name, email address, phone, date of contact, follow-up date
  • Interviews: date held, business name, contact name, position title, outcome

If you use a smartphone, you might prefer a solution that you can sync between your computer and your phone, so keep that in mind before you make your choice.

And speaking of smartphones, I’ll be back next month to talk about some interesting apps for organizing your job search.

About the Author

Janet Barclay is a virtual assistant and former employment counsellor who has supported career professionals and other small business clients since 2003. She can be reached through her website

Related Categories: Organizing your job search