Tips for Organzing Your Job Search: Clean Up the Clutter


Have you’ve lost calling cards from potential contacts at IBM, Kraft or Boeing because of being disorganized?  Did you lose the job lead a friend gave you in the mounds of paper on your desk? Is your search for employment getting out of control due to the chaos in your mind?


I have lost important job leads and business contact information in the mounds of paper scattered all over my office; I was disorganized.  I spent way too much time looking for a telephone number or a lost document when I could have been spending more productive time on the project if I was more organized.


We all need to develop a system of organization, both in our thinking and in our paperwork.  If you do not organize your thoughts, you can not organize your desk.  This is critical to function effectively to be successful in finding a job or maintaining a business.

Look at your desk. Is it piled with papers or piles stacked toward the ceiling waiting to fall?  Can you find your day timer, Blackberry, or your favorite pen? If your desk is in complete chaos you are most likely overwhelmed with your work.  Its time to break out the tasks you need to accomplish and begin to prioritize your work.


Here are a few tips for organizing your workspace and life to save time:


  • Group your work projects into piles of files to see the big picture of what you’re doing. This allows you to begin to organize your thoughts by not getting caught up in the details of all the things that need to be done; keeps you calm for a minute until you can figure out a system to handle all the work you have to do.


  • Focus on one project at a time.  It’s very dangerous to be talking on the phone to a client/potential job lead and to be sending another client an e-mail at the same time.  It’s not productive when you aren’t giving your contact your full attention.


  •  Be proactive rather than reactive.  Unless you have to “troubleshoot” with a client/job lead in an immediate fashion or are waiting for a critical call, don’t stop to answer every phone call or e-mail.  Most of the calls are not so critical that you have to answer immediately Get control of your own time.

  • Watch out for those personal calls that can be major time wasters and concentration busters.  Make your friends and family aware of the times you are available to talk by setting boundaries.


  • Evaluate why you are speaking with or meeting with a person.  The most efficient people I know get right to the point as to why they called.  We tend to meet with people with whom we don’t need to because they ask us. We do this because we haven’t thought out why we are meeting them.  This process wastes our energy and potentially can lead to bad feelings; just say no.


  • Take your to-do folders you made, one for each project, and put them in a file holder on your desk.   The only items that should be on your desk are these folders, a stapler, pens, a day timer or palm pilot, a computer and a yellow pad.


  • An organized workspace leads to an organized mind.  Take time out to analyze the projects/job leads at hand.  Pull out the folder one by one and evaluate what needs to be accomplished for that day while establishing a timeline for each of your projects.  Project timelines will keep you on track and are essential for success. 


You can’t have control of your job search unless you have clarity and organization in your own mind. Chaos leads to loss of valuable time whether you are employed or looking for a job. You can only achieve this when your thinking is clutter free and your work space is organized.


By being proactive in your actions you will begin to gain clarity in your thought and be able to start organizing your day.  This organization will free you to do the things you need to for yourself.  You’ll be handling tasks for your own success, not for everyone else’s




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  • I would like to recommend as a good place to search for jobs! I hope it's helpful!

  • Thanks, Zoe for the information! Always looking for information on useful job sites. TLR

  • Terri - you can also use a job organization app like Huntsy ( We essentially organize your job search efforts into a single dashboard. Once you find a job you like, you can bookmark it to Huntsy, apply for the position, schedule an interview and add various to-dos related to the application. As this happens (and many folks send dozens of applications!), we keep track of your progress and send you email reminders when it's time to follow up, so you don't have to worry about letting things slip through the cracks. Have a look and let us know what you think!

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