Searching for jobs is one thing. Keeping your prospects organized is another.
Search Indeed, The Ladders, Monster Jobs, and other career posting sites. That seems like a logical place to start when you find yourself looking for a new job. Be sure to couple the results of those searches with the leads you gain from your professional contacts, as described in my last article.
Document them all in a 'search spreadsheet,' and this will give you a great overview of your job prospects. This spreadsheet will be your go-to for the next several weeks to months, so be detailed and thorough in your documentation; consider including, for each opportunity:
As you’re building your prospects spreadsheet, be thinking about personal contacts who may have a connection with each company. Search through your contacts to see if you have any who are employed for the company of interest. Or, reach out to some of your particularly extroverted and connected contacts to see if they know someone within the organization. These are the people that can give you advice moving forward in the application process, and perhaps help you get a foot in the door. Provided you have had a strong working relationship with them, they would also be great candidates for providing you with a letter of recommendation.
Also, I would recommend having some method of assigning a preliminary rank to each opportunity. Granted, you may not have had an interview yet, but you need to have a method of prioritizing the time you put into each opportunity. You may not be able to write that perfect letter of intent for each opportunity—you might not even want to in the early stages of your search. If travel is involved, it may not be possible to fly all over the country interviewing and learning more about every prospect on your list. Thus, prioritizing with some form of ranking will help you focus on the jobs you are most interested in pursuing.
Last, don’t close any doors as you go through your search. The timing of applications being accepted, interviews being scheduled, and offers being made are not going to align for all your prospects. Unless you’ve made a commitment to give a decision or have been given a deadline to decide, do not tell the hiring manager to count you out, unless you are certain the position is not for you (even as a fallback option). Keep your options open for as long as possible without souring your relationship with the hiring manager.
Use your spreadsheet as a tool to narrow down your interview ambitions, and as a tool for preparing for interviews. The interview will be of critical importance for both sides in determining if there is a good fit; I’ll cover that topic in my fourth and final piece in the Unemployed Pharmacist series.