How to apply for jobs

I know a lot of people are on the market these days, so I thought I’d put together a quick post on how I apply for jobs, and keep the application process straight.  The most important thing to have is probably the spreadsheet of jobs applied for, interview dates, and/or responses.  Just a google doc with the position applied for, firm/organization, date applied, follow-up, and response will do.  Try to keep it up-to-date – it’s helpful to know when you sent in applications and when you should make follow up calls.

Next step: create a document folder for job hunting.  Then, create sub-folders.  I create a sub-folder for each individual organization if they request multiple materials other than a cover letter and resume.  If they want a writing sample or have a specific application, they get a sub-folder.  In the main “Job Hunt” folder, I keep my up-to-date resume (labeled name_date), because in the past I accidentally submitted an old resume.  I like to have one master resume and avoid multiple copies, but sometimes experience needs to be tailored, in which case I create a sub-folder and the resume goes in that.  Other than specific organizations, I create sub-folders for types of jobs – e.g. “firm jobs”; “family law non-profit jobs”; “other non-profits”.   Generally, everything stays pretty organized.

The other thing that I think is extremely important is to make sure that you print all application materials to a .pdf.  If you are working in Open Office, there is a built in .pdf exporter under the file tab.  Otherwise I use CutePDF, which is a free program I’ve been using for several years.  I sent a copy of my cover letter to a friend yesterday for edits and she responded with, “the spacing is seriously messed up and your header looks weird”.  Your resume and cover letter need to always open and print onto one neat, professional page.  I also firmly believe in consistent file names – saving a document as Vado_Porro_Resume and Vado_Porro_Cover_Letter is helpful for employers who might be putting all the files in one place and don’t want to figure out whose resume is whose.

I also have a “job search” email.  It forwards from my gmail, but it is more professional sounding, and helps me keep my job applications and responses separate from emails from Ann Taylor suggesting I need another suit.

How do you keep your job search organized? Any tips for applicants?

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Filed under Job Search, Lawyering, Unemployed

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