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Why always having a notebook on hand is essential for your job search

Between studying for finals, managing your extracurricular activities and balancing your social life, it can be hard to stay on top of your job search. You may have reached out to a company via an email in October, then let it slip your mind to follow up as you got busier throughout the semester. This is why having a notebook on hand is one of the most important tools in your job search.

With hundreds, if not thousands, of companies out there that you could apply to work for, keeping track of your job search progress can be difficult if you don’t stay organized. While some may prefer to stay organized digitally, with a Microsoft Word or Excel document, I love having everything written out. I feel like writing things out helps me remember them better, and can be much quicker than opening up a Word document, typing things out, saving it, etc., etc., but to each their own.

Anyways, with second semester quickly approaching, prime internship application time is almost upon us (unless you’re in one of the majors that begins the internship search early on in the fall semester, then you probably already have your plans for the summer made).

For me, I have a notebook categorized by the various industries I plan on applying to (I am a Visual Communication Design major, but am interested in everything from advertising to hospitality). The categories are indicated by color-coated post it notes visible from the top of the notebook.

Within these categories, each page is a different company. I have the company listed at the top, along with areas for me to note if I have already reached out to them via phone, e-mail, or LinkedIn, when their applications are released, etc. I also use this space to note if I have been rejected, invited to an interview, or if I’ve been offered a position already, and what their acceptance deadlines are. If I happen to know someone within the company, I also note this on the page along with any attaching any business cards I may have from the company.

I reserve the bottom halves of the pages for notes. These notes can range from anything I feel I need to mention in my cover letters to any research I may have done on the company. Sometimes, I’ll randomly think of interesting things about myself or minor accomplishments that I may have previously overlooked that I think would be beneficial to mention to certain companies. Since I usually don’t have time to sit down and crank out a cover letter the second I have these thoughts, it’s been extremely helpful to have my notebook on hand in my school backpack so that I can jot these thoughts down to save for another time.

While having handwritten notes with color coated Post-It notes may not be for everyone, it is still important to find out a way to stay organized in your job search. If you are much more comfortable using your phone, then by all means, do so. Having everything in one place can send a tremendous amount of time and stress, and being organized and persistent in your job search is just as important as having a strong resume to back you up.

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