A little organisation goes a long way when job hunting

When the time comes for you to start looking for a job, things can get fairly scary.

"Where do I start?" "What do I apply for?" "How do I apply?" "Cover letter, no cover letter?" "What site should I use?" "Agency recruiter?" "Referrals?"

Truth be told, it’s not that scary to search and apply for a job, and a little organisation will go a long way to help you through the process.

Have your CV ready

First of all, you need to get your CV ready. Use your past performance reviews to help you describe your main achievements. Save yourself a bit of time and allow yourself to be found directly by recruiters. Let's face it, recruiters 1st stop when looking for a candidate is always LinkedIn. If your profile is mostly empty or doesn't match your CV, you're pretty much shooting yourself in the foot.

Check Indeed

Indeed indexes all job postings; it’s a one-stop-shop for job seekers, so save yourself some time during your job search! Make sure you’re on the right country site. If you’re in Ireland and looking for a job in France for instance, make sure you go onto indeed.fr.

Use the ‘Advanced Search’ button to look for jobs more precisely. If you have already applied to some companies, you may want to exclude them from your search by entering them in the “With none of these words” box.

Some jobs will allow you to apply directly using the CV that you’ve stored on the Indeed CV Database. It can be really useful if you’re running your search on your mobile, however, it means you won’t be able to tailor your CV to the job – and we all know tailored CVs perform better when it comes to applications.

Indeed also allows you to save your searches to create job alerts, so whenever a job that matches your criteria pops up, you'll be notified (but don't rely 100% on these alerts, you could be missing out).

Read the manual!

You’ve found a couple of jobs that are looking good. Now read the job description carefully, especially the section about what the specific job requirements are.

Does your experience match what the company is looking for? Roughly, your profile needs to match at least 70% of the requirements. By requirements, I mean the “must-haves” to do the job.

Say, the job description is for an Inside Sales Executive role with 5 years experience. You absolutely need to have inside sales experience; this is a non-negotiable. Ideally, around 3 years experience in a similar or transferable role. If the other 2 years were in a field sales role, that could still work.

Remember, if your current job is not relevant for the “must-have” requirements, your application will be competing with candidates who are in a similar job at the moment and your chances to be called for interview will decrease.

Read the job description all the way to the end. I'm not saying that it's best practice to put qualifying requirements at the very end, but I've seen it before. Don't waste your time applying for that marketing manager role that was the perfect match... except it required fluency in Russian.

Click on the ‘Apply’ button

You’ve clicked on the ‘Apply’ button and you’re now faced with a 3-page questionnaire detailing all of your experience, education, etc. The big question now is: do you REALLY want to work for this company?

It could be a test, assessing your attention to details when you fill in the form, ensuring that it matches what you have on your CV.

There could also be screening questions, such as “Do you require a work permit to work in this country?” or “Do you have inside sales experience” or “Tell us why we should call you for an interview?”


If you answer yes and the recruiter calls you, they will ask that question again, and even if you’re happy to pay for your work permit, the company may not be in a position to wait for the 3-6 months processing time to find out whether or not your work permit is approved (or denied).

If you’ve answered “yes” on the minimum experience question, your CV will find it’s way to the recruiter’s review pile, and the recruiter will most likely get annoyed and will quite certainly not call you… ever.

If there's a motivation question, do your best to provide a witty answer that will catch the interest of the recruiter and/or Hiring Manager.

Don’t forget to upload your CV!

Once you've uploaded your CV, make sure that it has parsed properly (you usually get a preview where you can check that), that your name is in the correct place (hello, JOBSEEKER Jones!) and that you have attached the correct file.

Check that your phone number hasn't dropped a digit in the process. You'd be surprised how much .pdf files can get messy during the application process.

Yes, yes, yes and yes? Then you can go right ahead and click on finish your job application.

Now, let’s organise your job applications!

You need to keep track of where you have sent your CV. Open an Excel/Google spreadsheet and write down the basic information about your job application. It should pretty much look like this:

organised applicationpng

I fully appreciate that it's a bit of a chore, but if you’re actively looking for a job, and applying for a high number of positions, you need to keep a record somewhere.

If the job description includes the name of the recruiter, an email address or a phone number, it could be useful to record them so that you can follow up.

Sometimes job descriptions will disappear between time when you had applied and the moment you’re called for interview. That's not magic, this is simply because the company has received enough applications and the role is no longer open for applications. So if you haven't recorded the job ad somewhere, you'll be losing on valuable information to prepare for your interview.

Why should I bother with records keeping for my applications?

Do you have a photographic memory? No, me neither.
If the same company has 2 very similar jobs that open within a couple of weeks; will you remember for which you've applied?

You’re bound to apply for jobs through recruitment agencies, and you won’t know for which companies the roles are until you’re called by a recruiter (unless you do some in-depth research and know your market really well).

The very first thing the recruiter will ask is: “Have you applied for a job at [company name]?” Will you remember if you have? Maybe, maybe not. But companies hate it when a candidate applies directly AND through an agency. It gets really messy.

Ready, steady, go!

Now make sure that you’ve got your voicemail set up and that you check your spam folder regularly as recruiters will get in touch with you soon!