Here’s the truth: There’s a lot to keep track of in your job search.
There are the tailored resumes you’ve created for each and every position. There are the key dates of when you applied and when is a suitable time to follow up. There are the details about the position that you’ll need to refer back to if and when you land an interview. Then there’s contact information, cover letters, and countless other moving parts that you need to juggle.
Groan, right? There are plenty of challenges that come along with your hunt for a new role, but staying organized has to be one of the biggest.
Fortunately, I have an easy way for you to stay on top of all things job search-related: A handy tool called Trello.
If you’re already familiar with Trello, that’s great! But, if you have no clue what I’m talking about, have no fear—it’s super helpful, but also totally painless.
Really, all you need to know is that it’s a way of visually organizing anything (from your work projects to a home renovation to, yes, even your job search) in one centralized location.
Traditionally a project management tool, Trello utilizes the Kanban Methodology—which, to boil it all down, involves columns that represent different steps in a process. I’ll spare you the in-depth project management lesson and the rest of the irrelevant details.
To get started, you’ll just want to get your own Trello account (it’s free!) and then create a designated “board” (every separate project gets its own board—it’s sort of like a home base) specifically for your job search.
Your (Super Quick) Trello Glossary
While we’re on the subject of Trello-related terms, here are a couple of others you’ll want to know:
Card: These are the individual pieces that you’ll slide between columns. You’ll create a card for each job.
Columns: These will represent the different stages of your job search—from interviews to rejections.
Are you still with me? Those are really all of the basics you need to know. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get into the nitty-gritty of exactly how you can use it for your own search.
Set Up Your Columns and Cards
To get started, you’ll want to designate columns for the specific milestones of the job search process. You have flexibility to do what works for you here. But, I recommend thinking through the traditional progression and ensuring that your columns represent those distinct stages.
On my own board, I have columns for:
- Potential Jobs: Jobs I’m interested in, but haven’t applied to yet.
- Applied: Jobs I’ve applied to, and am still waiting to hear back on.
- Phone Interview: Phone screenings that I have scheduled.
- In-Person Interview: In-person interviews that I have scheduled.
- Rejected: Womp womp. Jobs that have rejected me.
With your columns in place, create a card (just click “Add a card”) for each of the jobs you currently have in the hopper. For the title of each card, I recommend listing the employer name as well as the title of the position that you’re interested in—just in case you apply for more than one role within the same company.
Now? You have the basics covered and can easily slide cards between columns to indicate where they are in your job search process. So, let’s get into some other handy Trello features you can use to stay on top of your job search.
It’s tough to remember what the individual requirements and responsibilities were for each job you’ve applied to. Fortunately, when you open each individual card, you have the opportunity to add a description.
Within this section, you can include any of that need-to-know information, including:
- The job description (you can copy and paste it, in case it gets taken down in the middle of the hiring process)
- A link to the job description on the company website
- Contact information and other basic details
- Application instructions
- Any other information you deem relevant
By taking the time to fill out this description, you’ll have all of the pertinent information about that specific role in one place—without having to dig through emails or go hunting for it.
You already know that you should create a customized resume and cover letter for every single job you apply for. But, keeping those in order can he a headache. How can you remember what details you included for that specific application?
Fortunately, with each Trello card, you can add attachments—meaning you can attach your relevant files directly to the card for that specific position. No more going cross-eyed at the sight of that jumbled mess of computer files (you know you’re guilty).
Leverage Due Dates
There are plenty of deadlines associated with the job search—when you need to have materials submitted by or when you should follow up, for example. And, when you’re applying for numerous jobs in succession, it’s easy for your timelines to get all mixed up.
This is why it’s so helpful to set due dates on your cards. It serves as a great reminder of when you need to take a specific action. Plus, if you have your email notifications turned on, Trello will even send you a friendly reminder when a card is close to due.
Track History With Comments
Another great thing about Trello? At the bottom of each card, it’ll track the history of the actions that have been taken—such as when you set a due date or slid it over to a new column.
But, if you want to be extra organized, you can also leverage the comments feature to jot down updates and notes that are relevant to that position. Just write a comment and then click “save,” and it’ll be logged at the bottom of your card.
Honestly, I’ve barely scratched the surface on all that Trello is capable of (can you tell that I love this tool?). From adding labels to utilizing checklists, there are so many different features that can help you take your Trello board to the next level.
But, the basics we’ve covered here are certainly enough to start you well on your way to a far more organized and efficient (not to mention less painful) job search. Good luck!
Photo of person on laptop on floor courtesy of Westend61/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, productivity, and the freelance life. In addition to The Muse, she's a contributor all over the web and dishes out research-backed advice for places like Atlassian, Trello, Toggl, Wrike, The Everygirl, FlexJobs, and more. She's also an Employment Advisor at a local college, and loves helping students prepare to thrive in careers (and lives!) they love. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her two rescue mutts or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author