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TYLER, Texas — For candidates in transition, a poorly organized job search can damage your career brand.  In other words, being disorganized and unprepared is a sure-fire way for a candidate with an otherwise good reputation and solid record of accomplishment to fall from glory.

organized candidateWhen that happens, do not expect a call from the recruiter.  At best you may receive a terse email or a generic letter.  If your offense was with a search firm, your stock, in all likelihood, has plummeted to the lowly status of you are in our database base but that’s about it…

When working on multiple searches, it is hard, if not impossible, for recruiters to call every candidate who telephones.  It is extremely off-putting to return a call to a job seeker who is so disorganized that they cannot remember which job posting they called about.  While this is not an every day occurrence, it is common enough that I wanted to mention it here.

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Here are five tips on how to be an organized candidate:

  1. Dedicated work space:  Create a dedicated work place in which to manage your job search, preferably one you do not share with someone else — spouse, partner, roommate, kids, etc.
  2. Dependable telephone service:  If your cell coverage is spotty — inconsistent —  from this workspace, either install a traditional land line, change cell services or change office space.  Recruiters say that as the number of households ditching land lines in favor of their cell phones increases, the problem of unintelligible cell garble and disconnects is becoming an every day occurrence in screening interviews.  If you regularly have this problem and are constantly having to apologize to recruiters, you are damaging your brand/hurting your chances.  We also strongly encourage candidates to create a personalized voice mail greeting for any phone you will be using in your job search.  Using a standard format where an automated voice states the number is not helpful to recruiters who will not know if they have contacted the right person.
  3. Dedicated email account:  If you do not have a dedicated email account for your job search, you should create one.  When a candidate uses something like the SelfFamily@XYZ.com, you are not projecting the type of career brand you will need in an exceedingly competitive job market.
  4. Maintain a job search journal:  Create a journal, either electronically or in a hard copy format, to record your telephone calls, networking activities and follow-up action items.  For most people, looking for a job is not second nature.  Names and other valuable bits of information that might open important doors that you think you may remember later often fade away.
  5. Compile a list of questions you are asked in the various interviews:  Research has shown that between 60 and 75 percent of the questions you are asked at each stage of the interview process will either be the exact questions or a variation of ones that have been asked in previous interviews.  By compiling this list, you can help prepare yourself for interviews in your current search, as well as future ones.

You should also update your profiles for your professional associations and LinkedIn.