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Andrew Lisa
LA-based freelance writer
LA-based freelance writer

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Are you hoping to land your dream job, but you can't stop getting in your own way? Get organized!

Getting Organized: Key to Landing Your Dream Job 

Looking for a job is a full-time job in and of itself. If you're looking to land your dream job, you're going to have to work extra hard — and getting organized is the first step. A serious job hunt has a lot of different angles, and if you don't have a good strategy for getting organized, then you don't have a good strategy for getting a job. 

Follow this guide to get your life in order before you go on the job hunt.

Organizing Online

The Internet is the workhorse of the modern job hunt. Getting organized must start online. Start fresh and don't let your personal or professional online life overlap with your search for your dream career. 

Create a new email address. It's free, and it only takes a few minutes. Make your new email name dry and professional — KnicksFan420 isn't going to impress the headhunter. 

Create a new folder in your bookmarks just for the job hunt. In that new folder, you'll be able to create subfolders for different job boards, forums, agencies, companies, etc. Organizing online is the first step to separating and categorizing — the dual keys to getting organized.

Organizing Your Contacts

Contacts are everything. You've heard the term "networking"? It's a made-up word. It just means establishing contacts and using them effectively. 

Looking for a job involves reaching out to people multiple times for multiple reasons. You will probably organize your contacts online, but whether you're modern or keep an old-school written address book, you need to have a master list broken down into categories. Your categories will be unique to your situation, but they will include sections for: people you already met with and are awaiting thank-yous, people you need to follow up with after initially contacting, people who are expecting your resume, people you cold called, etc. 

Organizing Your Calendar

When it comes to getting organized, the granddaddy of all the tools available is a calendar. Some people rely on online calendars; some people like a traditional paper calendar that you write on. You need both. 

Your online calendar is great because you can update it on your phone or tablet or laptop or friend's computer or whatever while you're on the go. Having a physical master calendar at home, however, gives a visual center to your job hunt's home base. You can scribble notes onto it and see a broad overview of everything you have going on. Physically checking things off of your daily to-do list is an awesome psychological reward. 

Organizing Your Paperwork

Job hunting brings mountains of paper clutter, and all of it needs to be organized or you'll never be efficient, and you're almost guaranteed to lose or forget something important. Paper clutter is ugly, and it builds up fast. 

There are a million different ways to organize paperwork, but there are a few keys central to any system. First, centralize. Get all your paper in the same place instead of having them scattered around the house. Get a filing system with folders, preferably color-coded for easy identification. In your folder for resumes, have tabs for different kinds of resumes. Same for cover letters, job posting printouts, responses from employers, and other paper clutter you accumulate.

Organizing Your Time

Your precious, finite, limited, non-refundable time is the most valuable and easiest-to-squander resource you have. Get up early. You're not a morning person? Tough. The working world is. 

Break your day down into realistic, doable tasks. Be ready to leave on a moment's notice in case someone calls you in for an interview. Looking for work is a full-time job. That makes you your own boss. 

Cluttered space, cluttered life, cluttered mind. Getting organized is the first step to finding your dream career. Taking charge of your physical space is the foundation on which your job hunt must be built. 

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about careers and the job market, and profiles top trial lawyers such as Tim Broas.

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