How to Organize Your Job Search (Steps, Templates & Free Tools)

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February 14, 2024
Edited by
Camille Trent
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min read

3 Key Takeaways

  • Tips to keep track of job postings, applications, documents, follow-ups, and more
  • How to save multiple versions of your resume and cover letter (without getting confused)
  • How Teal’s Job Tracker can keep your job search running smoothly

Keeping your job search organized can be a struggle. You have different resumes, cover letters, work samples, and requirements for different job applications. You have contact information for various hiring managers. You’re mixing up companies and names. You’re monitoring job alerts and new open positions. You’re preparing for your scheduled interviews.

It’s a lot. And it’s only a matter of time before something falls through the cracks.

But here’s the truth: Understanding how to organize your job search can improve your odds of an offer. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be hard. In this guide, you’ll learn simple steps to stay on top of all of the tasks and materials involved in your job search so you can pursue your dream job in a way that feels more strategic than stressful. The article covers tips and tools to help you:

  • Track your job applications
  • Prioritize job opportunities
  • Save jobs for later

Understanding the job search process

When you’re trying to organize anything (whether it’s your closet or your job hunt), it’s helpful to have a basic grasp of everything that’s involved. If you know the basic elements, you understand what’s coming and can develop a system with that in mind.

Consider the stages in a typical job search before creating a plan to streamline one or two steps.

  1. Search for relevant positions: Pursue your favorite job sites for jobs that seem like a good fit for you.
  2. Save jobs: You can’t apply to every new job you find the moment you find it. Saving job opportunities that interest you makes it easy to revisit them later and craft your application.
  3. Refine your materials: Tailor your resume and write a targeted cover letter to present yourself as the best candidate for the specific role and company you’re applying to.
  4. Submit your application: Answer the application questions, include your tailored materials, press “submit,” and hope to hear back from the recruiter.
  5. Complete a phone screen or initial interview: Most employers use a phone screening or brief initial interview to narrow down the initial batch of candidates.
  6. Participate in the interview process: If you move past that first discussion, you’ll engage in additional conversations with the employer. The number of interview rounds can vary, as well as who you meet with each time.
  7. Review the job offer: When things go well, you’ll land a job offer from that employer. You’ll review the information carefully and, if you have other job offers on the table, compare them to each other.
  8. Accept the job offer: You reached the finish line. You’ll officially accept the offer and get ready to start your new job. Of course, there can be some nuance and variety here, but these are the basic steps in your job search pipeline.

Teal’s Job Search CRM lets you easily see which stage you are in with each application, manage company contact information, store opportunities, and more.

organize job search for job seekers
See the status of every application at a glance with Teal's Job Tracker

NOTE: Some employers might use skills assessments or test assignments. Your interviews could be in-person or remote. Some companies might skip the initial phone screen and jump right into the regular interview process. But in general, most hiring workflows will follow the above order. 

How to organize your job search

It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of exactly how to organize your job search. Here are five steps to maintain some order, track your progress, and maximize your effort. 

1. Start early

It’s easier to organize your job search from the get-go rather than to play catch-up after you’ve submitted dozens of applications. So, if you can, set up your job search system before you jump into the application process.

2. Choose your approach

From a spreadsheet to a project management platform to a designated folder in Google Drive, there’s no shortage of ways you can track your job search. 

Teal’s free Job Tracker combines the best of all three of those status quo options. Using the Google Chrome extension, you can bookmark jobs you’re interested in, track every job application, and tailor different versions of your resume and cover letter to each saved job description.

3. Create a naming convention

You’ve probably been here before: You make a change to one version of your resume and save it. Before you know it, you have 12 different versions and can’t remember which is which. 

resume versions
Include job title and company name in your resume naming to easily find the right one

Keeping track of the materials to submit your job applications is one of the toughest parts, but establishing a naming convention can help. You could name your documents by job, company, or group (for example, a “marketing manager” resume and a “content marketing lead” resume). It makes it easy to reference and submit the right documents—without having to open each one. 

In Teal’s Resume Builder, you can adjust the name at the top of your document so you can quickly recognize each one in the grid view. 

4. Set your job search goals

You have your long-term career goals, but in this step, you’re more focused on bite-sized objectives that relate to your actual job search.

You might decide that you want to stick with a job search schedule (like dedicating an hour each evening to look for an open position). Or maybe you want to apply for three jobs each week. The point is to set some targets so you can keep yourself on track without getting overwhelmed. 

5. Stick with it

To stay organized, you also need to stay consistent. Regardless of what approach you use to stay organized, make sure it’s something that you can commit to for the long haul. It’s easy to revert back to saving things directly to your desktop. It will cause more harm than good if you only use your organization tools half the time. Now you’re searching multiple places for files and information.

Tools to organize your job search

Organizing your job search doesn’t have to be costly. There are plenty of free job search tools available. For example, a simple job search tracking spreadsheet can help you quickly and easily keep tabs on your search for a new position. 

But if you’re looking for more functionality and features, Teal is the best way to tailor and track your job applications, organize your documents, and stay on top of all of the details. Teal offers a:

AI resume builder

Use AI to instantly write and rewrite your resume and cover letter to different job descriptions.

Job tracker

Monitor the status of all of your applications (and know when it’s time to check in with the hiring manager).

Email templates

Included with Teal+, professional application email templates make it easy to stay on top of every interview and application process. 

job application follow-up email templates
Make follow-up easier with free email templates for every stage of the application process in Teal+

Job bookmarker

Teal’s free Chrome extension makes it easy to save jobs, contacts, and companies across LinkedIn and other job boards in one place

Compare the best job search apps for more job search organization tool options.

How to track your job applications

Tracking every job application helps you understand which roles you have yet to apply to, which ones you should follow up on, and which ones you can forget about. It’s essentially a bird’s-eye view of your entire job search, so you can quickly and easily understand the status of every open application.

Teal’s job tracker is the best way to manage this. Here’s a quick rundown of how it works:

  1. When you find a job you want to apply for, use the Chrome extension to save the job and all of its relevant details to your tracker.
  1. Once you’re ready to move forward, click the “Applying” status from the dropdown and review Teal’s guidance for tailoring your submission.
CRM for job seekers
Follow each step in the application process to never miss a beat with Teal's Job Tracker
  1. When you’ve applied, change the status accordingly—and do the same for other steps like “interviewing” and “negotiating.”
job search organizer
Change the application status in Teal to see your follow-up dates and best opportunities at a glance

The grid view of your job tracker will show you all of your saved jobs in one place where you can sort them by status, location, company, date you applied, follow up date, your excitement about the role, or a variety of other criteria.

That’s a brief overview, but you can learn the ins and outs of the job tracker in this video: 

How to prioritize job opportunities

You only have so much time and energy for job searching, and you need to focus accordingly. So, how do you prioritize opportunities? There isn’t one “right” approach here—it depends on your circumstances. You might choose to rank job application to-dos based on:


When you know you’re a no-brainer fit, have a connection at the company, or anything else that elevates your chances of moving forward, you don’t want to let those opportunities slip by.

Pro Tip: Use Teal’s Matching Mode to see how many skills in your resume align with the job description, then optimize accordingly. Teal walks you through how.


If you’re particularly excited about the company or job, it’s worth bringing that opportunity to the top of your list.

Pro Tip: Consult community-driven resources like Glassdoor and Blind to better understand what current and past employees have to say about the company culture, opportunities, and outlook.


If there’s a looming application deadline, you need to get your information submitted before it’s too late. 

That’s not an exhaustive list, but they’re all important considerations as you figure out which jobs to jump on and which ones you can take a little more time with. 

How to save jobs for later 

From LinkedIn to job boards to company job pages you can find job openings in seemingly endless places. The last thing you want to do is lose or forget about one. That’s the benefit of saving jobs for later—you keep them on your radar, even if you can’t take action right then and there.

This is simple with Teal’s chrome extension. Install it and, if you’re on a supported job board, you’ll see the extension appear in the bottom right corner of your browser. 

Open the extension, navigate to the job posting so the details can auto-populate in Teal, and then hit the “save job” button. Just like that, it’ll be saved to your tracker where you can see all of the information and track your progress directly within Teal. 

Why you should organize your job search

Why bother organizing your job search journey at all? Well, investing some time and energy into building a reliable system offers several benefits: 

Boost your efficiency

It’s easy for job hunting to feel like a full-time job. But it’s even more time-consuming when you need to search for information or duplicate your work. Being organized helps you avoid wasting time and helps you jump on ideal job openings even faster.

Increase your accuracy

Submitting the wrong resume for a job posting, using the wrong company name on your cover letter, mixing up your interview time—all blunders that can cost you the job. An organized job search makes it easier to stay on top of all of the details involved in landing your next position.

Reduce your sense of overwhelm

There’s a lot to juggle in your job search, and that’s especially true if you’re doing it on top of an existing full-time job or other responsibilities. Keeping it all in your head instead of in a tracker will cause mental fatigue. When you commit to saving and tracking your progress outside of your brain, your hunt for a new position feels more manageable and a lot less stressful.

Improve your results

An organized job search means you not only avoid some of the mistakes mentioned above, but also that you’re able to put yourself in the driver’s seat of your search. You’ll know when it’s time to follow up or how to find the relevant information to make your application stand out. Organization not only makes job application and follow up easier, but also more effective. 

Replace job search stress with more success using Teal

Repeat this to yourself: a successful job search is an organized one. And fortunately, taming the chaos doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming. 

With the right tools and systems in place, you can trade clarity for confusion and set yourself up for not only an organized job search but a successful one. 

Manage your entire job search with Teal. Get started for free today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some effective ways to track job application statuses during a job search?

An effective way to track job application statuses is to use a spreadsheet or a job search management tool. Include columns for the company name, position applied for, date of application, contact person, follow-up actions, and status updates. This allows you to have a clear overview of where you stand with each application and when to follow up.

How often should I update my job search organization tools?

It's best to update your job search organization tools at least once a week or immediately after any significant development, such as submitting an application, receiving a response, or completing an interview. Regular updates help ensure that your information is current and that you're on top of any required actions.

Can you suggest any free tools that help with organizing a job search?

Yes, there are several free tools available for job search organization. Trello and Asana offer visual boards to track your applications and tasks, while Google Sheets is a versatile option for creating custom spreadsheets. Additionally, job search platforms like Indeed and LinkedIn often have built-in tools to keep track of jobs you've applied to.

Kat Boogaard

Kat is a freelance writer focused on the world of work. When she's not at her computer, you'll find her with her family—which includes two adorable sons and two rebellious rescue mutts.

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