University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Organizing Your Job Search

By Jessica Miller, M.Ed., Training Coordinator, Employee Career Services

Looking for a new job can be time consuming. Having a weekly plan can help organize tasks and keep track of what positions you have applied for. At the beginning of each week, list all you plan to accomplish. The amount of time you choose to devote on your job search is up to you; however, there are guidelines that have helped others in their planning.

If you are unemployed, plan on making five or six face-to-face meetings each week and making at least 10-15 calls per day.

If you are currently employed, reduce that to one or two face-to-face meetings weekly and one to three calls per day. These may be accomplished over your lunch time or after work. Avoid allowing your job search to interfere with your current employment.

Preparing for the Job Search:

  • Develop an "elevator speech" - an introduction statement describing your background, skills and abilities
  • Research and identify target companies/industries
  • Research market for salary information
  • Spend time preparing for interviews
  • List questions that have significance for you
  • Develop a list of networking contacts
  • Prepare a reference list and contact them
  • List recruiters/staffing agencies that are industry specific

Sample of a Weekly Job Search Plan:

  • Meet with a career counselor
  • Review the University online job postings
  • Develop resume and cover letter
  • Calls to referral contacts
  • Calls to new contacts
  • Contact HR offices and/or hiring managers
  • Set up face-to-face meetings, networking lunches, breakfasts, dinners
  • Contact networking associations and recruiters
  • Attend job fairs
  • Send resumes with cover letters and follow-up thank you notes

Personal Job Search Strategy


  • What percentage of your time is spent networking?
  • How many networking events have you attended?
  • Number of contacts listed?
  • How many referrals have you called?
  • How many interviews resulted from networking?

Ad Responses

  • Total number of resumes sent during job search?
  • Applications completed on Internet?
  • How many job boards posted?
  • Percentage of time spent responding to ads?
  • Number of interviews from ad responses?

Marketing Letters

  • Time spent in sending letters/resumes?
  • How many industries/companies targeted?
  • Response rate from follow-up calls?
  • How many interviews have been generated from cover letters?
  • How many thank you letters/notes have been sent?

Job Search Results/Assessment

  • Which areas have generated job search activity?
  • Where do you need to spend more or less time?

This is a big list of possible activities. Use the Job Search Activities Worksheet (pdf) to organize and monitor your job search. If you are new to the search, choose several of the items and focus on them. As the weeks go by, you will have accomplished more and more of these goals. And, you'll be a better job searcher!