Keeping a Journal of Your Job Search

Keeping a Journal of Your Job Search

People lead busy lives and constantly have a million things on their minds. It's normal to need to shift your focus. It is no secret that journaling, whether it be pen-to-paper or electronic, is a popular, and powerful, tool. People journal to achieve goals, as an emotional catharsis, and to boost mindfulness. Keeping a journal of your job search can help the process immensely. A journal gives you a way to make progress while getting the necessary mental shift.

Why a Journal Will Accelerate Your Job Search

Keeping a journal is the easiest way to lay out your job search plan. Journal writing builds communication and writing skills, tracks progress, allows for emotional growth, reduces stress, and improves your memory. Write down what you've done and what needs to be done so you can analyze what is and isn't working in your job search. With this, you can measure setbacks and progress so you know how to distribute your time efficiently.

The journal will also contribute to a very necessary positive mindset. Visible goals are easier to keep at the top of your mind, which helps motivate and direct your actions. It goes without saying that approaching your job search with genuinely positive motivation will assist in accelerating the rate at which you land a job.

How to Structure a Job Search Journal

A job search journal without organization is unlikely to help you. It's important to have structure so you can navigate your notes. Journaling looks different to everyone. You could use sketches, to-do lists, or even narrative writing.

However you structure it, the goal in your job search plan is to keep track of the job title, company, job description, and company visions or values. Also document any application deadlines, the status of your application, and respective dates for sending thank you notes or status inquiries. Particularly in today's job market, it can take a large number of applications before you're actually hired. You want this information recorded clearly.

Keep your primary goals and objectives in an easy-to-access place. It can be subconsciously inspiring to read those in your daily review. Make sure these are realistic goals. 'Land a job in two weeks' is almost definitely a recipe for disappointment. Instead, the goal could be to have applied for and recorded x number of jobs.

Keep a calendar that you can refer to for important deadlines and interview dates. Often it is easier to see a traditional grid calendar every time you open your journal rather than use the digital alternative on a phone. Here you can also do some habit tracking to analyze your job search habits.

How to Avoid Despising Your Journal

You've applied for 50 jobs and nobody's hired you yet. Your journal only makes that more obvious with every 'declined' note you make. Don't trash the journal just yet! These rejections can lead to a disheartened mentality and can take a toll on your mental health. Instead, use the journal to identify where you could have improved.

What were the learning experiences? Most applications require you to become familiar with a particular company. Perhaps you did some basic skill building that you thought would impress the recruiter in the interview. What about your interview? Identify the questions you didn't expect and make notes first on how you answered them, and then how you would answer them now that you've had time to consider.

If you're not big on keeping a journal, you may struggle to make this a habit. Find what works for you in your job search plan. For some, traditional pen-to-paper writing is most effective. Others prefer the technological route. There are plenty of applications such as Excel, OneNote, and Google Keep. Try to be consistent for 20 days and it should get easier.

From Journal to Job

A job search will be daunting, time-consuming, and quickly amount to a lot of information. Keeping a journal is a productive way to consolidate the details of each job you apply for and be organized with important dates and deadlines. Structure and a written outlet are proven to aid mental chaos. Choose your journal of choice and you're ready to job search.

Written by Career Specialist Jan 17, 2023
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