Evernote My Job Search Secret Weapon
I will be writing a series on the tools that I am using to help me in my job search efforts (not just social media). For the most part these are software or web applications that I either had lying around the house or are available at no cost or with a trial period. Free is good, especially when money is tight, like it is when you are searching for a job.
No I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have used these tools for a while and have a pretty good idea of what they can do to help during a job search.
The first tool in this series is Evernote – also known as my “other” brain. The one that doesn’t forget.
I have used Evernote since April 2008 and found it to be a rare combination of something that is very easy to use and works the way that my mind does or at least I think it does .
The good people at Evernote explain their product a lot better than I ever will, here is a link to their website Evernote and below is a quick video that helps explain it better to those who are visual learners:
Another great blog post that has a great ideas about how to use Evernote from MakeUse.com
Using Evernote during my Job Search
The biggest thing that I love about Evernote – is that it is so much more than a note taking application (which it is great at too). You can clip webpages and add tags, file the information directly to folders, so that you can actually find all that research you do online, instead of either forgetting where it was or have a bazillion bookmarks/favorites, to search through to find what you are looking for.
I also like the idea of being able to forward and then file my emails (or Tweets if I want) in Evernote and other information together, instead of having to search through multiple programs to find what you are looking for. Emails from a company and the research I have done on that company.
The ability to find again, what you have found once, is in my opinion Evernote’s greatest asset to me during my job search (or other times).
With Evernote I can find something I have filed or created in Evernote by using their search function. It finds what I am looking for - even when I don’t file or label things correctly (I just have to remember to be in the “All Notes” folder-otherwise it will just search the folder you are in). I can search for information that I have put in Evernote by folder, keyword, tags, date, etc. That is the beauty of Evernote you can make it as organized as you want or need for your personal choices on how you find information quickly and easily.
Also you can make it so when you search in Google it also searches your Evernote account, which allows it to “find” information you have in there, without having to open Evernote.
When you go to a seminar, class or meeting and they pass out paper notes – how long do you keep those notes? If you are like me you throw them in a folder someplace and then forget the information in there. With Evernote you can clip, type, scan, create audio or video notes that are searchable later when you need to find that key piece of information you learned.
Also after a meeting or interview – you can take a minute to add a note about the meeting/interview and reflect on what happened, how you did or add action items that you need to take care – send that Thank You card.
Right now my most used function for Evernote is as a task manager. No Evernote is not designed for that function, but with a little tweaking and compromising on a couple of things, it does what I want it to. Being able to file my completed tasks into someplace where I can find them when I need to, is a big deal to me (I hate going through TODO lists or Task Managers trying to find a task I did before and try hunt for it).
Everything that I clip or forward to Evernote goes into my !!TODO Notebook (it is my default) for either proper filing or added to my TODO list. Unfortunately Evernote does not have a Date Due field, so I just format the title of the note with MM/DD/YEAR – Title, so I can sort the tasks by date. It might seem a little cumbersome, but it really isn’t that much more work than clicking a drop down menu or calendar. It also makes me stop and think when I want to get it done. For changing when it is due or recurring appointments, I just change the date – I know old school, it works for me.
I have put most of my portfolio into Evernote, so that if something were to happen to the hard copies, I would still have the information available to me. This is one of those ongoing projects and I still have a more information to put in, but as long as I put a few things in daily, it will be done before I know it.
Some people just dump everything into one Notebook in Evernote and rely on the search function. Personally, that would drive me nuts, I prefer to have Stacks (the top level) and two levels of Notebooks setup and then use some tags to help me find things quickly. Below is an example of what I mean.
I do think that you have to figure out how you want to organize the data, that will work for you. Organization is not a bad word.
Trick that helps
One of the tricks that I learned from another techie,was using the !, *, $ type symbols to bring a folder higher in order than it would be in the default alphabetical order. Just a quick and handy little thing that I found very helpful. Here is my folder setup:
Why this file tree?
Inside my Job Search Stack is background information that I have come across during my research, so that I can keep articles, blogs and other things in one place. I believe that I will be moving contacts to its own stack and then creating files on each person that I am in contact with (a crude CMS).
Each job that I apply for will go into the Job Application stack and then be sorted by Company/Job, then I can print out necessary info, for my brag book if it gets to the interview stage. As I get further into my job search, this can be adapted to fit my current needs.
Evernote has become my GOTO software/web app, that I just keep open all the time on my devices and one consideration that I put a lot of weight on – whether I will use a browser or hardware is if Evernote is supported or not. That is how much I like Evernote and believe in its usefulness.
I can’t say any more than that.
If you are interested in my qualifications and experience, please download my Resume, read my About Me page, go to my LinkedIn account, read my other blog “A Veteran Runnah” or better yet ask me by contacting me directly – by clicking here.