There are two categories of data and information every job seeker needs to organize:
Because networking is so important to your job search, it is not just job-specific contacts that you need to track. Family, friends, colleagues, classmates, acquaintances, and any new contacts specifically for your job search all should be cataloged in one master list or database. Even people who do not seem relevant to your search now may turn out to be relevant:
By keeping all of your contacts in one overall list, you easily can move people into and out of search priority and are always reminded that everyone is a potential help to your search.
Your overall contact list should include, but not be limited to the following:
Your contact list should also be categorized by relationship:
You can also categorize each contact by priority. Some salespeople will classify contacts in their database in order of how hot the prospect is—that is, how close they are to buying. You might want to categorize by priority of how much contact you want to maintain over the year:
You want to maintain your C relationships, but you are not trying to grow them. B contacts are people you are trying to get to know better. B contacts might become A or C contacts once you have a better sense of the relationship.
When you categorize your contacts, you are able to sort and find people for your exact needs. If you need a favor, you would look through family and close friends. If you have a general professional question, you may start with colleagues. If you are working on networking, you might want to look at B contacts specifically so you can find the people you already tagged as those with whom you want to expand the relationship.
Even though your whole list is important to your search, some contacts will be closer to your search outcomes than others. For these contacts, you need to track information beyond just contact information or category. For the search-specific list, this includes everyone with whom you have inquired about your job search. Your well-connected Aunt Mary is appropriate to your job search–specific list because in addition to being family, she works in the industry you are targeting. Informational interview contacts go on this list. Of course, people who interview you are on this list.
For the search-specific contacts, you will want to track the following information: