Contact/Activity Management Software

I was recently laid off and am deep in the throes of looking for a new job, and I am having difficulty keeping track of my job search-related activities. I am positive there is a tool out there that does the things for which I am looking, but I am not sure how to classify it enough to know what keywords I should use in my search for software tools.

I am looking for something that is probably in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) space, but I am not sure if that is the whole thing I need. What I really want is something that will help me track the following:

[li]Recruiters with whom I have made contact;[/li][li]Weekly activity stream (résumés sent, interviews held, latest status);[/li][li]Places applied;[/li][li]Potential leads to pursue;[/li][li]Research on companies to which I am interested in applying.[/li][/ul]

On the one hand, the tool needs to be able to keep track of contacts and potential leads, sort of like a CRM, but on the other hand, I want to be able to keep track of the daily/weekly activities, which is almost like a diary of sorts. I’d like to be able to see where I am in the process with each recruiter or lead with whom I have had contact.

Of course, the tool needs to be free or really cheap. (I know, I know, ya gets what ya pay for.) I don’t need something the size of Salesforce or any enterprise CRM systems. It doesn’t necessarily have to be online, as long as it runs on Windows.

So far, I am tracking some of this stuff using Excel, but it is definitely not the right tool for the job.

Does anyone know of anything like this? It doesn’t even have to be a single tool, as long as the data in one tool is easily shared/viewed by the other tool.

Any thoughts or opinions?

I don’t see a single tool that would do all this methodically, but I’m not sure that’s what you need either.

You could probably use Evernote or Microsoft OneNote to keep track of all this. In your workspace, each potential employer gets their own notebook, with entries such as contact information, copies of the original job offerings, logs of calls and messages you’ve exchanged with each. If you expect multiple opportunities per company, use one notebook per opportunity.

The approach I used a few years back was just to have a bunch of folders (directories) on Dropbox. One folder per employer, potentially subfolders for each job opening. In each folder, I kept all reference documents for the job in question: copies of the résumés I’d sent, PDFs of job descriptions, NDAs, simple text descriptions of conversations, etc. I could access these documents on any of my PCs or, in a bind, on my phone or tablet. In my case there weren’t that many offers active at a time, but if you expect to have dozens, maybe you can assign them numbers : 0034_BurnsNuclear_Springfield_technician.

Alternatively, you could do something similar using Google Drive/Docs or Microsoft OneDrive/Office 365.

In any case, many of your exchanges will be via e-mail. You should use a cloud-based e-mail system such as GMail so that the same messages will be available on all your devices. Don’t leave anything in your Inbox, systematically use folders or tags with the same names as your document filing system above.

I would add contacts directly to Google Contacts or Apple iCloud, so that when my phone or SMS rings I would know which company it’s from.

Thanks for the response. I am already doing the folder thing on my computer, and will start organizing my inbox as you suggested. (I’m normally a leave-it-in-the-inbox kind of guy, but, hey, I’m willing to change!)

A friend of mine suggested Trello, and I’m giving that a spin, but, so far, I don’t think it is the right tool. Perhaps some of the limitations I am running into with Trello is that I have a free account, and can’t add any “Power Ups”, such as a Calendar view.

I have looked into CRM tools and to be honest, even the most expensive ones are definitely not worth it for as small a scale as you’re talking about (or for what I would need). For me, tracking on an excel file is about the best and obviously cheapest solution. There are free excel templates out there, just google and you might find something that suits your needs.

Barkis, I think you are right.