Or how I used Trello to subsequently get a job at Trello.
The job hunt, like any hunt, is not for the faint of heart. Sure, there are periods of fast paced exhilaration. You get excited as you start to envision your fictional life in your amazing new career. But there’s also the stress of tracking down your elusive prey: gainful employment. It can render you discouraged, unsure, and terribly disorganized.
I know because I have been there. I recently went through an arduous, months-long job search. I found, however, that the process really streamlined after I adopted Trello into my workflow. Now that I'm gainfully employed, I wanted to share some useful tips on how to use Trello to organize a job search. In the interest of full disclosure, I inevitably got a job at Trello. Instead of just meta-blogging, I enlisted the help of a few other folks who used Trello for a job search. We compared notes and compiled some suggestions to get you going.
Starting off with a blank Trello board and a vague end goal can be overwhelming. When Jesse Lamb, former Project Manager at Meetup, set out for a new opportunity he dedicated his first Trello list solely to preparation.
“Prep contains things I need to do to get ready for job hunting, like updating LinkedIn and my resume, and people to catch up with,” Jesse explains. This is a great way to give yourself a nudge in the right direction. You will want to put your best digital face forward to prospective employers, and staying organized behind the scenes is an easy way to build upon small victories.
Give yourself a high-five! You just made your first list. Corner office here you come.
On the “Prep” card, a simple checklist might help you remember all of the little things you wanted to get together before applying: print your resume, get a haircut, delete retweet requests you sent to celebrities on your birthday. But there’s also room to expand. To take a card from Jesse’s board, “I also like that if something on a checklist becomes more involved I can easily convert it to a card.”
Over time, a list like Prep can be archived as you move further into the application process. Or, if you’re like me and really enjoy scrolling down a long list of “Done” cards, just throw them in a finished list to revisit in a time of emotional need.
Lists of Listings
Next, you’re going to need some job postings, or else this board will be about as effective as bringing a six pack to an interview. If you’re anything like I was, you treat job hunting like online shopping: you’re constantly reading the listings, but not necessarily ready to apply at that second. Before you know it you have five browser windows up with so many tabs open you can only distinguish sites by their favicons.
Luckily Jesse also had a nice fix for this. First make a card for each job listing, with the title being the company name and available position. Next, move the cards into easily distinguishable lists titled “Interesting Positions,” “Wish List Companies,” “Current Opportunities,” and “Cold Opportunities.” This workflow provides a seamless way to move job posts from list to list as the process becomes more in depth.
Imagine the sheer elation you will feel when a job listing transforms from a “Wish List Company” to a “Current Opportunity.” It reminds me of the time I Riverdanced around my apartment after my phone interview with Trello. Plus, now you’re no longer drowning in a sea of browser tabs.
Record Your Progress
You will also need a way to keep track of all these great cards you just made. When you’re really in the thick of it, things can get crazy.
Writer, podcaster, speaker, and generally well rounded career hustler Josh Medeski had job prospects so diverse in nature that he needed to maintain a detailed log of all his activity. He used the comments section on the back of a card as a way to document each detail: how many times he followed up, who at the company he talked to, and what they talked about. He used the timestamp on each comment to keep track of when each of these interactions occurred.
“To be able to be that articulate with your details [when following up with a company], I give full credit to Trello,” he explains, “I used the commenting system as a sort of personal activity log.”
One time I had a morning phone interview and a late afternoon in person with two different companies. In between, I was feverishly checking the notes on my cards to make sure I had all the correct times.
And for my final trick… The Label Enable!
Now that you have successfully cultivated a solid list of job prospects, take a moment to marvel at your own ingenuity. You just might find a position with decent stock options, after all! You have ample lists and cards, complete with notes, but you might start feeling overwhelmed again. It’s not surprising if you begin to wonder to yourself, “How can I better distinguish all of this information?”
Enter the labels feature: another way to filter and categorize your cards. Above are multiple examples of how to label your different listings; it all depends on your workflow. For Renaissance Man Josh (left), labels help distinguish the type of job. For Project Manager Jesse (right), it’s all about directing job listing traffic: green means “Now,” yellow means “Next,” and red means “Later.” He also uses “Blocked” to indicate he is waiting on another person in order to move forward.
My labels are broken down by job title:
As I like to say, “career opportunities are like shoes: you can never have too many.”
We also went ahead and made a sample board that you can copy. We set it up the way we have outlined in this article, but feel free to customize any way that suits you!
Job Search Sample Board <-- copy me!
So there you have it: a few ways to use Trello to ease your job search stress. We know that job hunting isn’t exactly a favorite pastime, but it can certainly get smoother with an organized Trello board and a shiny, new pair of interview shoes. Good luck!