Creating Your Career Transition Binder

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

If you’re in job search mode, you should create a binder – your very own Career Transition Binder. I’ve found that there are two types of job seekers: those who create a binder to keep track of all their networking, interviewing, career documents, lists, and contacts in one place – and those who don’t.

Guess which group tends to make more progress, get more interviews, land great jobs more quickly, and negotiate better deals? Yup – the binder people!

Think you can track and manage all this information “electronically” – on your Smart Phone, PDA or Netbook? Think again! I’ve had plenty of technology-savvy clients try to do this, but it never works. They ALWAYS wind-up using a paper-based organization system, in the form of their own Career Transition Binder.

Your Career Transition Binder will help keep you organized and allow you to know where everything is. Think of it as “Command Central” for your entire career transition campaign. After all, you need to take your career transition as seriously as any REAL job you’re ever going to have. Treat it like a work project!

People who create and use their Career Transition Binder find themselves taking it everywhere they go – to the library, to coffee shops, to networking meetings. Sometimes, they even take it on interviews.

It’s wise to set-up this system early – before you need it. Before you’re drowning in handwritten scraps of paper, notes to yourself on the backs of envelopes, loose business cards of people you’ve met, and stray Post-It® Notes.

Go to your favorite office supply store and get a few 2-inch, heavy-duty, “D-ring” professional binders. Buy a 3-hole punch, and multiple sets of divider tabs. The following list provides the suggested sections for organizing your Career Transition Binder. Adapt it as you see fit:

  • Accomplishment Stories
  • Positioning/Departure Statements
  • Professional Biography
  • Target Companies
  • Contact List
  • Networking Contacts
  • Professional Reference List
  • Letters of Reference
  • Resume
  • Self Assessments
  • Networking Agenda/Script
  • Networking Records and Notes
  • Follow-up Tracking System
  • Copies of Written and E-mail Correspondence
  • Master List of All Jobs You’re Actively Pursuing
  • Interview Notes
  • Articles and Research
  • Job Postings
  • Recruiters
  • Ideas/Notes
  • Inactive Section (Don’t throw anything away!)

Once you’ve built your Career Transition Binder, keep re-organizing and re-prioritizing the documents as you make progress and as new opportunities arise. This will serve as your portable, 3-dimensional “database” and job search pipeline, so you’ll always know where you stand and what’s next with any prospective opportunity.

In the job search, it seems that half the battle is getting – and staying – “super organized.” Your Career Transition Binder is still the best, most effective tool for doing this!

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at www.CareerPotential.com or contact Ford directly at 1-800-972-6588.

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