Applying for a new job can be a full-time job in itself. The amount of research required to find a company that you’re excited about and then a job that you’re qualified for can take a long time. Once you’ve found the position, you have to fill out the written portion of the application, ensuring your resume is up-to-date and your cover letter is exceptional. Through the interview process, you need to look up who you’re meeting with and think about questions that you want to ask along the way. In some instances, a sample test may be required before you’re offered the job.

Going through all these steps for one job is exhausting, let alone multiple jobs at different companies. Depending on your situation, you may be juggling this while working at your current company or finishing up college. To avoid getting burned out during the process, it’s essential to stay accountable. This means keeping everything organized and in place. Essentially, this will help you concentrate on submitting your best possible application each and every time. This article aims to guide you through the application process, equipping you with the accountability tools you’ll need to succeed.

1. Set Personal Mini Deadlines

Many job applications will have external facing deadlines, with a hard date where all interested individuals need to submit their materials to apply. While these are important to meet, you first need to set personal deadlines. When you’ve committed to start looking for a new position, create mini deadlines for you to work towards. These deadlines should be for requisite items such as updating your resume and getting character references. These are tasks that need to be accomplished before you can turn in any application.

When applying, having these mini personal deadlines in place will help you work backwards when it comes to meeting any externally facing job deadline. This will avoid you scrambling to get everything together before turning in your application. Other mini deadlines to create include doing proper research on each company you’re applying to and setting aside an interview outfit. No matter if you’re interviewing in-person or remotely, you’ll want to wear something that you feel confident in. But if the outfit is in the laundry, you’ll be rushing to put together something else that you love just as much.

Once an interview is scheduled, set a mini deadline to practice what you want to say. While your answers shouldn’t feel rehearsed, it can be beneficial to say aloud what you want to get across. Make sure you can answer succinctly why you are the best fit for this particular position. And, be sure you can also answer how you will enhance the team. Having two to three questions to ask the interviewer is always a good idea, as long as the questions haven’t already been answered. Rather than asking about health benefits or salary, ask about what the team structure looks like or what the morale is like at the company.

2. Use Your Calendar to Stay On Task

With all these mini personal deadlines to keep track of, you’ll want to have an organized methodology in place while you apply for your new job. You may be interviewing for multiple jobs around the same time. This is too much information for anyone to remember, particularly if you’re already working full time. With a digital calendar, you can set reminders for these deadlines. This helps to ensure that you’re prepped and planned for whatever the application may throw your way.

Whether you’re using Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, Microsoft Outlook,, or another platform altogether, create a label for your interview tasks. This color-coded label will help you recognize what needs to get done before a certain date. If you have an in-person interview a week from today, think about what you will need to accomplish before then. Put your mini deadlines on your calendar, such as refining your personal mission statement and researching the panel of interviewers. Setting reminders for yourself a few days before a major deadline can also ensure you’re holding yourself accountable.

But if you’re struggling to keep track of all your new job opportunities, know that there are tools available to help. Personal career development platforms such as Teal can assist in tracking all your potential job applications, reminding you to send follow-up emails, and autofilling repetitive questions. Through AI technology, it can even analyze your resume and provide insights for areas for improvement as well as suggest position-specific bullet point achievements. Think of this tool as your accountability sidekick to your job application journey — one with guaranteed highs and lows.

3. Find an Accountability Partner

Even with all these mini deadlines and sophisticated tools in place, you may not feel inspired during the job search. You may lose momentum after hearing a “no” from a specific company or finding out they decided to hire internally instead. Scanning LinkedIn for days upon days may leave you feeling more disappointed in what is available. These ruts are part of the process, unfortunately. And getting yourself out of them may mean finding someone that you can openly share and discuss your qualms with.

They say an accountability partner can help people with their health and wellness goals. Well, the same mindset can be used for your professional goals too. While this person may not be signing up for 6:00 a.m. spin classes with you, they can be there when you need a reliable sounding board. Having an outside accountability partner can keep you on task during the process, inspiring you even if things aren’t going as planned.

Finding an accountability partner for the job search is a bit different than finding one for your health journey. You want to find someone that won’t let your current employer know that you’re looking elsewhere. Thus, a current manager or coworker isn’t necessarily the right option. At the same time, you want someone that understands the industry you’re applying for. Therefore, a family member or friend may also not work out well. A career mentor, outside job hunter, or former coworker are all great options, as long as you feel comfortable sharing the journey with them.

Tips and Takeaways

Staying accountable while applying for a new job isn’t easy. Many people go months and months just browsing for prospective opportunities before they actually make any type of move toward this leap. Switching jobs within your current industry can make it all the more challenging. This is mainly because as you may not want to share your future career plans with your current manager. That said, there are tools and resources in place to keep you accountable throughout the process.

Staying organized is crucial to success. You want to put your best foot forward, so missing an external facing deadline isn’t ideal. Some companies may take note of this and penalize you for future opportunities. Using a digital calendar and a software platform to organize all of your applications can be beneficial. Take note of who you are meeting with and see if you have any mutual connections via LinkedIn.

Most importantly, remember that you are interviewing for the position just as much as they are interviewing you. If you don’t fall in love with the company or team, it may not be the right fit. Stay positive, seek opportunities that excite you, and hold yourself accountable in order to land your dream position.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Sora Shimazaki; Pexels; Thank you.