Keeping your personal records in order can seem like a major hassle. However, recent studies show that on average, we spend 153 days of our lives searching for missing stuff. One secret to getting organized is figuring out what you need to keep and what you can get rid of, then setting up a good organizational system.
During the job search, there are important documents you will want to have readily accessible. Organizing these documents will ultimately facilitate your life, your schedule, your job search, and make sure you do not forget or lose anything important.
Use the checklist below to help you get your papers in order.
Throughout your career and education, you will be asked for this particular information often. Keep these documents accessible to avoid scrambling to find the information at the last moment.
- Contact information for high school, universities or technical schools
- Transcripts: Most employers and higher education institutions require your transcript be provided directly to them from the institution. You can go online at Studentclearinghouse.org to have your transcript sent to an organization.
- Documentation from other educational activities like workshops or specialized seminars: Keep a copy of the original course outline, objectives and content with your certificate of completion, noting the date, provider and number of hours included, in addition to any license or professional certification you received.
- References: Think about who could write letters of recommendation for you and keep their phone number and email address handy.
Though you may not have amassed a fortune yet, you may in the future. Keeping track of the following will be important for you and the government, especially the IRS.
- Bank account information for direct deposit of paychecks
- Financial institution statements: Stay on top of this monthly so you can avoid surprises that might damage your credit.
- Retirement/social security statements: Collection for this starts the minute you’re employed, so monitor this for accuracy on an annual basis.
- Investment statements: Your employer may have a 401K plan that enables you to put money away tax free.
- Credit statements: With identity fraud on the rise, consider subscribing to a free monitoring service, like CreditKarma.com.
- Charitable contributions: Keep track of monetary, goods, and service donations. The sporting equipment you gave to the Salvation Army, the United Way collection at work, or the ten-dollar bill you gave to the Scouts at the car wash can be tracked and written off on your income taxes. Write a check or get a receipt and create a contributions file.
- Major purchase records: Be sure to keep the receipt and complete and maintain the warranty information in case there is an issue. Some expenses are tax deductible as well.
- Social security number: It's best to memorize this since you’ll be asked for this by every employer and for every financial transaction.
- Birth certificate: If you travel internationally for work or pleasure, you’ll need this to obtain a passport and may need it for a visa in some countries.
- Emergency contacts: Many employers will want to know who to contact in the event you become sick or injured on the job. This should be a permanent number and should be kept current.
This information can be maintained for your benefit and for those who live with you. Most jobs in the US will not require these, but depending on the job you’re applying for, you may need to provide current information for an opportunity, especially if that involves going abroad.
- Immunizations: Critical for travel abroad and any healthcare position
- Food allergies and sensitivities
- Doctor contact information
- Hospital contact information
If you will be driving on behalf of an employer, using a company car, or completing an expense account report, you may need to provide some of this information. It is also good to have since a car is one of those “big purchase” items that you might want to sell at some point. Keep this information accessible:
- Driver’s license
- Title and registration
- Auto insurance information
- Lease or purchase info/warranty
- License plate number (keep a photo on your phone)
- Maintenance records
- Auto shop contact
If you will be traveling for leisure or business, you should track your travel and take advantage of the perks available to frequent travelers. Keep the following on hand:
- Frequent traveler numbers
- Passports/visas and backup photocopy: It takes a while to get a passport, and you’ll save money if you don’t need rush processing. A backup photocopy might prevent you from being stuck in a foreign country if you accidently lose your passport.
- Travel agent number: Have the number of someone you can contact if you find yourself stranded without computer access.
- Emergency contact information cards: Keep this in your wallet and with you at all times.
- TSA/GOES or Nexis information: If you are traveling frequently, this will save you time and hassle getting through security lines and customs.
Important personal and financial records should be kept in a secure place that you can access when needed. Create a consistent place for storage, like a waterproof/fireproof storage box, an encrypted drive in safe storage or a safety deposit box at your bank.