Devon for the Job Search

David Parry bio photo By David Parry

As I mentioned here earlier, this year I will be finishing my dissertation, and thus am also in the process of looking for a job. As I also mentioned managing all of the job ads, documents, forms, etc. that I need for this process quickly became a job best handeled through Devon. So, what I thought I would share today is how I set up this process (since I did get more than a few requests for this). Like most things I post here, there is probably a more efficent way to handle this, but this is what I have developed, and it works well so far. (I think most of what I outline here would work with other notetaking/managing software programs, but again in my mind Devon seems the best.)

Setting Up

  • The first thing I did was to create a separate database to handle all of this. If you are not using Pro you could just set up a folder within the database, but since this seemed to me a “separate” process, I wanted it to have its own database.
  • Next I created a sheet. Devon allows the creation of “sheets”, basically these are like excel documents, without the ability to handle calculations. Now while I don’t need the ability to execute math equations on my job search, I do want to be able to keep things in nice sortable tables for a quick look. If you don’t have Pro, or if you are using a database system that doesn’t allow sheets, you could create this document in any spreadsheet program, but having it in Devon allows me to pull off some swanky tricks (more on this later). So, I created columns for school, department (some of the jobs I am interested in are in English some in New Media), job title, date review starts, date review closses, and a url for the associated webpage. I also added columns for all of the documents that I could be sending them: CV, cover letter, writing sample, teaching statement etc.
  • Finally I created a folder called “job listings” that has nothing in it right now.

Okay so this gives me a database with a spreadsheet in it, ready to handle all of the jobs, now the key is filling in that spreadsheet with all of the jobs that interest me.

Looking for the Jobs

I am going to use the job list as an example here, but whatever discipline you are in, the procedure should work the same.

  • First I log into the database and input the search fields, let’s say I search for all “18th Century British Jobs” (I am not 18th Century British this is just an example). The job list could return 100+ jobs, not all of which I am qualified for or interested in. So I look at each job, when I find one that interests me, I select the associated text and than select “Take Rich Text Note,” this will copy and paste the selected text and send it directly to Devon. To make this really easy you can ues the keyboard shortcut, Cmd + ) (Cmd + Shift + 0).
  • I do this for each job, now I have individual listings in Devon for each job in which I am interested. The beauty of Rich texts notes, is that they can contain links, so it preserves all of the formatting from the ade list, making it really easy to click on the link from the job list and go to the college or university. Plus the formatting stays the same, this makes it easy to look at. Finally by default Devon makes the title of the note the same as the first line, which in this case is conveniently the name of the institution. (Note: this only works if you have a Webkit based browser-Safari, Omni, Shiira.)

Compiling the info

  • Once I am finished looking for jobs and sending them over to Devon, I move over to using Devon (no need for my Web Browser anymore). In Devon I open the sheet into its own window so that I have two windows now open: 1. The main Devon window. 2. The Master Sheet. (again you could have another spreadsheet program open instead of Devon if you don’t have Pro.)
  • Let’s say I found ten jobs that interest me. The task is to get these ten jobs listed into the spreadsheet so I can keep track of everything. I select the first job in the main Devon window so it I can see the whole listing, and now just type the info into the sheet. When I have finshed with that job offer, I hit the “classify button” and select “move to.” Since I only have one folder (job listings) it is the only place Devon can look to move it, send it to the folder. Now I only have nine rich text notes, one for each job I have yet to put in the spreadsheet. I repeat this until all of the jobs are in the spreadsheet, and all of the rich text notes are in the job listings folder.

Tracking Everything

As is, this is a really efficent way to conduct the job search. Consider what I can do:

  • Enter any school name into the search field and find the listing on that job. (Forget about logging into the job database, and trying to find that job again.)
  • I can sort the sheet by any field I want, the most useful being review begins, or review closes, this way I can see what deadlines are approaching
  • Search my database by job type, to see which ones fall under which department.

But Wait . . .

There is more . . .I can pull of some swank tricks using the sheet. I can click on a particular entry and it opens in a separate window, and its drawer shows “similar” documents, one of which is of course the job listing, which allows me to quickly find/move to that job listing’s rich text note.

Even better, when I get to the point of sending out documents I create a folder with that schools name, and put copies of all the info that has been sent to them. This way I know precisely what information they got.(Mainly this is a job of putting replicants or duplicates into that folder.)

And if a job requires special forms, for example certain post-docs, I just download those files from the webpage, and throw them into Devon as well. Now I don’t have to go searching for that postdoc application from Rutgers. It’s in Devon easy to find.

Efficent, and organized. Here’s hoping it produces results.