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I stumbled across the web site, Trello a few months ago as I was searching for an online tool that would help me create to-do lists and generally help me manage my work-flow. Since then I have become a Trello devotee and could not imagine returning to a paper based system to help me keep my work on track.

Trello is a free, web-based system that can be used to plan and manage any activity. It allows a user to create a series of boards for their different projects. One could have a board for planning vacations, weddings, work projects, hobbies and just about anything else. Each board contains a series of cards (or lists) where important tasks can be broken down and tracked. Each item on a card can be ordered by importance and can contain comments, checklists and can have a due date. For those who want to take their organizing to the next level cards can also be assigned with colored labels and can contain attachments, pictures and links. A calendar provides an overview of cards with deadlines. When a card is no longer needed it can be archived and then easily summoned again if required. You can even email items to your board and they get automatically included – the possibilities are many.

The beauty of Trello is that you can start using it a simple electronic to-do list and it’s other features soon become obvious and once embraced become indispensable. The more I use it the more it becomes obvious to me that it would be a perfect tool to organize a job search. Rare is the job-seeker who organizes their job search in a systematic way. People use their phones, email and sometimes hastily-dashed notes to keep track of contacts, job applications, phone numbers and sundry bits of important information.

Trello could be used to create a follow up schedule. Follow ups could be classified by in-person, phone or by email and each could be assigned a due date. Cards that contain contact information for companies or people in a network could hold the vital phone numbers and email addresses. You could track job applications and of course create your to-do list. Because cards can hold all types of information you can put in links to job postings or even paste in the whole posting in case it gets deleted off the web. Using a tool like Trello will make allow you to take charge of your job search.

Trello is not perfect. It’s shockingly difficult to print your cards. There are some premium features that are only available to users who pay a fee. Luckily the basic free version is more than functional and the good people at Trello do very little nagging about upgrading your account to access the extra tools.

I’m convinced that anybody who commits to trying to use Trello to organize anything will find it easy to learn and will quickly come to realize its appeal. There is a corresponding app that can be used on a tablet or smart-phone. For a link to Trello and an example of how it can be used in your job search be sure to check the link at the end of this column.
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