How To: Tags vs Custom Fields

Today we got an email asking how to track something on a Job record.  Liz (who many of you have met online) responded saying to use Tags.

Tags are… awesome. That is, A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

But sometimes Tags are not the solution.  Sometimes you want to use Custom Fields.  Here is how they differ:

Tags are like a label.  Just like you use on Gmail (aka, labels), Flickr, etc.

Custom fields have two parts.  Think of it with this example:

Job Number: 123124

When you set up a custom field you put in the NAME of the field… in this case, Job Number (this might be what HR or the recruiter refers to).

Every time you add a new job record you can choose Job Number from the custom field drop down (since you already added it).

The value of the custom field for that job is “123124”.  The next job you put in might have a different value, like “EMC097345”

When would you use Tags, and when would you use Custom Fields?

I would use Tags when I wanted to GROUP or CATEGORIZE people… for example: hiring_manager, recruiter, high_tech, friend, family, etc.

I would use Custom Fields when I wanted to have a new FIELD on the Detail Page (of Contacts, Jobs or Companies), and each record could have a different value.  Think of this the same way that you have Last Name as a field, and different last names for each record.

So, two great ways to add more information to each record.

NOTE: For more information on Tags, check out this post: How I use Tags to organize my Contacts, Companies, Jobs