Tracking Your Job Search With A Spreadsheet
When it comes to finding employment, you want to hedge your bets by casting as wide a net as possible.
This means applying to multiple positions with different companies, talking to different recruiters and HR teams, and navigating numerous hiring processes…
But as you start to get into the thick of it with so many leads, it’s easy to lose track of where you stand, where you’ve applied and what steps you still need to take to ensure you follow through everywhere.
That’s why smart jobseekers keep a detailed spreadsheet of their job hunt activities, replete with all the information they need to fully pursue the myriad of positions they apply to. And, if you take the time to study our guide, you can too!
Start By Choosing Your Software
Many different spreadsheet tools exist that can allow you to make a detailed inventory of your job search info. Pick one that you are familiar with, or do a quick study of one of the more popular ones if you haven’t used one before. Also consider researching which would work best on your mobile device, so you can be updating on the go.
We suggest Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or LibreOffice Calc. The last 2 are free, and Google Sheets even lets you store your information on the cloud so you can easily access it anywhere from your account.
What one is YOUR go-to?
Categorize Your Columns
Once you have a new spreadsheet open, it’s time to set up column headers for the different items pertaining to each job you’ve applied for. Here are the items that you’ll want to track:
- The name of the company
- The name of the hiring manager or recruiter (whoever you’ll be communicating with)
- Include their title if known
- The contact information for the recruiter
- Make sure you notate how they prefer to be contacted
- Location of the employer
- Note if there are multiple sites of operations
- The job title for the position you’re applying for
- The salary or wage, if disclosed
- A link to the job posting
- It is a good idea to also copy key points about the position from the posting, in case it is removed later on
- The date you applied
- The closing date of the job opening, if disclosed
- List of materials you have provided so far
- Resumes, cover letters, references, etc.
- Outstanding documents
- Try to keep this column empty by submitting outstanding documents ASAP
- Next Step
- Review this section frequently to ensure you are up-to-date with your to-dos
- Date of interview(s)
You may have other items about potential jobs that you’d like to compare against others, so feel free to add additional columns to provide even more of a breakdown of what each job offers.
Track Progress With Checkboxes
Having easy items to check off lets you track your progress more clearly. Try adding the following columns of checkboxes to help you stay organized:
- Have you been contacted back yet?
- Have you followed up?
- Allow recruiters time to process your application. Sending a follow-up email or call should take place about 2 weeks later, unless you have more specific information about when you should expect a reply.
- If yes, specify when.
- Have you received an offer?
- If yes, be sure to add the date that the offer expires, if it is known.
- Have you received a rejection?
- Move rejections to another page/sheet if you want to clean up your spreadsheet, but don’t discard them. They will help you avoid redundant applications, and you can see how well you do with certain employers over time.
Consider adding progress checkboxes for individual items that still need to be completed. Waiting for a background check to come in? Or have multiple interview stages to complete? Break them out into steps so nothing gets missed.
Add Important Dates To Your Calendar
We recommend checking your spreadsheet daily as part of your job search. But to help you automate the process, be sure to add important dates to your calendar so you receive timely notifications to complete whatever stage of the hiring process you need to.
Job searching can be a confusing process when you spread yourself too thin, so make things more manageable with a spreadsheet instead! You’ll feel more structured, prepared, and capable of handling a broader search, improving your odds of finding the perfect job. Plus, you’ll be brushing up on your organizational skills at the same time!