Imagine the scenario. A few weeks into your job search, your mobile rings when you are not expecting a call.
At this point you are likely to feel very excited that your application has actually been seen and enticed a real person to call you up. However, you’ve applied for so many similar roles that you are not actually sure which job they are referring to. Caught off guard, you are suddenly very much on the back foot.
You haven’t tracked your applications in a clear way, and are flummoxed as to which opportunity this exciting call actually relates to. Although you are determined to blag it, you are painfully aware that being caught on the hop means that you are not presenting the calm and professional image that you had aspired to deliver.
This is why using a job search tracking system is essential to manage your job search, enabling you to keep a handle on pending applications and ensure a professional response each and every time.
Here are four key benefits of tracking your job search:
It allows you to keep a firm grasp on which jobs you have applied for (so you know the status of each application and are well-prepared for the recruiter’s call)
It gives you a clear oversight of which version of your CV you have presented for each job opportunity (handy for the interview if you are offered one!)
It enables you to track what is working versus what is NOT working in terms of your job search activities (allowing you to refocus and refine your efforts)
It ensures that you don’t apply for a job more than once (saving your blushes, your precious time and that of the recruiter)
What elements of your job search should you track?
Job site details:
Name and website address of the job sites you are using
Your registration details including user name and password (keep these secure either by password-protecting your document or keeping physical files under lock and key)
Details of services signed up for on each site
Position title, employer name and reference number of any jobs applied for
Through which job site or other medium (employer website, careers fair, referral from an existing employee, recruitment agency etc.)
Date the application was submitted
Copies of the job advert, job description, person specification and application forms or guidance, if available
Which version of your CV and cover letter you applied with – keep copies on file for each application
Contact details for the recruiter and the employer in question
Any responses in terms of acknowledgements of receipt, information on the recruitment process – referencing the name, title and organisation of each and every contact you engage with in relation to a particular application, along with the date and time of any contact
Details of any follow up activities you undertake in relation to the application and your scheduled next steps
Interview details (think positive – build it and they will come!)
What tools can you use to track your job search?
Tracking your job search doesn’t need to be a high-tech activity. It can be as simple as manually recording details of jobs applied for in a notepad, or using an A4 file to keep printouts of all job application details, with a divider to separate each one.
Or, you could use a Microsoft Word document or Excel spreadsheet. You can develop your own chart, selecting headers to meet your own needs, or request a free one from us via email@example.com.
You can print the chart as a blank template to fill in as you make progress in your job search, or keep it on your PC or laptop if you are likely to be at your computer to access the information when the recruiter calls.
If you are likely to receive a call from a recruiter whilst out and about, it would be worth familiarising yourself with your current applications, however it is perfectly acceptable to politely thank the recruiter for calling you, ask for details of the client company, specific role details and where they found you, then ask to set up the call at a better time.
Online job search tracking tools
Some online job sites offer candidates the facility to create a profile which will track the jobs they have applied for on that site, keeping all the relevant data in one place so you can easily call it to hand as needed. This works fine when you are concentrating your job search activities on one specific site, but if you are using a number of sites, this could be complex to manage.
Another option is using an online job search management tool, which have been developed to help candidates to track their job search activities. Free examples include:
JibberJobber describes itself as ‘a personal relationship manager that allows you to do everything you need to do to manage a job search and optimize your network relationships – for the duration of your career!’ The site’s features allow jobseekers to manage and organise their job search by keeping track of applications, managing relationships with professional contacts and targeting companies which may support their career goals.
Jobspeaker helps candidates to stay organised in their job search. The site enables jobseekers to proactively manage all of the details of their job search, making sure that they are always ready for a recruiter’s call.
Jobseekers can search for jobs across their favourite job boards, rank jobs and track progress of applications, manage events and interviews, store job search documents, research and track potential employers and manage their contacts.
Have you been tracking your job search? If so, are you using a high-tech or low-tech approach? If not, it’s never too late to start! Request your free copy of the MS Word chart we have developed to help you track your job search at firstname.lastname@example.org