The Great Job Hunter never goes on the hunt without having a number of tools in their backpack. One of my best ones is a spreadsheet to track every application I make. It isn’t difficult to make one of these, but with the right information in it you will have an expectation about where you are in the application process and always know what the position is and what resume you used to apply.
I use a simple spreadsheet to cover all the pertinent information about my applications. It helps me keep all the details straight and lets me know when I need to follow up as well. It prevents me from answering a call about a random position that I applied for and have no memory of.
This is an easy to create tool – all you need is a device running Excel and just enough knowledge about Excel and other office applications to build. With this tool, your only problem is to remember to update it for every application whenever you have a change to make.
Job Application Tracker Setup
We will start by opening Excel and choosing a NEW workbook and creating column headers. You can build this however you want, but I’ve set mine up as following:
- Company Name – Very self-explanatory. In here you enter the name of the company you have applied to.
- Company Contact – If you receive a call back or an email from someone trying to fill a position, put their name here. There may be multiple contacts. You can make a list of email addresses, just separate them using a semi-colon or a comma depending on your email address separator.
- Company Contact Email – Email address of the person who contacted you.
- Company Website – The website of the company you have applied to.
- Company Address – The address of the company you have applied to.
- Position Title – The name of the position this application was made for
- Position Description – I copy and paste the description from the job page to a Word document, then link it in this site. When I click on it, it will open that word document.
- Application Date – the day you sent the application.
- Resume – Link the resume document you sent in for this application.
- Cover Letter Sent – Link the cover letter document sent in for this application.
- Interview Date – Once an interview date is set, put it in here. It will come in handy when following up.
- Notes – ALL of your notes from any contact for this position. Be detailed and thorough.
- Follow Up Date – Set dates to follow up on the application. Follow up after the application, follow up after the interview. Make sure they remember that you are interested in this job.
- Feedback – Put any feedback the company contact and interviewers provide here. Again, be detailed and thorough.
- CUSTOMIZE – This is the general setup I use for my own tracking. You can customize it any way you want. Add columns, topics, more information – make it your own so that it works for you.
Using The Job Application Tracker
The Job Application Tracker you have just created will provide numerous benefits. My biggest use of this database is to go over my feedback for the jobs I apply to. In the notes, I list everything I find out about the company and interviewers. Large companies might have a specific set of interview questions. I keep track of those in the notes. If you add a filter on the column headers, you can sort by the company you applied to and begin seeing that list of interview questions form which will help you prepare for the next time you interview with them.
The description of the job helps a lot as well – especially when being contacted by numerous recruiters. I originally created this because I would apply for a job and expected I would be fine anticipating everything just from my memory of applying. My first job interviews after that proved me wrong. Once I began tracking the applications, I was able to pull from my research that was listed in the tracker to remember anything I needed to. My biggest issue, which was what questions about experience I didn’t have on the position description, I could anticipate and have ready to answer before the question was asked.
Tracking Companies With The Job Application Tracker
What I have found most useful about the Job Application Tracker is the ability to track the companies I have applied to. In some cases I have applied for the same position multiple times. Once I started using the tracker, I began recognizing the people I was talking and interviewing with better (my memory is horrible). I started tracking other things in the same manner … Contact names, family, life – things I would pick up in small talk sometimes.
I began to ask about certain pain points I had learned about in previous conversations and ask how the new project is going. Because of the knowledge I had gained and tracked, I began fitting myself into the companies I was looking for positions with, making them understand better how I would fit into their organizations.
One of the companies I worked with had started a major project that I had been considered to work on. While I did not get that position due to lack of experience they were looking for in that industry, I became familiar with the project and would ask how that project was playing out in future contacts. Sometimes I wouldn’t get a response, but a few times someone would bite and let me know how far along they were and maybe I could get more information from them.
Using The Job Application Tracker For Networking
Obviously, Networking is not what the tracker is built for. For that I would suggest another tracker altogether that would help you check in on a regular basis with those contacts. You should keep some networking information in the Job Application Tracker though. Keeping those contacts at the companies you apply at in your hiring loop is extremely important as is keeping the company information you learn from those contacts. Make sure you update notes for the contact as well, so you know when you have talked to them, tidbits that they say that might clue you in on other opportunities.
Let your contacts know you are thinking of them as well. If you didn’t get the position, let them know that you are still open to other opportunities and check back with them frequently.
Pulling It All Together
The Job Application Tracker – while not necessary – should be considered a highly valuable tool for any Great Job Hunter. This tool allows you to keep your applications organized, memorized and every contact high quality. This will provide you with multiple paths to success in your hunt and long thereafter. Even after you have The Great Job, keep updating it with company and contact information. Keep it very accessible because you never know when you will need to update it or if you have a need to provide a contact to another Great Job Hunter.
Thanks for reading – and Be Real!