Whether you’ve just graduated or have been looking for a job for a while, this is one thing you all should be doing…
Keeping a Job Log.
I keep an Excel spreadsheet detailing all the jobs I apply for, including any relevant information. It’s just good sense to keep track of who has your materials (you know… in case they call or are interested…), but you also should know people’s names and contact information. Personalize it to your liking. My headings look like this:
Across the top I have the dates spanned (I ended up continuing on another sheet in the same document because it was easier to visualize all the information).
The first column in the status of the hiring procedure. I color code these too so I can quickly gauge my search. Green is positive, red is negative, blue is other, orange (not pictured) is following up. I really should distinguish between “rejected” and “never heard” (both are red), just to see how many times ends are never officially tied.
The second column is the job number. I just applied for my 124th job in 19 months. This is just information I like knowing.
The next few columns are place, position, and location. These have to be exactly right so when I follow up I don’t have to dig around to be sure I’ve got the correct job title.
The sixth column is the date applied. This is very important. When you follow up, dates are crucial. It makes it easier on HR to find your materials and shows you are organized. Plus it lets you easily keep track of how many days it’s been and when it will be appropriate to contact someone about the job.
The seventh column is the application method. Did you use an online application or paper? Did you email your materials directly? Where did you see the job posted?
The next columns are whom you sent your materials to, their job titles, phone numbers, and emails. A given. Sometimes job descriptions will list contact information that does not appear anywhere else on the organization’s website (sounds baffling, but I’ve experienced it). Once the job description is taken down, so is that information. If you haven’t recorded it, that’s not good.
The last columns are for the interview date(s) and how you followed up. I also note how I am treated during the hiring process, how I feel, and if I was disappointed. These experiences can actually make for good job interview responses to questions like “Describe a time you were disappointed by an employer. How did you respond to the situation and what would you do differently?”
The point is, you always want to know where you’ve applied. If you are applying for a second time, mention that you’ve already applied once before, are still interested in the organization, and have acquired new skills/experience, and even cite something recent that the organization’s done that makes you excited (because you’re following these places on Twitter and Facebook, right?). Additionally, if someone contacts you about a job, you want to know all the information regarding the application. That’s your responsibility. Finally, names and dates are paramount. Be able to refer to specific dates when you made contact with a specific person. You’re not trying to fluster anyone with details, but that should put a little pressure on people to give you up-to-date information.
Another thing you can do to make sure you’re on top of things is put the numbers in your phone. That way when you get a call from X organization, you won’t ignore it because you know who’s calling you.