Why You Should Keep a Job Application Spreadsheet

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Man working on computer spreadsheet.

Whether you’re currently employed or not, conducting your job search can be challenging. If you’re working, finding time to look for new opportunities can be tough. On the other hand, if you’re unemployed, you’re likely working on multiple opportunities at once. Conducting a full time job search can make it challenging to keep track of it all. If this sounds like you, you should develop a job application spreadsheet. It’s a simple solution to frustrating problem, but you’d be surprised how uncommon it is for someone to utilize this method of tracking. So if you want to find a better (and less stressful) way to keep track of your job opportunities, read on!

Building the Spreadsheet

We’ll start by recognizing that spreadsheets aren’t the most exciting tool to work with. However, in this case, it can be the difference between capitalizing on an opportunity or letting it pass by. Simply relying on e-mail chains will make it very easy to forget to follow up, check in with a contact, or worst of all, miss an interview. It’s much harder to forget when you have a spreadsheet holding you accountable. To begin, we’ll break down a few of the recommended columns, and why they’re helpful.

We’ve developed our sample spreadsheet in Excel, but feel free to use whatever software you are comfortable with. To start, we’d suggest sorting your spreadsheet by Date Applied, so make that your first column. This allows you to see which opportunities are fresh, and which ones are older and may need to be followed up on. Your next two columns should be Application Source, and Job Applied For. The titles are up to you, but these should reflect where you found the opportunity, and what the job title is. You also may want to hyperlink the job description for easy access in that column.

Next up is Company, Contact Name, and Contact Title. These three categories reflect the company the job is with, who your point of contact is, and their job title. Of course, you also want to keep track of important information like that contact’s Email and Phone. If you want to put this contact information into a separate spreadsheet, that’s also a valid option, especially if you have multiple contacts. We’ll be discussing a spreadsheet for networking in a future blog.

Tracking Status

Now that you’re done with the contact information, you should start listing columns that cover the job application process. A Documents Sent column is a good way to keep track of who you sent what. This is especially valuable if you are sending multiple versions of your resume and different cover letters. Your next column should be Status, which is a catch all term for the state of the job, whether you’re interviewing, following up, etc. You could also set up an Interview Time & Location column in the event that you are brought in for an interview. Lastly, we recommend three checkbox columns: Follow UpThank You Sent, and Offer Made. These three columns will  make you take action on the opportunities, so they don’t fall to the wayside. Following up will show the hiring manager your interest, and thank you notes can leave a great post-interview impression.

With these columns set up, you should have a great way to track current opportunities in your job search. Obviously set-up and design is up to you, so you should lay it out how you want. As time goes on, you will likely develop a great system. Once you start using it, you’ll notice a big difference in ease of contact, and ability to remember. You also won’t have to sift through multiple emails to determine what stage you’re in with a specific job opportunity. We hope you find this resource useful, and keep an eye out for our guide to a networking spreadsheet in the next few weeks!

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