It is no secret the job market is more challenging now than it was several years ago. This means you will be facing more competition. Many employers have recently reported seeing a large increase in the number of applicants for job openings. They are also receiving more applicants that are well qualified, and perhaps even overqualified for many job opportunities.
Hunting for new job opportunities can be an exciting time when it’s new. You look forward to new challenges, greater financial rewards and finding work in a field you are truly passionate about.
After a while, you may find yourself getting bored or even frustrated with the process. To keep the momentum going, it is important that you approach your job search in a way that allows you to track job leads. This will help you keep up with important details about the job opportunities you are pursuing. This approach can also help you to discover job openings that fit your particular wants and needs.
A large majority of job seekers take a “shotgun” approach to finding new employment. This means they basically send out as many resumes as possible, fill out numerous applications, and fire off emails. This approach to responding to job opportunities does not allow them to keep track of relevant details. They are simply hoping someone will see their application or resume and somehow be inclined to initiate contact.
To be quite honest, in a job market that does not have enough qualified applicants and has an abundance of excellent job opportunities this approach can work in some cases. However, it is not a recommended approach. It is most definitely NOT the current situation and it is not very likely we will see that again for an extended period of time.
Don’t stress yourself out trying to find the right version of the resume you sent an employer or trying to remember who referred you for a job. Tracking these things from the start of your search will help you stay focused, develop skills to stay organized, and improve time management habits.
Now is the time to take it to the next level and use a professional approach in your search for new job opportunities.
Stand Out From the Crowd
Often overlooked, keeping track of job openings and tracking actual leads are key parts in finding that perfect opportunity you have been searching for. Not only will it help you be more productive, it will also allow you to follow up in a timely manner. You can easily track names of important contacts, and log details about interviews or conversations that have taken place.
Having this information at your fingertips will help you naturally memorize and recall important information when needed. It also gives you with a written log that can be referred to during phone calls and help you to always complete tasks on schedule.
Tracking Your Job Opportunities
1. Create a Spreadsheet
A spreadsheet is an excellent way to track your progress and stay on top of things. The most common applications for creating spreadsheets are Excel, OpenOffice, and Google Sheets. Some may not like the idea of making their own spreadsheet because they have never worked with these applications before and think it will be too difficult for them to learn, which is understandable.
However, learning to use a simple piece of software that can also be used in the workplace just might be a good idea, right? Not to mention, you can add this skill to your resume and job applications as well. Here is what should be included on the spreadsheet, but do not be afraid to customize it to your liking.
- Date Resume Submitted
- Date Interview Scheduled
- Date of Last Follow Up Call
- Company Name
- Contact Names
- Job Openings Available
- Last Action Taken
- Interview Summary
- Next Action-What is supposed to happen next?
This sheet should be filled out every time you submit a resume, fill out an application or even just have a discussion with someone about potential job opportunities. Creating your own spreadsheet allows you to make adjustments as things progress. You’re also learning a new skill that will make you appear professional to potential employers.
Many will notice the difference between you and someone using the “shotgun” approach. It is sometimes the small things that make the biggest impact on getting great job opportunities. This part of the job search process should not be overlooked.
2. Track Your Referrals
Networking can be a scary for some people. Hopefully, you have made it a part of your job search plan. If this is the case, you will want to keep track of who referred you to the various job opportunities so you can send a thank you note for the introduction. Although it is an excellent way to say “thank you” and shows professionalism, so few people actually do this.
When you take the time and effort to keep people in the loop, it makes you memorable.
3. Follow Up and Follow Through
It is up to you to follow up to see where the company is in the applicant review process. Set reminders for 1 week and every 30 days. This is very easy thing to do especially if you have a smartphone. You may need to adjust these timeframes based on the feedback you get. But make sure you continue to follow-up until there is closure.
Completing the follow through after getting a referral or contact name is also important. Put it on your calendar or in your phone, and it is more likely to get done.
When you have a system to keep track of your job opportunities, important information is less likely to fall through the cracks. You also feel like you are in control of your search and using your time effectively.
Related: Managing Your Job Search through Networking
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