Looking for a new job is a lot of work. You might be looking at half a dozen job boards, fielding connections from your network, working with a recruiter, and using a job marketplace like Underdog.io to put your résumé in front of hiring managers. At any given time, if you’re really looking, you might have dozens of conversations in flight. How can you organize your job search? We built an easy-to-use job application tracker you can use, but here’s the rationale behind it.
Startups are busy environments, and even though hiring may be mission-critical for early-stage companies, it’s just one of a wide variety of equally mission-critical tasks and challenges facing founders and hiring managers. It’s really easy for someone to drop the ball as new and pressing things to do keep pushing your last communication further and further down in their inbox. That’s why being proactive and following up is so important.
But it’s also common to apply to a large number of positions, especially if you’re actively searching. To make sure you stay on top of your follow-up, you’ll need to keep careful notes on when each interaction (email, call, or interview) took place, so you know when enough time has passed to reach back out and see how things are going. Most of the time, you’ll want to reach out if you haven’t heard from someone you’re already talking to in about a week, unless they specify a different time frame.
The other main benefit is to reduce the likelihood of duplicating your own effort. You may come across multiple roles from the same company, or the same role multiple times. If you’re not logging all the conversations you’ve had, you might even forget about one of them and apply again—not a good look. Keeping a record of every application you send makes it much easier to avoid mistakes.
Finally, tracking is key to understanding your job search performance (and for forecasting timelines). What roles are you getting the most interviews for? Where are the best places to look for jobs? How long should you expect a hiring process to take, and how many meetings or calls does it involve? To keep your expectations realistic and prioritize your search efforts according to their biggest impact, you’ll need to answer these questions—but you can’t if you don’t track the information in the first place.
For every application you send, you’ll probably want to track a few things to make sure you’re organized and on top of everything.
In addition, you may want to track some of these other data points to derive information about your job search performance and understand your timeline.
To make your job search as easy as possible, we built a downloadable job application tracker that collects this information (aside from notes), calculates followup dates, and reports on your job hunt’s performance and timeline.
Feel free to make a copy, and let us know what you think! We’re always curious to hear how candidates track their job search—drop us a line if you’re willing to share your organization and tracking techniques.