Organize Your Job Search

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If you’re like me you started your job search with a lot of motivation, applied to every job you could find, and then waited for the responses to roll in. Some roles that you applied to responded back that they’d like to talk, some returned word that your application had been rejected, and some returned no word at all.
So, of all the applications you sent out, which were rejected and which were accepted? To figure this out, you would have to search through your email. And the importance of this is twofold.
First, you might want to review the description of the role that you’ve just be invited to talk about.
Second, you’ll want to separate your remaining, non-accepted, applications to get all the applications you haven’t received a response to because you’ll want to follow up on those applications, and it’s a good idea to refer back to the listing you are referring to since the recruiters you are following up with likely have many similar listings they are contending with at once. And on top of that, where are you writing the name and emails of all these recruiters, because chances are they aren’t emailing you with their email addresses so you’ll have nothing to reference later on. Though, even if you did have all of their email addresses. You’ll need to write them all down somewhere.
I don’t know about you but I’m expecting to send out 300+ applications, and so having a way to track applications submitted, a posting to that job listing, the name of the recruiter associated with that posting, a link to any profile they may have, their email address, whether you emailed them yet or not, whether you followed up with that email, the status of that application, each for every application you submit.
Here, I will go over my solution to this problem using Google Sheets to track all this information on a single line per application.

This is the template for our Application Tracker

Here is a picture with all the elements listed above. They include:

I will go over how each of these fields can be created.

Date

Sheets will automatically update the cell, adding the calendar, when you enter whole integers in this format.

I like to make the date my first column. In row one, I have all my category titles to indicate what data I will have in the cells within each column. In date cell two, I manually type out the date, 05/06/21. For each cell further down the column, I copy and paste the previous date and then double click on the cell to get a pop-out calendar which makes it easier for me to adjust the time.

Company (Role)

Text for the text you want in the cell. Link for the page you want the text to lead to when you click on it.

Next to Date is Company in the second column. Here in the second row, you’ll notice I put the company name, “DEF”, and in parentheses, the role at that company this application was for. I also have the cell contents hyperlinked to the actual application posting. To do this, select the cell (B2 in this case) and press Cmd + k (ctrl + k for Win). Then paste in the link to the job posting.

Contact (Position)

I Googled to find a Brian and Google responded with what a Brian was. Deep cut.

Next to Company is Contact in the third column. Here in the second row, you’ll notice I put the name of the contact, “Brian”, and in parentheses, the position of that contact in the company the application is going to. Additionally, I’ll add a hyperlink to this cell in the same fashion I did for Company previously except I will link to the profile or resource that lead me to find this person as a contact in the first place.

Contact Email

I don’t know if that email is actually valid but DEF is an AI coming soon to a computer near you.

Next to Contact is Email in the fourth column. I simply put my contacts email here when I find it. It’s not the easiest thing to find so it’s extremely useful to write it down for when you do.

Email?

Go for Yes

Next to Contact Email, I have Emailed? In the fifth column. Here I have a dropdown in each cell in the column to indicate whether or not I have or was able to email my contact. As such, this dropdown has the options: Yes indicating that I have emailed my contact to follow up on this application, No to indicate I have not yet emailed this contact about this application, or N/A to indicate that I was not able to email this contact about this application. To select all the cells in a column you can simply click on that column's letter. Then to add a dropdown to your current selection click Data -> Data validation.

Data -> Data validation

After click Data validation you are presented with a menu holding all the possible ways you are able to validate your data within your selection using Google Sheets. For our purposes, we will select List of items from the Criteria: dropdown menu. Then in the text box next to it, we’ll list all the options we want the dropdown in the cells we selected to hold. In our case, it’ll look like Yes,No,N/A. Then save to update the cells with your options.

Cell range: automatically populates with the cells you selected. Other options weren’t relevant to me.

You’ll notice that our category cell, where it lists the topic of our column is now a dropdown and it doesn’t have to be so we can remove the data validation from this one cell by selecting it and following the same procedure except instead of hitting save to exit the Data Validation menu, you would click Remove validation instead and when the menu goes away you’ll notice that your selected cell no longer has a dropdown menu associated with it but the rest of the cells in your column do.

Follow Up?

For me, this is 3-days pending for 1st and 7-days pending for 2nd.

Next to Emailed? I have Follow Up? In the sixth column. Here I have a dropdown with options indicating whether I followed up on my email with my contact in regards to this application or how many times I have followed up with this contact. Personally, I don’t tend to follow up with a contact more than twice so I have up to the third follow-up in my dropdown just in case, so I don’t have to go back and change any cells later on. To add the dropdown options to these cells you can follow the same procedure as described in the Emailed? section of this article.

Status

Pending = game time (we start on pending so “Game On!”)

Next to Follow Up? I have Status in the seventh column. Here I have a dropdown with the options indicating the status of the application since I submitted it. I can’t imagine too many more options than Pending to indicate that you haven’t heard back about this application and should follow up on it as much as you can, Rejected to indicate that you were not found to be a fit for this role that you applied to and no longer need to follow up with your contact, and Accepted to indicate that your submitted application was a success and you made past the contact stage and into the interview process. To add the dropdown options to these cells you can follow the same procedure as described in the Emailed? section of this article.

Notes

The email bounced back, try InMail. Brian says he doesn’t handle tech but maybe Michael can help me.

Lastly, we have Notes in the eighth column for any additional comments on the application that we may need to refer to in the future. For example, if one of my contacts referred me to another contact or if the email I found for my contact bounced back and I need to contact them a different way like InMail I’ll note that here. I have no formatting on this cell and since it’s the last category you can pretty much add as much as you would like to it without it getting cut off by another category.
My hope is that after reading this article you not only start recording your job search history but also have enough resources to customize Google Sheets to work towards that process efficiently and in your own way. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or shortcuts please feel free to reach out by dropping a comment or messaging me on LinkedIn. Happy hunting and keep your head held high.

Frontend Software Developer and Security Technician with experience in Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, and React. Flatiron Software Engineering Alumni.