I know this is going to sound nerdy, but spreadsheets are one of my favorite tools for work and home. That is because they allow me to sort and organize information in ways my mind can’t do alone. It wasn’t until after college, when my friend Kait told me that she kept a list of where she’d applied that I thought, “hmmm it’s spreadsheet time…” and made a job search list for myself. I loved the idea that I could keep track of several important items, and feel organized, during a stressful time in my life. My sheet looked like this (click to view full-size): Here are some of the benefits I got from doing this:
- I felt organized Not only did feeling organized boost my confidence when I applied to jobs, but it also came across in the interviews I went on. I knew where I was going, who I was meeting with, the job title I had applied to and anything else I thought was important (thanks, notes column). I was also confident that I had not applied to a job multiple times. It can be difficult to keep track of this, especially if a company has many ways to apply to their job. They may be using several job boards, in addition an online application through a career section on their website as well as giving the option to fax in an application or call direct. Being organized definitely calmed my nerves throughout the process.
- It helped me to set goals for myself By using that little “date applied” column, I was able to keep track of how productive my job search was. Each time that I searched for jobs, I challenged myself to find 3 jobs that I was qualified for and apply to them. I also tried to make sure that I actually had a chance at getting hired to the job I applied for. Otherwise, I could have applied to every job I saw to fill up my spreadsheet, but that’s not what helped me to get a job. By targeting my search I was optimistic that my list was filling up with jobs I might actually hear back from – another helpful boost of confidence!
- It’s mobile! Before I owned a phone that could also surf the net, I kept a recent print out of my spreadsheet in a binder in the car. I also printed a copy of the job description and kept it in the binder. This way, if I got a request for a last minute phone interview, I had the basic details I’d need right on hand. I could also make notes right on the sheet about potential interviews or other important information I might get over the phone.
I hope that you’ll take this idea, and simplify it or expand on it based on your own needs. Happy job hunting! Amie