Whether you’re employed or unemployed, looking for a new job is the pits.
You have to deal with the emotional vulnerability of putting yourself out there on top of application overload. But there may be a method that will help keep your applications organized while also reminding you to do the most important thing when applying for jobs: following up.
Take a look at this guide for building a job application tracker that will help you secure your dream job.
How to Set up Google Sheets to Track Applications
This method is common for freelancers to use to track pitches, and it’s a no-brainer for job applications, too. Here are the steps to creating a valuable job application tracker.
1. Save a new Google or Excel Sheet
If you’re using Google, go to Google Drive and open a new Sheet. Save it as “Job Application Tracker.” Or if you’re an Excel buff, open an original Excel document and do the same. Make sure to save it where it’s easy to get to, like on your computer’s desktop. That way, you don’t have to click through several folders each time you want to open it.
2. Create the columns
You can tweak this for whatever works best for you, but I recommend adding the following columns to your document:
- Company name
- Contact person
- Contact email (even a generic address on the application is better than nothing)
- Job type (contract, part-time, full-time)
- Date applied
- Job description (a brief overview)
Then I continue on to track information about contacting the employer after I apply.
- Followed up? Y/N
- Date followed up
- Second follow up
Or, if you don’t want to compile the trackers yourself, use Fiverr to hire someone to do it for you.
3. Fill in the data
Add any jobs you have recently applied for. And for any job applications from here on out, keep track of them using the sheet. You can add a brief job description, but I would also recommend saving the full details elsewhere. That way, you can pull it up when you’re called for an interview. Companies often take down the job descriptions before they bring anyone in for an interview.
Use Your Tracker to Follow Up
Although some people may argue otherwise, it can be helpful to follow up on job applications. It helps you appear more interested. Freelancers follow up on writing job applications and article pitches all the time. Editors and HR employees are busy. Often, after I follow up, the person says that my email got lost in their inbox or they had meant to respond, but it had slipped their mind.
You’ll want to wait about a week or two before I follow up, and some people wait longer. The timing depends on you, but if you know that the company is hiring urgently, I would recommend contacting them no more than a week later. You may get a generic response — or no response at all — but it never hurts to try.
Don’t Fear the Application Follow-Up
Think about it: when you receive a polite nudge from someone, it probably doesn’t bother you. You often appreciate it because you don’t like to leave the other person hanging. The same is true when other people get your message.
But how do you follow up? What if the application didn’t specify a contact person? Two tricks can help.
Check out LinkedIn
The first method is to search on LinkedIn. You can see all employees that are members of LinkedIn who work at the company. I scroll through the employee list and look for a title like “Hiring Manager” or “Human Resources Manager.” Or, if the application mentions which position you would report to, try to find that person’s name. (At the same time, it never hurts to check to see if you have any connections within the company).
Find an email address
Then, rather than sending a message through LinkedIn, check to see if that person’s email is available. To do this, try searching Google for “Full name, company, email address.” You might be surprised how often a direct email comes up.
If you can’t find it that way, head to a second trick: Norbert. Norbert is a program that offers the first 50 email addresses for free by searching a person’s first and last name and the end of their company email addresses.
Now Go Get That New Job
In your follow-up emails, keep things short and sweet. Emphasize your interest in the job and that you look forward to hearing from them with an update. As mentioned, you may get a lackluster response or not hear back at all. But sometimes you’ll get lucky, and the person will thank you and say they had meant to reach out.
Using a freelance tracker to help manage your job applications will at least help you keep things straight. At best, it will remind you to follow up at the perfect time — and then you’ll hear from your future employer that they are so glad you wrote. And for general career advice, check out Fiverr’s career counseling services to get you started landing your dream job.
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