It’s not easy to stay organized during a job search. The more jobs you apply to, the easier it is to get sidetracked, forget the details of your submissions, get discouraged, and lose your focus.
Today I will share with you an easy system to help you organize your job search so that you can concentrate on looking for that dream job and avoid time wasters.
Before I dive into the job tracking system that I use, I need to explain what the application process through agencies is; the information used in my job search will be captured in the job tracking sheet.
Depending in which country you live this process may vary but the steps are essentially the same.
- In Canada, the process is that companies that want to hire submit the request in a system to which recruitment agencies have access to. This request usually has a job ID which is used for reference because the job description might be similar to that of another job.
- Once agencies look at the job and identify the requirements, they will call people who they think they might be qualified. This is where you and I get the call.
- If the agent determines you are qualified, he/she will agree to submit you for the job. You will send your resume to the agent and agree on a rate or annual salary.
- The agent will then submit your resume to the employer’s requisition and you will get a confirmation that you were submitted.
- The employer reviews the resumes received and will contact the agency to arrange an interview with the candidate chosen.
- The agency calls you and confirms the interview.
Sometimes the agencies will call you within minutes one after another, because they all get the job request at the same time and they are rushing to submit the qualified candidates. If you don’t have a system in place, you will lose time identifying what the job is, if you’ve been submitted already, and you will be submitted twice.
Being submitted twice is considered by the employer a strategy to submit your resume more than once through different agencies; is like entering a contest multiple times, which may increase your rate of success over others’. It’s a practice detested by employers and they will reject your application.
So, in order to avoid this mistake and to easily keep track of your applications, I will give you my system. Use it and adjust it to add or remove information as you see fit.
- I always use agencies when looking for jobs, so my submission form has the name of the agent that submitted me for the job and the agency where he’s from.
- The next information is the job reference ID. Some jobs may not have this and in this case I enter information that will help me remember the job, like a keyword (could be a particular skill required, department name, anything really that makes the job unique).
- Next, I will have the description of the role. For example, if I have applied for a BA job at Company X for a Full time job I will put BA @ Company X / Full time.
- Next I will have the salary which I’ve been submitted with. For a contract I will have the rate per hour and for a full-time I will have the annual salary. This is important because you want to remember all the details of your submission and because different agencies will offer you different rates. So it’s important to remember that this particular agency submitted you with this rate at this job.
- The next information is the date when you’ve been submitted. Why is this important? Because as you go through the process, the days will go by and you need to follow-up on the jobs you’ve been submitted but didn’t hear back from the agent for a few days. So it helps if you know on which date you’ve been submitted.
- If you want, you can have a column for follow-up where you can record when you touched base with the agent and what the feedback was (for example: contacted X on (date), interviews have not started, then you know you need to follow-up again in a few days).
- If you have not been selected for an interview, strike that job through but leave it on the sheet so you can remember that you’ve been submitted but were not selected.
Here’s how my submission sheet looks like after I have applied for 3 jobs:
It does not have to be anything fancy; just draw some lines, use your handwriting – this is for your notes only.
One more thing – I intentionally don’t use Excel because I want to have access to the sheet at all times. I keep it on my desk when I’m home and take it with me when I’m going out (you never know when you’ll get a call for a job, so you want to be prepared, right?). As I go through the process I keep updating it.
Remember: Write it down so you won’t forget. Having a system in place makes your life easier and avoids confusion and misunderstandings.
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