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Part 2: Implementing Your Job Search: Tracking Your Activities

By Susan P. Joyce

Step 3 in Part 2: Keeping track of what you've done, who has what version of your resume, and who you have - and have not - contacted, will help you look professional and be more productive.

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different outcome. Tracking your job search efforts will help you separate what IS working from what is not working, so that you can improve your job search skills and land that next job.

Keep track of your search activities at each job site by recording in a notebook, spreadsheet, a file cabinet, and/or a website.

Your next job search will probably be different from this one, for many reasons, but these notes will keep the learnings from this search available to you (and, maybe, to your friends, if you choose to share). They will also help you close down your search so that you don't lose your new job, when you get one.

Starting Your Job Search

Set up a separate page, section, or (best) file for each job site that you use, and keep a diary.

Record the following information for each job site you use:

  • Name of job site and the date you established an account at that job site, if registration was required.
  • Your account name and password, if they were needed.
  • Name of job site and date when you posted a resume, including the version of your resume that you used (e.g. the one emphasizing your skills with computers or the one emphasizing your experience in the insurance industry, etc.).
  • What job site services that you signed up for (and didn't sign up for) at each job site.
  • Phone calls or e-mails from potential employers that are traceable to your use of each job site (you may also want to keep track of unsolicited commercial bulk e-mail that seems related to your use of a specific site).
  • Print and Save from each site:
    • The level of privacy you chose for your resume and/or contact information
    • The Privacy Policy on the date you "joined" the site, and any changes thereafter (if you can)
    • The Terms of Use on the date you "joined" the site, and any changes thereafter (if you can)

Keep track of each job that you apply for:

  • The job title, job identifier number, employer name, location, and date/time you applied.
  • The version of your resume that you used and any cover letter (or cover paragraph) - print hard copies of these documents if you can.
  • Contact information for the employer or recruiter.
  • The names, titles, and dates for everyone with whom you spoke at the employer or recruiter.
  • Notes on any discussions you had (take notes and then write them up immediately after the conversation).
  • The follow up that you did (phone calls, faxes, etc.), and the date and action of the next follow up step.
  • Feedback that you received from the recruiter, HR manager, hiring manager, etc.

Track your networking efforts as well:

  • Who you contacted, when you contact them, why you contacted them (know this before you dial the number or send the e-mail!), the outcome (e.g.,left a message, had a conversation, made a lunch date, etc.), and the next step.
  • What association or society meetings you attended, when you attended, and who you met there.

Check out Job-Hunt's "Tapping the Hidden Job Market" article for more in-depth networking hints.

Note: Collect business cards at meetings. Write the organization and date on the back as well as any other pertinent information, and then follow up! Be sure to have your own business cards as well (print them yourself on your computer's printer, or get them at an office supply store).

Yes, the tracking is a pain in the neck, but it will provide you with information on what works and what doesn't work -- which job sites are most effective for you and which are a waste of your time, which employers are most interested in you and which don't seem responsive or interested. Then, you can be more efficient in your job search.

Job Search Tracking Tools

If you are interested in an online service that will assist you in tracking your job search, check out:

Both offer free services providing many job search tracking functions, including calendering and contact management.

JibberJobber has several optional paid upgrade features that may be very useful.

NEXT: Step 4 - Standing Out from the Crowd

About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management since 2012, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

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