Keeping track of your job search efforts — which companies and positions you’ve applied to, which ones are thru recruiters, your next scheduled follow-ups, etc — is absolutely critical to your success, especially in today’s market.
Simply logging your daily efforts is not enough. Like any good project plan, you need to be able to know what work is in process, what work and meetings are upcoming, what resources are already scheduled and promised, your priorities and timelines, and even who your contacts and constituents are. Your job search project plan is the same; you need to track what applications have already been submitted and are in process; what tasks, interviews, networking meetings, and followups are upcoming; what documents and other commitments are due as promised; what your priorities are (and what they should be!); and who your recruiters, potential employer / contracting clients, and networking leads areKeeping track of all the details of one’s job search efforts are as vital (if not more some) as any major project, and so staying organized and keeping everyone who calls you straight is not only critical, it’s a simple matter of professionalism and confidence. A paper and pencil system can work just as well as an elaborate electronic system (JibberJobber.com has an excellent online job search tracking system), as long as you keep track of the details using a project planning mentality. [I’ll cover tracking your job search expenses in an upcoming post.]
Personally, I use a detailed spreadsheet with pages for Positions In Process (and On Hold), Positions Closed, and Websites. For each position on these lists I track dates, people, contact info, which specific documents I’ve sent them, next steps, etc. The later page lists all the websites I have my resume posted to, identified by category – Employer, Executive Recruiter, Staffing, Job Board, Specialized (eg, Military.com, CIO.com) – along with date last updated, account information, and what leads have resulted. One friend, David Krull, developed a very elaborate and detailed Excel and Access database system that rivals anything I’ve seen commercially! Another friend, April M. Williams, uses her PC to create her job search project plan, which includes weekly status reports for herself and her constituents.
I also keep an electronic “Rolodex” of all my contacts, including how and when I met each person (or through whom), who they have introduced me to, any positions they have introduced me to, etc. For longer term relationships I also use elements of the Mackay 66 form (from Phil Wallner, founder of Provident Link) to track things like spouse and kids’ names, birthdays and anniversaries, favorite beverages/foods/cigars/treats/books, etc.
Finally, I have been tracking the source of leads (Keeping Your Job Leads Pipeline Full). So far my multi-channel approach includes job boards, recruiters, employers, newspaper ads, job fairs, conferences/seminars, LinkedIn, and an “all other” catchall.
And now for a quick update on my own job search:
- I applied to nearly a dozen executive-level opportunities within the past two weeks, and I have several applications/resumes in the works to submit today.
- I am actively interviewing with two firms (a consulting firm and a privately held firm), and I need to follow up about interviews for nine other positions I have applied for over the past three weeks.
- I am still being considered for positions with three firms that I have been interviewing with for several months. These are for new positions in growing, entrepreneurial organizations, and I am working with each owner to finalize their needs and responsibilities. A fourth position, as COO for a defense contractor, has been put on hold until after the presidential election.
- I am attending two to three technical and executive conferences each month and connecting with a number of new firms each time. I pass on to my network interesting executive leads I obtain at these events, and I assist recruiters with their leads needs.
- I am continuing to work on my own strategic consulting firm’s expansion, as my backup plan. I’ve finalized my professional branding and logo work (from Gams Communications, an award-winning design & marketing firm), and am now working with Birkey.com, a website design firm, to update my web presence, bringing all my interactive web ideas and my company to life again.
In upcoming blog posts, I will be covering:
- How to get the most out of your referrals and recommendations
- Informational interviews
- Networking 201 (Advanced Networking Skills)
- My resume rewrite (and if we can work out some details, I hope to be able to show the before and after
- Executive employability, and
- Job search expenses.
As always, thank you very much for all of your emails and input!! Have a great July 4th weekend – Semper Fi!