Are you applying for jobs? Do you sometimes struggle to keep track of multiple applications?
Often, you could wait for weeks and months before learning about whether you have been invited for an interview. Keeping notes of your applications is important. Recruiters may call you up and expect you to know which job they are referring to. You would also need to remember to follow up on applications if you have not heard from the recruiting organisations. Employers could take job descriptions offline when the application round closes. If you do not save the job criteria and the application materials, you could come across as unprofessional when asking for these. If you do not keep detailed records of your applications, you may come across as disorganised from the start and this may negatively impact your application.
In the following article, I have collected some useful top tips to help you keep track of your applications and land the job of your dreams.
Treat it like a project
Have you managed projects before? You have most probably kept detailed progress notes. Applying for jobs is similar to managing a project. You would need to clarify your objective, set a timeline, and record any actions you have taken. You could open an excel spreadsheet and dedicate it to keeping track of job applications. You would highlight your end goal e.g. to receive a job offer as a Marketing Manager by 20th December 2023.
Remember SMART goals
If you take a look at the above goal, you may notice that this is specific, clear and tangible. I have used the SMART framework to formulate this objective. If you have not used this tool for a while, here is a useful reminder: S- specific, M – measurable, A – achievable, R-realistic, T- time-bound.
When you create specific and tangible goals, you make it easier for yourself to achieve them. Think of your brain as a search engine. The more specific words you use for searching, the more likely the search engine (your brain) will come up with creative solutions to help achieve the goals.
Details are key
Once you have opened an excel spreadsheet, you may find it helpful to create several columns: job reference, job title, name of recruiter, application closing date, expected interview date (if any), status of your application, name and contact details of a person who deals with job-specific enquiries, salary, date when you have applied, questions you may have, date when you last heard from the recruiter etc. It is important that you note the name of the employer. Two vacancies, offered by different recruiters, may have the same title.
Save your documents
In addition to keeping a record of the above details, you would also need to save several documents in a dedicated folder. Make sure that you always save a copy of your application form, CV and cover letter which you send to the recruiter. If you get an interview invitation, you will need to look at these documents again.
Many job applicants think that they are not supposed to express interest in several jobs. It is wise not to put all your eggs in one basket. If you concentrate all your efforts on one specific area (one job only), you may easily end up disappointed. If you would like to work in the Higher Education sector, you could apply to different universities and colleges around the country, as opposed to focusing on one specific geographical area.
Would you be willing to relocate if the right job came up? If so, which parts of the country would you consider? Would you like to work in a fully remote position? Would you prefer a blended job, with some element of home working? How far would you be willing to commute? Diversifying your options means looking at different geographical areas, different organisations and roles, and different ways of working.
Make it bespoke
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to job applications. Choose the technique which works for you best and suits your preferences. If you find that you prefer writing down job details using a pen and paper (and you dislike spreadsheets), use the approach which you are most comfortable with. If you prefer apps, here are some great apps which you could help you structure your job search e.g. Roadmap, Teal, and Jobwell.
Set up job alerts
Most job platforms allow you to set up alerts and be notified of upcoming vacancies. Setting up an alert could save you time and help you ensure that you will not miss out on interesting jobs. If you wish to work in the Higher Education sector, you may find it helpful to set up an alert at jobs.ac.uk.
Once you have seen a vacancy which is of interest to you, do try to apply as soon as you can. Recruiters can close applications well before the published deadline date if they receive a sufficient number of applications for the advertised vacancy.
At times, you may not hear from the recruiting organisations for weeks and months. You may of course assume that you have been rejected. However, you could send a brief follow-up e-mail if you have not heard from the recruiter for 3 weeks or more after the application closing date. Here is a brief template you can use for your follow-up communications:
Dear Human Resources Team,
I applied for the XXX vacancy on XXX (date of application). Please see the below confirmation of submission. May I please ask if you have any updates on the status of my application?
XXXX (your name)
Ask for feedback
At times, you may not be offered the job following an interview. Of course, this could be disappointing. However, you could request feedback on your interview performance and try to learn from the experience. If a member of the interviewing panel offers a brief phone conversation to give you feedback, do accept this opportunity.
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