5 Awesome Steps To Track, Measure, and Optimize Your Job Search Efforts

by Rich DeMatteo on November 17, 2011 · 17 comments

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During the Social Media Plus summit yesterday here in Philadelphia, I had time to chat with Michelle Bizon, a local pal that I’ve known through the interwebs for a while, but had never met IRL.  Naturally, Michelle and I talked at length about her job search, and I immediately noticed that she needed more focus.  I won’t go into details, but when I began giving her tips on how to organize, track, and measure her job search, she agreed that I should turn this advice into a blog post.  Well, here it is…

…and damn, I’m extremely proud of this step by step guide I’ve created.  Honestly, it may be the most useful blog post I’ve ever wrote for job seekers.  Let’s get to it…

5 Ways To Track, Measure, and Optimize Your Job Search

 

1. Write Out EVERYTHING You Want and Need From A Job

When  you aren’t clear about the exact jobs you want to apply for, then you end up sending your resume to everything on the damn internet.  It’s a terrible strategy.  In the end, you forget which jobs you even looked at, and it comes across as desperate to employers.

Write out a list of 15-50 things that you WANT and NEED from your next job.  Write down everything from the location, to hours, to type of company, to industry, to type of manager, to the skill sets the job description requires, to… you get the point.

Have this master sheet available at all times and only apply to jobs that match. When you do this correctly, you’re able to ensure you’re applying to jobs that you WILL love and be much more focused when actually looking for jobs.

 

2. Use The List You Create in Step 1 to Build Your Resume & Cover Letter

If you’re REALLY successful at building your jobs wish list, you’ll find that the positions you want to apply for online will have the same words in both your wish list and job description.  Since most employers use ATS Systems that track key words found in the resume and job description, you’ll want to boost the words from your wish list into your resume and cover letter.

Make sense?  I’m going to assume it does, but if not, just shout out and let me know in the comments.

 

3.  Set Weekly Application Submittal Goals

Great, you’ve figured out what your must haves are for your next job and you’ve built a focused resume and cover letter that matches job descriptions that you’re interested in.  Now it’s time to set your weekly submittal goals!

It’s important to set a weekly submittal goal for a few reasons.

  • If you don’t set submittal goals, you’ll either spend far too little time on  your job search or far too much time.  Both are really bad for you physically and mentally.
  • Establishing a routine is important in a job search.
  • If you’re not successful, you know that you need to increase your submittal goal.
Start out low (5-10) and then increase after a couple weeks if you aren’t successful at first.

 

4.  Create Spreadsheet For Resume Submittal Information

When you’re applying to 5, 10, 15, or more jobs per week, it’s beyond critical to import as much information about the jobs as possible.  Some of  the information you want to capture is:

  • Company and contact name
  • Submittal date
  • Skills required for job
  • Any and all words on the job description that match your wish list
  • Industry
  • Step reached in hiring process (waiting, never heard back, phone screen completed or scheduled, interview completed or scheduled, and rejected)
You can include more fields in your spreadsheet if you like, but it’s on you to decide what information is most important to keep track of with each job.  Take down all of this information so that you’re not only able to organize your job search, but also to help you for the next step!

 

5.  Review, Revise, and Repeat

Now that you’ve gone through and tracked all of the jobs you’ve applied to, you can go through and start analyzing your job search data.  Probably best to do this monthly, but you can also go for a bi-weekly review cycle if you’re on a tight deadline for your next job.

  • Review:  Review the information field that explains the outcome of your resume submittals.  Review the companies that decided to go to the next step of the process after you submitted your resume.  Look closer at the companies that rejected you immediately.  Study the companies that decided to interview you after a phone screen.  What are the similarities between these companies?   Try to identify why certain organizations found you attractive or unattractive.  Pull out the job descriptions and search for your very own Job Search Da Vinci Code!
  • Revise:  What can you revise about your job search?  If you seem to be on target, but haven’t passed the phone screen, you might want to increase resume submittals.  If you’ve barely received anything from companies, maybe you need to change your resume or tweak up your wish list.
  • Repeat:  It’s time to go through the process again.  Hopefully, this time you’ll see success.  If not, then continue to Review, Revise, and Repeat!
Any questions on the above process?  Am I missing anything?
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14 comments
Tim Murphy
Tim Murphy

Hi Rich - great article and some solid, actionable advice. I especially like the recommendation to set submission goals. Setting goals is so important to keep the process moving. Applicants just need to make sure every submission on the way to that goal is a HIGH QUALITY application. It's a waste for everyone if the submission goal overshadows the real goal - to get a job! I'd be remiss to not mention my own job application tracking tool - http://applymate.com. There you can monitor due dates, sync calendars, see all apps in progress, and get email reminders – all in one place, for free. Plus, we just added a "track with one click" browser extension to make tracking your applications even easier. Great post - thanks for sharing! Tim Murphy ApplyMate.com

Greg
Greg

Thanks for this! I really need a list of what I want. A mental note won't always do because there is a ton of information floating around in my brain. Question though. Does writing down what I want necessarily mean they should be goals to meet in my job search? If it's five or ten things that I say I want from a job space, it doesn't mean I should feel disappointed if I don't get two or three of those things, right?

Katie
Katie

Really glad I joined your chat last night and found a lot of great new people and resources as a result! Great post. I really like the suggestion of starting not with a resume but a list of requirements and going from there. It can be so hard to stick to your instincts and go for what you truly want when you feel like you'll never find something. I also think it's a great recommendation to then build these words into your resume. That seems like a great way to easily find the companies that value the same things you do. Thanks, Rich!

Susan P. Joyce
Susan P. Joyce

Great post, Rich, but do wish you included a step about networking which is so much more effective than submitting resumes. I know job seekers who have submitted hundreds - maybe thousands - of resumes, probably not as effectively as someone using your method, above, but nonetheless... Networking is the door to the infamous "hidden job market" and the employee referral process, and those are SO effective for job search. Here's a new article on Job-Hunt about employee referrals - http://www.job-hunt.org/job-search-strategies/employee-referrals.shtml I echo the recommendation of JibberJobber.com, which has a very rich set of features for tracking job search - a job hunters' customer tracking system. I would also add StartWire.com to the tracking tools. StartWire connects to many of the ATS systems you mentioned, so it can pull information about whether a job has been cancelled or filled which is more information than you get from most employers these days. Happy holidays to everyone! Regards, Susan

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai

How's the job market nowadays? Is it quieting down for the holiday? Optimistic for 2012? Thx, Sam

Pete Leibman
Pete Leibman

Hey Rich, Great post! Most job-seekers are very scattered during their job searches. Here is a 2-minute video I posted on my blog recently about how to use your time more wisely during your job search... so that you can get a better job faster: http://careermuscles.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/how-should-i-spend-my-time-during-my-job-search-video-by-career-expert-pete-leibman/ Happy Thanksgiving! -Pete Leibman, Founder of Dream Job Academy and Author of "I Got My Dream Job And So Can You" (due out through AMACOM in March 2012)

Larry Blakely
Larry Blakely

Consider www.jibberjobber.com for a free job search CRM tool. Track contacts, companies, jobs applied for, resumes and more. Pretty slick?

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Katie! Thanks for your thoughts and comments! It's definitely not easy, but if people take the time to do this and wait for the right job, they should be pretty happy!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Susan, thanks for the comment. While I agree with you on networking's importance and effectiveness, this post really does not fit in networking. I've wrote about networking in nearly 20% of my posts here on COTJ, and this here blog post wasn't about networking. This post is about tracking and measuring your resume. Tossing in a section about networking would sort of take away from the purpose. At this point, if job seekers don't know that networking is important, they have bigger problems on their hands! Thanks!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Sam, thanks for the comment. The job market typically does quiet down towards the end of the year. Companies are planning their hiring for the following year and most employees stay put until the new year.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Thanks, Larry! I'm aware of JibberJobber. Great tool!

Corry Rudolph
Corry Rudolph

Coaches, you need to check out http://www.FreshTransition.com for job search CRM - AND MORE: Job search CRM for your clients but under your own brand (your logo etc) - customizable target setting, tracking contacts, companies, jobs applied to, resumes, cover letters, BUT with your logo, your content, your videos, your news feed, AND simple reporting to monitor your clients' activity. Integrated with Linkedin, Outlook and more. It's really quite impressive.

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