I’ve been approaching my job search like a project, which means I need to track progress toward my goals. Additionally, I have a short memory for what I’ve accomplished, and recording my daily and weekly activities helps me remember my work and feel better about my efforts.
Why Google Docs?
Any spreadsheet program could be used for the system below, but I prefer Google Docs for a number of reasons:
- It’s free. Depending on your situation, you may not want to spend money on Excel or another spreadsheet program.
- It’s fast. Most job applications and postings are online now. If you already have your browser open, you can easily keep Google Docs open in another tab and record your activity as soon as it’s completed.
- It’s shareable. I share my Job Search spreadsheet with my wife so that she can see my progress. She knows I’m working hard on the search, but if she can see the work I’m doing, it helps her peace of mind.
If you have philosophical objections to Google, you could use Zoho Docs instead. It’s been several years since I used Zoho, but it was a very nice product back then.
How I Use Google Docs
I track three things in Google Docs, each on its own tab:
- Job applications.
- Networking and informational meetings.
- Progress toward weekly goals.
Taking the first one last, I have weekly goals for the number of applications I want to submit and the number of meetings I want to have. I’ve added conditional formatting that colors my weekly activities green if I’ve met my goals.
With a job search, progress can be difficult to measure. There’s one big goal: get a job. You might have lots of interviews or very few (I’ve been in both situations), yet have no idea how close you really are to landing the job. For me, this is a very frustrating situation, so tracking small wins keeps my motivation up.
For job applications, I keep track of the following:
- Date applied
- Contact person (if I know their name – it’s sad how rare that is)
- Method of application (online, email, in-person)
- Date of last contact (which allows me to see which applications need follow-up)
- Status of my application (open/closed)
For meetings, the information is much simpler:
- Next steps
Recording Next Steps is crucial. Did they suggest someone for me to contact? Are they looking up some information for me? I also record any next steps in Things (more about that in a future post).
How do you keep track of the progress of your job search?