This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.
“Excel spreadsheets” and “job hunting”–your two least favorite phrases. While sitting down to crank out a spreadsheet doesn’t make you want to jump out of bed in the morning, keeping yourself organized during the dreaded task can make your life so much easier.
And why spend the time to create a huge Excel spreadsheet just for your job hunt?
It’s the best tool to keep you organized: When setting yourself up for a job hunt, the easier you can make your life, the better. The priority is doing research and making sure you are prepared for interviews, not trying to remember whether the hiring manager’s name is Frank or Tim. In Excel, all of your information is in one place–so you can focus on the things that really matter in your job search.
You can reference it later: Even if you’re happy with your job now, you might be in the market a few years down the line. It’s important to have a place to start when that happens. By keeping all of your professional resources in one place (contacts, leads, etc), you can make your life much easier in the future. Also, if your super-capable friend starts looking around for new opportunities, you can give her a couple of tips to get the ball rolling.
Compiling information helps to rank positions: If you have all of the information about each job in one spreadsheet, you can easily take a look and sort through potential jobs. For example, make sure you note in your spreadsheet some details that you might forget–salary, length of the commute, etc. This will help you make a well-informed decision when the time comes to accept a job.
So how do you get started on creating a master job hunting spreadsheet?
Keep all of your network contacts in one “Contacts” tab: During your job search, you can compile a list of everyone and anyone who could possibly help you in your job search. Think old employers, that person you met at a conference last year, a previous colleague who just moved to a new company. Everyone.
Research jobs: Reach out to your network about any openings you might not be aware of. Look at industry sites and scour the career pages of your dream companies. Make a list of every job you want to apply to under a “Job Progress” tab in your spreadsheet. With each company in a different row, add a column for your job progress, columns for “Application Sent Date,” “Interview Date,” and other important dates in the job search.
Take copious notes: Add columns for notes including “Company Contacts,” “Follow-Up Materials,” and “Interview Notes.” You should also keep track of the name/email of the person who interviewed you in this spreadsheet, which can come in handy for future reference, too. Take notes on the information you want to be able to reference, such as location, expected salary, distance to nearest Starbucks–whatever is important to you.
Once you have built your spreadsheet, Excel will prove itself as an extremely useful tool for tying every piece of the job search together. You’ll be able to make an easy decision regarding your career in no time.
Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here and tweet her @lindseygsampson.