Everywhere you turn these days you hear about companies using data to drive business strategy and decision making. You can use those same principles to optimize your job search. Best of all, you don’t even have to know Python, SQL or R – all you need is an Excel or Google sheet.
Conducting a job or internship search can feel a bit haphazard at times as you submit application after application and wait to hear back. When you do receive that email or call, it may take you a minute to remember which job this recruiter is referencing. Organization is not only the key to an effective search, but it can also provide you insights on how to adjust your approach throughout the job search journey. There’s only so much time in the day given your classes, jobs, activities, and other commitments. You need to make every bit of effort count and to adjust your strategy as you go to maximize your results.
A great way to assess the effectiveness of your search is to track every application and create data points about the effort you put into each application. For example, the job title, company name, url to the description, recruiter name if available, date of application, location, and where you found the job/internship description. Next add, whether you tailored your resume to that job, did you use an ATS (applicant tracking system) site to optimize it for keywords (Targeted Resume or JobScan), did you send a cover letter, did you attend an information session, and if you networked with alumni or other contacts.
Here’s a sample:
It helps to have one tab for applications online/directly to employers and then a separate tab on the same sheet for networking contacts.
Once you have entered info for a few weeks, it’s helpful to check back and explore which combination of factors led to the most interviews. Keep in mind that there are not enough hours in the day to do everything for every job application. Instead, decide which ones are your favorite and check off all the boxes in terms of effort for those. For everything else, try various combinations and track the results. Throughout your search, check back and see which actions are working best for you, for example networking and targeting your resume and do more of that. This method is helpful when you are considering a few pathways and trying applications for each to see where you get interview requests.
One last tip: Have the spreadsheet app on your phone so you can easily access the information when a recruiter calls. On the spreadsheet, make the Job Title a hyperlink that goes back to the job description.
Remember, Career Services is here to help with your job search strategy and at every stage of the process.
Here are links with helpful resources mentioned above:
Resumes and Cover letters: https://careerservices.upenn.edu/channels/prepare-application-materials/
(See Career Shift in the resources section to find contact names)
Photo credit: iStockphoto/Chainarong Prasertthai