While working transitioning to a career in analytics from a non-technical field, I read blog posts by everyone from new software engineers to data scientists to salespeople to get job search ideas. I noticed that a lot of happy and hired bloggers had the similar idea of keeping a spreadsheet of applications, and I immediately caught on. The idea of being able to mass apply while staying organized made me really excited. It would be like a personal application tracking system that tracked the companies instead of applicants. When I finished my analytics Bootcamp and it was time to become an analyst, I decided it was full spreadsheet mode or nothing.
The first thing I did that helped a lot was a making a separate email for the job search. I like to keep a personal proton mail account, but for a job search where I didn’t plan to stare at 200 ‘application received’ emails, making a throwaway Gmail did just the trick. I knew there was no way I was going to churn 50 screening tests through an account I use for everyday stuff like communicating with family. I also didn’t try to stare at the Gmail interface every day to identify screening tests or people in the mass of verification and application received emails. My brain is just not made for that level of input without focus. Instead, I just starred anything important as it came in and then filtered by starred emails to engage. Other types of filtering would have worked too.
As soon as I sent the first application, I opened an excel table and used parameters like website, company, position, data applied, and preferred vs. not preferred (so I could keep track of which ones to follow up with first). Then after the first couple of days I added ‘screen’, and ‘interview’ as fields just to throw a yes in there if I was getting screened or passing interviews. This way I could easily track my response to application ratio, and then screen to interview ratio while I iterated through the process and tried different things. A couple of LinkedIn easy apply jobs were missed, but other than that I tracked every single one. I found LinkedIn to be super-fast (and got a little too happy with the easy-apply button at one point) but indeed had more of the stuff I wanted.
Being able to keep track of things kept me in a chill state of mind throughout the process. The things that helped most were having a count of applications, not worrying at all about applying to the same companies twice, engagement ratios, and having information available while talking to recruiters or during screening calls. Now that I’ve gone full spreadsheet mode I’m never going back, however, what helped me get hired at the end of the day was being open to opportunity, picking up the phone, and interviewing well.