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Job hunting is stressful for obvious reasons, but it’s even worse when you’re juggling the application and interview process for multiple positions at different organizations. That’s when it’s especially important to be as organized as possible so nothing slips through the cracks. And there’s an easy way to do that: You should make a job-hunting spreadsheet.

What to include in a job-hunting spreadsheet

In the far-left column of your spreadsheet, list all the companies you’ve applied to (and want to apply to). In the top row, consider adding the following sections:

  • Date applications are due
  • Date of initial application
  • Date of follow-up email
  • Date of response from company
  • Date of first interview
  • Date of second interview
  • Date of sending thank-you note/follow-up on interview
  • Date of offer letter
  • Date response is due
  • Date of rejection

Here is an example of how this should look. (Feel free to copy or download it for your own use, and add column headers that match your specific needs.) There are more complex templates out there (like this one from The Muse) but what you’re looking for above all else is a spreadsheet that lists the dates you need to get things done.

Add in anything else that might be helpful—even as it comes up in real time, for instance, like if a company requests a background check or reference by a certain date—and keep a section for notes in the farthest-right column. The notes can include things like links to the job posting, the name of a recruiter you’re working with, or anything worth remembering about a specific role or process.

In the event you’re rejected from a job opening, move its entire row down to the bottom, but don’t delete it entirely in case the same job opens again and you need to review the details. Try to rearrange the rows so the tasks are in chronological order, too. For example, if Company A wants you to have a second interview in six days and Company B wants you to send in specific materials in three days, move Company B’s entire row above Company A. Finally, as you complete tasks, shade in their corresponding cell with a specific color so you can see what you’ve done. Use a separate color to mark cells with upcoming important dates.

Why this works

If you’re emailing, chatting with, and sitting down for interviews with a handful of companies at once, it can be easy to overlook more minor—but still important—steps, like sending a thank-you note or a follow-up email. Thank-you notes should be sent within a day or two of your interview while follow-ups should be sent after about a week, if you haven’t heard anything. It’s not always easy to remember to send those out if you have other interviews lined up or things going on, so the spreadsheet is helpful for keeping all the dates in order.

Moreover, it can help you get a sense of how a company operates, to an extent. If you end up with an offer from Company A and Company B, you can review your notes and compare how long each company took to get back to you when you had questions or to schedule an interview. Keeping a detailed log of the process for each company gives you at least a little insight into how things work there.



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