Another key component of an effective job search strategy is to keep track of your efforts.
It is likely that your job search could involve hundreds of contacts and potential opportunities. You will need to organize this information to ensure you are making progress.
To do this, many job experts recommend using a "contact tracker," which creates an organized list of companies you’ve contacted, dates, your action to date (such as application submitted or interviewed) and the status of the lead.
Most unemployment insurance programs have their own form of contact tracker. To ensure you are in compliance with the requirements of the program, it is certainly recommended that you use the form provided. However, if no template is available, if you feel like you need to track more information than what is required on the provided UI template, or if alternate tracking methods are acceptable, consider designing your own tracking tool.
Creating a spreadsheet is one good method for tracking your research. Here is the key information to include:
Company Name – The name of the organization you're applying.
Contact – Your point of contact at the company; probably the person to whom you addressed your cover letter, such as a Director of Human Resources or Office Manager.
E-mail – The e-mail of your point of contact, or, if preferred, a phone number.
Date Applied – When you submitted your application.
Application Summary – What you submitted: a cover letter, resume, and any additional materials, like a portfolio or reference list.
Interview – When your interview is scheduled.
Follow-Up – Did you send a thank you e-mail or letter? If so, indicate the date sent.
Status – If you were rejected, offered the job, asked in for a second interview, etc.
If you don’t want to use Excel, you can create a simple table in Microsoft Word or a similar word processor. Just insert a table and choose the number of columns based on how many categories you want to keep track of (company name, contact information, date applied, and so on) and the number of rows, relative to how many positions you're applying for.
A system for organizing your search activities will not only advance your job search but will also help you quickly and easily provide the required information to your state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency to ensure continuation of benefits during your period of unemployment.
If you are drawing unemployment insurance, be sure to find out the answers to the following questions for your state’s unemployment insurance program:
- What are the allowable activities and/or methods of employer contact in your state?
- Is there a required number of job search activities you must perform every week? If yes, how many?
- Is there a required number of employer contacts you must perform every week? If yes, how many?
- What are acceptable methods of documentation for these activities and/or employer contacts?
Failure to follow the state’s requirements can result in loss of benefits or you may risk being overpaid and having to pay money back. For more details, see Tips for UI beneficiaries.
Keep track of your job search activities with this Employment Contact Tracker worksheet.
Note that the guidelines above are only guidelines. The best tracking mechanism is one that you understand and feel comfortable using. This Employment Contact Tracker worksheet is an example of how such a tracking chart might look. It is designed for a one-week timeframe.