How To Track and Manage Job Applications When You Are Looking For A New Position

Looking for a new job can be a stressful experience. Unless you are lucky enough to be headhunted chances are you spend hours scrolling through job listings hoping to find something that resonates.

Once you have locked into a number of jobs that catch your interest you then need to apply to them all. This often involves custom cover letters (and potentially resumes) for each role, as well as adapting to the different application process for each employer.

How do you then track and manage all of these job applications? 

Recently I have started using a tool called Task Pigeon. Essentially it’s a task management solution that is very easy to use and did I mention its also free! (as long as you don’t intend on having more than 5 people help you with your job hunt).

The way I recommend clients set this up is very easy.

Step One: Create Your Categories

Task Pigeon allows you to create any number of categories and color code them for ease of use. I recommend going with something like the following:

  • Potential Jobs of Interest (Optional)
  • Positions To Apply For
  • Positions Applied For
  • Positions (Interviewing)
  • Positions To Follow Up
  • Positions Missed Out on

Step Two: Save any job that is of interest to you

The first category on your dashboard should just be about collecting any and all jobs that may be of interest to you.

I utilise a format like this:

(Company Name if Known) – Position Title – Listed Date

That way I can very easily see what company or position I might prioritize applying to first. I also know when the position was listed which may indicate if it is close to being filled or not.

In the task details section I also put a link to the job listing for future reference.

Step Three: Positions To Apply For

How To Track and Manage Job Applications When You Are Looking For A New Position - Positions To Apply For Dashboard

Often you log a number of positions before working out which ones you are actively going to apply for.

As you decide which positions are most interesting to you move them from the “Potential Jobs of Interest” category to “Positions to Apply For”.

This is a holding place for all jobs that you need to prepare resumes and/or cover letters for. If you create separate cover letters or resumes for these positions be sure to attach them to the task so you can easily check what potential employer got what version of your resume.

Step Four: Positions Applied For

After you have prepared your cover letter and resume use the preferred application process by the employer. Some require you to complete an online form others simply ask you to email your resume though.

At this stage I now more all of those jobs I applied for to the “Positions Applied For” category. This helps me see what positions I still need to complete my resume/cover letter for and also shows the volume I jobs I have applied to since starting my hunt for a new position.

Step Five: Positions (Interviewing)

How To Track and Manage Job Applications When You Are Looking For A New Position - Interviewing

Hopefully you start to see some immediate success and begin interviewing for positions. This category is really a holding cell for all those roles that you are actively interviewing for.

If you want to break this down further you could add notes (or create separate categories) for each stage of the interview process, such as Telephone Interview, First Face to Face Interview, Panel Interview, etc.

Step Six: Positions To Follow Up

This really is an optional category to have in your dashboard when it comes to tracking job applications you have out in the wild.

After a period of a week to ten days some candidates like to follow up on outstanding job applications. A simple email or telephone call can often be warranted to see if the position has been filled or if your application is being considered.

If you are going to follow up on positions I drag these tasks here and update the due date to when I want to make the call.

Step Seven: Positions Missed Out On

I use this final category to clear jobs that I know I have missed out on. You could just mark the task as complete and it will move it from your dashboard, however, I like keeping the task “live” so I can get a sense of how many jobs I need to apply for to get to the interview stage.

Utilising this approach I have helped a number of clients more effective track and manage the positions they are applying for. It also helps remove confusion that can sometimes arise if you are using multiple versions of your resume and cover letter. If you attach them to each task/job you never have to question what version you sent to each company.

Author Profile

Hardhome Gavin

Gavin has 15 years experience as a HR Manager and Leader within large and growing companies. During this time Gavin has seen thousands of resumes and conducted just as many interviews. Gavin has turned his knowledge and passion in this space into a full time profession and launched Jobs in Bradford his career advisory and consulting website.