Time to Organize

Alright. Job fairs are happening within the next few weeks. Luckily for us, Handshake has established a fantastic system that allows us to set up and manage all the obligations that we book for ourselves on that given career fair day. This makes keeping track of everything that we need to do simple and straight forward. Thank you Handshake.

But what happens when the career fair ends? What happens when the career fair goes well and every single meeting that you scheduled enters you into the interview process? The hectic environment of the career fair is quickly going to invade your job search. It is time for us to be proactive again and start developing a system to keep track of all of the potential opportunities that you have earned. Luckily, it is not as hard as it sounds. I spoke with some recent MSU engineering graduates and asked them how they were able to keep track of all their job related affairs while still managing their course load.

There were a ton of great ideas that I was able to learn from, but there was a common tool that almost everyone that I spoke to used: EXCEL! Almost every graduate that I spoke to used Excel to manage and track their progress, however not all Excel sheets are created equal. Everyone used different styles and tracked different information throughout their process, so I decided to give you a basic list of all the things that I think are MUST-HAVES on your excel sheet. Feel free to take this list and expand or shrink it to your needs, but here is what I think you should definitely keep track of.

COMPANY NAME - Hard to evaluate and rank positions if you don't know what company the position is with. It will also help you visualize which companies you have put a lot of effort into and which companies you might want to think about looking for other positions with.

POSITION - Depending on what company size interests you the most, you may be in a situation where you are applying for me than one job within a company. Even if it is the only position that you apply for with a company, it still important to remember the technical listing of the job. This will allow you to be prepared when you talk to representatives of the company weeks after the application was submitted.

POSITION CATEGORY - Keeping track of the type of position will allow you to look at what types of jobs you have found to be the most interesting to you. In addition, it is also helpful to track as you start comparing a particular positions between two companies.

DATE APPLIED - Keeping track of the date you applied to a position is an important thing to track so you know how close you may be to the end of the process. The more aware you are of the application date, the better you will be able to navigate the delicate process of reaching out and/or following up with an employer about your application.

CURRENT STATUS - This section lets you know where you are currently at within the application process. Each company has a specific process specified for each position that they hire for. Depending on the company and the position, it could be a single interview or a full series of interviews with presentations to the companies leadership. Keeping track of where you are in the process with each company is a great way to make sure you don't miss any important dates or deadlines.

DATE OF STATUS UPDATE - Similar to the date applied, keeping track of the date you last interfaced with a particular application will let you know when to reach out or take the next step with the company that you are applying to.

KNOWN CONTACTS WITH THE COMPANY - Keeping all of your contacts with all your different job applications in one place will make it even easier for you to reach out and stay connected to the company that you are currently applying for.

LOGIN INFORMATION - Yes I know, never put your passwords and logins in one place. However, it makes applying to jobs and checking the status of each of your applications so much easier when all the info is in one spot.

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