I use this workflow to manage dozens of applications so I can remember where I am in the process, take notes about the interviewer/interview/company, and maximize my candidate potential.
When you’re sending tons of applications and emails, you need a system. Otherwise, something important will slip through the cracks or, worse, you’ll fail to be as effective as you could be. When you’re gunning for a great job, you want every bit of help you can get.
To solve this, I use Trello to manage my job application workflow. It’s not the first time I’ve talked about using Trello to manage my professional life (see My Trello Workflow for Generating Blog and Product Ideas). The product is so versatile and easy-to-use if you can find the right workflow – I’m absolutely smitten with it for these applications.
Here’s a quick explanation of what it is:
Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way.
It’s been essential to stay on top of what jobs I’ve applied for, what stage of the process I’m in, and log and refer to notes about the company. The workflow is dead simple:
- Create a board, “Jobs”
- Create the following lists:
- Want to Apply
- Not a Good Fit
- Create the following labels:
- Phone Interview
- (Any other types of interviews that are common for your job process)
Want to Apply
Found a company you’d like to work for? Add a card titled with the company name to this list.
Trello allows you to add notes to cards, so log any information you want. I often link to the application, the hiring manager, company culture notes, etc.
When you apply to a company, add a card or move an existing card to this list.
I often add cards here directly as I apply from job board websites where I can apply to multiple companies quickly.
At this point, I recommend adding a note with the link to the original job description. This way if you land an interview, you can refer to the description to focus the conversation on what they are looking for.
If you can’t remember what they’re seeking in a candidate, how can you be prepared to be the best candidate for the job?
Congrats, you landed an interview! Move a card over to this list now.
Now, use Trello’s Labels feature to label the stage of the interview process you’re in. This helps for visual scanning to see where you are in the interview process.
As an engineer, there are often stages of interviews: Phone interview, technical interview, then an in-person interview. As I work my way through each interview, I’ll add the corresponding label.
In addition, after each interview, I recommend adding a note comment with how you feel, what went well, and what you could improve in the next interview.
Not a Good Fit
Unfortunately, you weren’t a good fit for the company. It’s OK, it happens! Move the card over to this list, and note any feedback about what you can improve.
As well as providing an organizing principle to a messy and emotional process, this workflow has given me a sense of progress.
It can be demoralizing failing interviews and applying to companies who will never respond to you. I think this feeling of progress keeps my eyes focused on landing the right job, and keeps me motivated.
It’s worked and continues to work for me. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading!