When you are actively looking for a job, you generally apply to so many companies that you even forget which ones you applied unless you hear back from them within a month. However, if you write down all of the companies you sent your resume and keep a list, you can follow-up on your application as well as be more prepared when they respond to you.
Another reason why it is better to track all the applications you submitted is that you don’t forget and reapply to companies that you have already contacted. But sometimes it is very difficult to keep track of where you apply, especially if you are applying to multiple positions a day. However, it is very useful to track who called you or who responded to your applications or inquiries so that you can always follow up if you didn’t hear back from someone that you expected to hear from. You can always look up the document you created and follow up with people from whom you expect to hear.
There are situations where you apply to a company and you hear back very quickly. Potential employers may respond in a week or two if you met with them at a job fair or at a networking event, but sometimes you don’t hear back for months and sometimes you just get a rejection letter. You never know what is going to happen.
Let me tell you this story. During my mentee’s job search, she attended as many career fairs and met as many employers as she could. She met so many employers that it was very hard for her to keep track of all of them and remember them unless they contacted her within a month. She is currently employed and she gave her resume to her current employer at a career fair on October. When someone from that company called her for an initial phone interview, she couldn’t remember when or how she met with the company’s representatives, so she asked. The interviewer explained to her that his supervisor had met with her at a career fair on October and was very impressed. He then told her that they would like to invite her to their office for a day-long interview session. Do you know what is strange about this story? They called her in March! Yes, five months after she met with them! She was very impressed that they actually kept her resume for five months and still remembered her. She had even forgotten that she applied to that company. However, if she had kept an Excel spreadsheet to track her applications, figuring out when and how she applied to that company would have been much easier. Also, she would be able to follow-up on her application and maybe start working for them much earlier.