The most frustrating thing about searching for a job is the lack of feedback. It's definitely frustrating when you don't land a job after an exhaustive search but it's even more so when you don't hear back from any of the hiring companies. Nothing. At all. Not even if they've received your application.
When applying for opportunities, the process typically looks like this:
- Hop on Indeed and other job engines.
- Fill out a profile.
- Discover a matching opening.
- Apply to the matching opening. (This might include submitting your resume, links, contact details, etc.)
- Follow up.
Let's say you apply on June 1, then follow up on June 8. You might follow up again after June 15 but if you haven't heard from them by then, it's likely they are either moving on or they are super slow. Either way, you haven't heard anything and remain in limbo.
By week four, it's probably time to give up and knock them off your list.
But what if you were able to find they showed some interest? What if they did look at your resume, or click on a link, or look through your personal blog / site?
If you had those details, would you think differently about the next role you apply for?
Instead of submitting and waiting, why not treat your job search like a marketing campaign? Assuming you have a few pieces in place already, it won't cost you anything and you get the benefit of adding another skill to your resume.
Here's how I've used Google Analytics to help guide my job search.
I'm assuming you have your own site. Or a site that you can plug Google Analytics code into. This could be your own WordPress site, Tumblr site, or whatever.
Also, I'm assuming you have a Google account with access to Google Analytics.
Finally, I'm assuming you have an ounce of creativity. This will come in handy when numbers don't move in the direction we are expecting them to.
Before we get moving, let's think about a few pages you should have up on your site:
- Cover Letter: This can be a little flexible. It could be your "About Me" page, or something that highlights your skills, experience, competencies, etc. Since it's not for any one specific company or role, this should be about you.
- Resume: Take some time and pull the text from your PDF'd resume and lay it out on a page called "Resume". Since you already have your resume as a PDF, you can create a link to the PDF version from this page. (Make it easy for the recruiters.)
- Projects: This might be your portfolio or examples of projects you've worked on. Whatever you call it, it should include additional details about you and your experience that didn't fit on your resume.
- References: Grab two or three references and lay them out on a specific page.
Some notes on the above points: Feel free to muck around with the titles, attributes, meta tags, SEO, etc. for these pages as you see fit. Also, if you're concerned with visibility of your resume, etc., you can no-index these pages for added invisibility.
Finally, be nice to your references - don't list their contact details.
Now that we have our base pages set up, we can create a dashboard in Google Analytics for these (and other) specific pages.
- Sign in to your Google Analytics account. If you haven't added your analytics code (UA Code) to your site, now's a good time to do that.
- Click on the Home tab (orange navigation menu bar), then open up the Dashboards option on the left-hand navigation pane.
- Click the option + New Dashboard. Name the new dashboard.
- Once the new dashboard has been created, click the + Add Widget option.
- Select the Pageviews metric, then add a Page filter that exactly matches one of the pages created above.
- Give the widget a title, then click the Save button.
Do this for the other pages as well.
As a side note, I created one more widget that include pageviews as a total. Yes, since you selected the Pageviews widget, you'll see a note at the bottom of each widget that says: % of Total: XX% (#), where XX is the percentage and # is the total number of pageviews (from the entire site).
By creating a separate Pageviews widget, I can quickly see how many views all pages on my site are receiving. If this number is lower than anticipated, there might be something else I need to look at.
As you target specific opportunities, you can include a link to your Projects page. After a few submitted applications, it's time to measure the results.
Open up your Google Analytics dashboard and look to see if any of the widgets are bringing in any data. Remember, if we included that Pageviews widget, we'll immediately be able to see how many pages have been viewed across the entire site. It's a good indication that things are working, even if the other widgets aren't being populated by crooked numbers.
Your results will vary, but here are a few pieces that you can keep an eye on:
- Geography: Are you applying to opportunities out of city / state / country? You can grab the demographics to find out (generally) where folks view your pages.
- Technology: If you are able to tie specific pageviews to specific opportunities, you can get a sense of what types of browsers, mobile devices, operating systems, etc. the team is using.
- Time: A fun measurement to find out when people are looking at specific pages.
So, now you have even more information to increase your stress level. But, this information can be a good thing.
- If you aren't receiving any hits on your projects / portfolio page, maybe it's time to expose it a bit more. Bring it higher up in your cover letter. Talk about it in your social media accounts.
- If you've set up a few opportunity-specific pages and they aren't receiving any hits, maybe it's time to shake up how you are introducing yourself. Do something a little creative without straying too far from who you are. Remember, you may have to own up in person to these words. (See nefarious, below.)
- If you are receiving some hits but you haven't heard from anyone, are you making it easy for them to contact you? Does the content on the page (projects, opportunity-specific, etc.) match any of the requests (use key words throughout the 'campaign' - ie, in your email, cover letter, resume, projects, etc.).
- If you thought waiting for a response drove you crazy, wait until you find the ability to watch real-time analytics.
- Don't forget to filter your IP address, else your numbers are going to be unfairly skewed.
- Build specific pages for specific opportunities, then add that widget to your dashboard.
- This shouldn't be used for any nefarious reason. Just sayin'.
Remember, this doesn't guarantee anything, but it's another data point in a very complex and moving target.
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