As a job seeker, it’s not unusual to submit applications for many vacancies in today’s job market. Ask anyone you know what the best part of their job is, and zero times out of 10 they’ll say, “Apply for it”.
Usually, this involves lots of time, and lots to keep track of. You don’t want to squander these precious hours by missing important application deadlines, information on companies and positions, confusing interview times, or failing to follow through.
Consequently, properly managing your job search is just as important as identifying the vast job vacancies and submitting your application.
To simplify this, you are accountable for your career, and your life. Take charge, and move forward. You need to focus on where you want your career to go from here onwards.
Start today, stop and sit down for a while, and think through all the things that you consider important for your career:
- Where are you going?
- What is your career goal?
- How do you climb your career ladder?
Ask yourself these questions a couple of times, and you will see the difference.
If you want to move forward and be accountable in your job search, you need to put all of your ideas, skills, and passion to work. Most of the successful professionals are accountable for themselves. The question is, are you one of them?
I’m going to show you exactly how to do so. But before we get on to that let me tell you about the importance of accountability in a job search. Why do you need it when applying for a job and all the other important details that you might need in the long run.
Let’s start with this question, what is job accountability?
Any person or organization is held accountable when they experience consequences for their actions and decisions. This may be a small decision within a certain department or a bigger decision made for the entire company.
Accountability takes place after a serious situation or a certain problem occurs. The way you respond and take ownership of the said issue will surely determine the outcome of the given situation.
In addition to that, when roles are clear, and people are held accountable, works get done efficiently and effectively. On the other hand, when roles are not clear and people are not held accountable, work does not get done properly, and learning is not possible.
There are four types of career accountability. These will help you evaluate yourself deeper, focus on what you really want in a career, and what fits you the most. Evaluate all the options that you have for whether they meet your requirements or not. Re-evaluate your needs, again and again.
You must also carefully consider not only your personality but also your goals as they evolve. Ask yourself this, “What do you need right now?” and “What kind of feedback do you need when it comes to your career?”
Below are the common types of career accountability.
Individual Coaching — This type of career accountability is a more holistic approach compared to the advice or coaching done by general career advisors. Usually, individuals in mid to upper management who are looking to advance might use this type of career accountability. Keep this in mind, it is best to seek coaching that specializes in particular individuals. This type of accountability focuses on one individual at a time.
Group Coaching — Another type of accountability where individuals have the notion that everyone has it together. Meeting with a group and realizing that they all have similar problems to yours can spur you on to make changes together. Some individuals flourish and grow when they are in a group. On the other hand, group coaching can also provide structure along with the fellowship of meeting regularly with others who have similar challenges to yours.
Accountability Partner — This type of career accountability is about having someone or an individual as your partner that could help you throughout your job search or career. Where you can check in with every day, even as little as a text or email, can be very helpful early in your journey toward your career goal. If you’re the type of person that needs assurance regarding your work and will give you guidance, and advice, every single, then an accountability partner might be the right fit for you.
Mastermind — Here accountability and buy-in are the basic structures of a certain group. Usually, it is a small accountability group that meets on a regular basis to talk about each other’s career goals, brainstorm ideas, ask questions, motivate each other, and get support. The most important trait of having a successful mastermind group is the adversity of opinions from ambitious people in their respective industries.
By now, you should have an idea about career accountability. It is also great to have an accountability group that can help you climb your career ladder. So, how do you create one, and what are the qualities you are looking for in these individuals that must fit in your accountability group?
Here are some of the things that you might want to look out to form the accountability group that will lend you a hand for accountability in your job search.
Choose your accountability group meticulously, make sure they are also accountable and genuine people.
Reputation is the first thing that you need to consider because you want to have a stable connection within your accountability group. They could help you gain connections from different professionals that you might need in the future. Referrals done by these reputable individuals in your accountability group gives you an edge among other applicants.
Explore these connections one by one. Discuss with them your goals, and vision regarding your career goal in your job search. Brainstorm with them different ways on how to present yourself to hiring managers and to the other organizations where you like to work someday.
Remember this, they are highly respected individuals in their own field. They are great, and the right people to discuss your ideas with, that will surely give you wonderful tips and advice for your job search.
The next quality that you need to look out for in the accountability group is that they are proactive in solving problems. Your accountability group must be able to face every day struggles in the workplace. They are not afraid to face these problems head-on, and must also take responsibility for their own actions. You need to know that they are responsible and ready to roll up their sleeves to find answers and meaningful solutions.
Another quality is being ethical, actually, this is easily said and unfortunately not always put into action. Some people in the organization are hungry for instant gratification, they are considered to be toxic to the people around them. They usually steal credit for work they did not do. You must keep in mind, that your accountability group must be honest, and transparent at all times.
And the last quality you need to take into consideration is being humble and having the will to improve oneself. An accountable individual has a good sense already when they have transgressed, and is willing to apologize for it. An outstanding accountability group can recognize that there is always room for improvement, and they do it with good grace and with an excellent perspective.
These are just some of the qualities of a great accountability group that you have to look out for. If you are lucky to have all of these in your current group, then you are on the right path. You will absolutely be respected and admired more in your organization.
Are you ready now to start your job search?
Wait, hold up, before you get all giddy to start job hunting. Let us discuss first some of the strategies that you need to know for your job search accountability.
How to Track Your Job Search for Better Accountability?
1. Create a Job Application Spreadsheet
Make a tracker of your job applications. Record your goals and progress along the way. If you’re familiar with Microsoft Excel, Google Spreadsheet, or a similar program, creating a spreadsheet is a simple and effective way to keep track of your job applications. Thorough documentation is a sign of mental power. This simply indicates competence.
Here’s an example of what it should look like:
It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it’s up to you how detailed you want to get. But, here are the key columns to include:
- Company Name — The name of the organization you’re applying to.
- Contact — Your point of contact at the company; probably who you addressed your cover letter to, such as a Director of Human Resources or Office Manager.
- Emai l—The email of your point of contact, or, if preferred, a phone number.
- Date Applied —When you submitted your application.
- Application Summary — What you submitted: a cover letter, resume, and any additional materials, like a portfolio or reference list.
- Interview — When your interview is scheduled.
- Follow-Up —Did you send a thank you email or letter? If so, indicate here.
- Status — If you were rejected, offered the job, asked in for a second interview, etc.
2. Check Out Job Openings At Those Potential Employers
When you see one that is a great match, add it to a row under the columns “Company Name” and “Position” (you can write down the name of the role or link the URL for easy access). It is wise to explore many options for your potential employers. So you are not just stuck with a shortlist of companies that you are applying for.
3. Send in Your Application
Always make it including a customized and proofread resume and cover letter. Once that is done, write “Applied” under the “Status” column. Also, note when you applied for it under “Date Applied”.
Update your tracker all the time, so you know your progress and status of your application for each company you have applied for.
4. Follow up (Always)
Have not heard back from the hiring manager in a couple of weeks? Send a follow-up email to check on the status of your application. Do not be hesitant to do a follow-up, it is good to know that you are persistent and serious about the job that you are applying for.
5. Secure interviews
If you get a call for an interview, congrats! It is time to prepare. Do not just work on answering some of the more common interview questions you could be asked—use your initial research into the company, its mission, and its culture to come up with your own questions to ask at the end, too. Once you do that, check “Yes” under the “Do Research” column. It is best to be prepared for an interview, and the interviewee will surely be impressed that you also did your research beforehand.
6. Do the interview! You’ve got this!
After your meeting’s over, make sure to send a personalized thank-you note within 24 hours (trust us, it will help you make an even better impression). And do not be afraid to follow up if you do not hear back about the next steps after a couple of weeks.
Repeat steps six through eight again for the second and third round of interviews. Some employers might also require a proficiency test—from a writing assignment to a code project—at some point in the process.
As you make your way through the process, use the “Additional Notes” column to jot down anything interesting or important you want to remember.
Remember to incorporate the three strategies for job search accountability in your tracker. It will help you realize and prioritize what is most important. It will also help you stay motivated and be accountable as your progress in finding the career that fits you the most.
I know, you now have a lot of questions running in your mind right now, after all the information mentioned above. So let’s simplify it, the only question you need to focus on the right at this moment is this, “how do we incorporate accountability in your job search?”
You need to start thinking now and come up with objectives, actions, and guidelines for you to have for your job search.
The first thing that you should do is to evaluate your present career, like:
- “Where are you now on your career ladder?”
- “Are you satisfied with your present career?”
Assess your present situation or your current job. Knowing where you stand is important to get to where you want to be in the future. It is good to start evaluating your career right now. You do not have to wait for the yearly performance evaluation for feedback.
Do it now, do it for yourself. Have the initiative to check in with your superior and job search accountability group or partner from time to time. Be open-minded to criticism. You should know your strengths and weaknesses as an employee. This is where you grow. This will help you know your priorities.
And if your current job is aligned with your vision and growth as an employee. Keep track of your achievements and victories, big or small. Still, they matter. It is also ideal to discuss this with your accountability group or partner. It really helps to have an outsider’s viewpoints to keep you on track. They will give you an honest evaluation and objective, and help you keep sight of your career goals. Always keep in mind that this is your career that we are talking about. You are solely responsible for its outcome.
Lastly, check your future goals. Successful careers don’t just happen overnight, it is the outcome of careful planning and action over time. Do not let other people take control over your career goal, do not let them decide for you. Honestly, no one will ever be more dedicated to your career than you. It is your career and only yours alone.
Simply, you are responsible for the direction it will take. Accountability in the job search is the key to effective career planning. Reflect on what you want your career to be in the future, be honest with yourself. Moreover, it is a good idea to stay within your career goal. Move forward towards that dream job and just keep pushing. There’s no limit.