Speed up your job search with Google Alerts and this automated spreadsheet
This post—about using Google’s Alerts tool for your job search—is the third of a three-part series that explores the benefits of combining two free digital resources:
- Google Alerts, which sends new search results to your inbox for keywords you choose, and
- Export Emails to Google Sheets by cloudHQ, which creates automatically-updating spreadsheets from your Gmail messages.
Our first post took a look at controlling your online reputation by combining these tools. The second explored a niche application: how to stay on the front lines of the ever-changing stock market. In this third post, we’ll look at one final reason to integrate Google Alerts and Export Emails to Google Sheets: to give yourself a leg up in the job search during the pandemic.
Get Google, get smart, get organized: Google Alerts for jobs
Why should you use Google Alerts and Export to Sheets for your job hunting? Let’s find out!
First of all: what is Google Alerts?
Although it isn’t Google’s most famous tool, Alerts is a favorite among those that know it. Using Google’s search engine, this handy resource scans the internet for new search results on any term you specify. Then, it sends you a digest of the results—either as they appear in real-time, or at intervals of your choosing (daily, weekly, etc).
Surely, if you’re looking for a job, you’re scanning major job boards every day. But some of the openings that fit you best may not be listed on those sites. Many companies, for example, advertise open positions on their own websites and in press releases. And, in fact, it’s sometimes the case that, with a little bit of knowledge, you can put yourself way ahead of the game, contacting employers that haven’t even advertised their openings yet. That’s why it’s important to be both creative and thorough in your job search. By intelligently using Google Alerts, you can get the latest relevant information sent directly to your inbox—right when it comes out.
Of course, when you’re in the messy throes of the job hunt, new information is most helpful when it’s clean and organized. That’s where Export to Google Sheets comes in. Aggregating every Google Alert you’ve received, it adds each search result to a spreadsheet and neatly structures crucial info for your perusal—all without you clicking a button.
What’s in the spreadsheet?
When you export your Google Alerts to a Google Sheet, you’ll see a running list of every search result, complete with the following categories:
- Google Alert keyword search term
- Publisher of the content (e.g. Glassdoor, WeWorkRemotely, Krop, etc.)
- Brief summary of the content
- A URL of the content
- Links to share the news on Facebook and Twitter
- A link to flag the Google Alert as irrelevant (to Google)
- Space to include personal notes
- Total number (running tally) of alerts per keyword
- Total list of publishers who mentioned each keyword
So, after you’ve set up a few Google Alerts for highly-targeted job-related keywords, you’ll see all of your leads laid out in a Google Sheet: clear, accessible, and in chronological order.
Want to optimize your Google Alerts for the job search? Let these tips guide you.
Google Alerts and Export to Sheets will help you in the job search in a variety of ways. Below, we’ve laid out some guidelines and ideas so that you can make the most of your experience. We’ve included advice for how to use Google Alerts at every stage in the process—from “Just thinking” to “About to walk into my interview.”
And while your spreadsheet will inevitably include information about jobs that are currently available on standard job boards, part of the magic of Google Alerts is this: when created thoughtfully, your search terms can actually direct you to opportunities that are advertised in places besides the major job boards, and even clue you in to opportunities that don’t yet exist—opportunities that will develop in the future. In some cases, it’s this information that will keep you way ahead of the competition.
These next tips should serve as guideposts when using Google Alerts for your job search.
1. First, cover the basics.
Yes, there’s a wide array of Google Alert tactics. And you can (read: you should) employ them throughout the job search. However, there’s no need to get too fancy too soon. Start with the basic level. We recommend creating Google Alerts such as:
- [INSERT SPECIFIC COMPANY] + hiring
- [INSERT SPECIFIC COMPANY] + “press release” + jobs
- [INSERT SPECIFIC LOCATION] + [INSERT OCCUPATION] + [YOUR CITY] jobs
- [INSERT SPECIFIC INDUSTRY] + [YOUR CITY] + “company expanding”
- Jobs in [INSERT SPECIFIC INDUSTRY] + [YOUR CITY]
- Hot jobs in [INSERT SPECIFIC INDUSTRY]
Other terms could include “recruitment,” “job openings,” “new positions,” and your city if you’re not able to relocate, etc.
2. Know everything the internet knows about you.
It’s 2021. Obviously, when a potential employer gets your resume, they’re going to Google you.
It’s best practice, then, to Google yourself first. That way, you’ll know what they’ll be seeing.
But what if new information comes out about you, or about your current or former employers? Positive and/or negative press released about a recent project, or about a company you work for, can appear without you knowing. Set up a Google Alert to notify you when any new search results appear for your name or the names on your CV.
When something new shows up, you’ll be the first to know. If it happens to be negative, you’ll have a jump on disputing it/getting it taken down (if it’s about you), or preparing for how to answer questions about it (if it’s about an employer). Alternatively, if it’s positive, you can always reference it to your interviewer, who may have read the news.
3. Think way ahead.
Staying ahead of the curve is pivotal. Armed with your spreadsheet full of Google Alerts, you can keep your finger on the pulse of the job market by tracking news of companies expanding, merging, even folding; real estate developments being planned or constructed; and even new markets growing. Especially if your timeline is a little longer—i.e., you’re not looking to get hired right this minute—it’s critical to make the most of this information.
Are you a retail buyer? Your Google Alert notifies you of a shopping center set to open next month in a city near you. Are you a data analyst? Your new spreadsheet’s latest result says there’s a startup putting roots down in your city, and it just got Series B funding to the tune of $15M. Start working on your cover letter.
Get creative in order to stay at the front of the pack. Terms like “funding won” or “store opening” might pertain to the fields in which you work. What are the kinds of events in your industry that lead to jobs becoming available? Track those events for a leg up.
4. Think way, way ahead.
Keep tabs on the distant future.
Stay on top of news about Silicon Valley, Startup Alley, or whatever industry/sector you’re looking to work in. Of course, if you’re willing to work in multiple industries, you’re likely driven by which companies are hiring right now—and with what pay-level. In that case, try Google Alerts for “fastest growing companies,” “fastest growing sector,” “hot jobs,” etc.
Visionaries among us will point out that there are plenty of jobs that don’t even exist in our imagination today, but will exist in the future. In the 1970s, you’d be silly to ask about “Social Media Content Creator” positions or “Artificial Intelligence Engineer.” In January of 2021, you would have been surprised to know that delivery services like Instacart or Amazon would experience a dramatic upswing due to a global pandemic only two months away. So if you’re the kind of person that likes thinking way, way ahead, you can try weekly Google Alerts for “careers of the future” or “fastest growing technology” to keep yourself at the vanguard.
5. Follow your dream company.
Is there a company you have your eye on? Follow their activity with an alert. If you stay in touch with their press releases and latest news, you can know when positions become available; how the company is doing in general; new directions and projects, etc. For example, if you dream of doing creative marketing work for Disney, try:
- Disney jobs [INSERT LOCATION]
- Marketing jobs Disney “creative”
- Disney jobs “press release”
- New projects Disney
6. Use Google Alerts to prepare for your interview.
If you’re in the interview phase, you need to show you’ve done your homework on your prospective employer. In addition to impressing your interviewer, you want to prepare questions to understand if the job is really the right fit/situation. In this stage of the game, Google Alerts that collect news about a particular company are essential. Include the CEO in your search term, if you like. Who knows: there could have been a fraud charge against senior management, or even massive layoffs the very morning of your interview. Stay up-to-date with a daily Alert so you can walk into your meeting feeling confident and prepared.
7. Target the companies that are praised by people like you.
It’s important to know where you’ll feel most welcomed. If you’re someone who is at risk of discrimination in the hiring process or in the workplace, set alerts to clue you in to the best jobs for people like you. New articles on the topic will show up in your spreadsheet. Try out these alerts:
- LGBTQI-friendly workplaces
- Best companies for BIPOC
- Best workplaces for people with disabilities
How do I create Google Alerts?
Creating your job-related Google Alerts is simple! We’ve laid out the process for you below.
- Visit www.google.com/alerts.
- Type a search term into the search box.
- Before clicking “Create Alert,” click “Show Options.”
- Play around with the different settings until you find the ones that fit you best. How often do you want your Alerts? Options are “As-it-happens,” “At most once a day,” and “At most once a week.” In addition, if you’d like, Google will allow you to limit your search to news, blogs, the web, video, books, discussions and finance. Which one is best for you? Would you like to specify a language or a location for your search results? You can also have Google filter, or unfilter, your search results, for the quality of the content.
- Specify your email address.
- Click “Create Alert,” and you’re all set!
Every time a new alert comes in, Export to Sheets will automatically add the results to your Alerts spreadsheet, where you can view all of your results lined up.
Used in combination, Export Emails to Google Sheets and Google Alerts can offer you a huge advantage in the job search. Recapping what we covered above, remember:
- Create Google Alerts to structure the way you survey the job market.
- Automatically organize those alerts into a spreadsheet with a simple cloudHQ extension.
- Create both rudimentary Alerts and clever, forward-thinking Alerts to keep yourself in the know.
- Set Alerts to make sure you’re aware of what potential employers may know (or want to know) about you.
So, don’t wait! Download Export Emails to Google Sheets today to give yourself the leg up you deserve.