Using Google Analytics and UTM URLs to track link clicks from your job applications.

Most of us are familiar with the often demotivating process of looking for work. You spend hours, days, and weeks creating CVs and cover letters for jobs that sound perfect for you. You send them off and……nothing. 

It gets soul crushing pretty quickly, and you begin to question every step of your application. But with no information back it can be difficult to know where things have gone wrong.

This isn’t something I can claim to fix, but with a small change you may be able to squeeze a little bit of information from those applications you sent but received nothing back from.

When applying for jobs online a big part of standing out is linking to your own website or work samples. For designers in particular an online portfolio has been a necessity for years, but it’s an important asset for workers in many industries. When applying for work I include a link to my portfolio website on my CV and in my cover letter. 

This is how we can get some information; by treating our job search like a marketing campaign through the use of UTM URLs. If we use a tracking campaign URL for each CV and Cover Letter link we send out it will give us insight into if our application was given enough attention for the recruiter to click that link and look at our website. 

While it isn’t thorough there are a few bits of information we will be able to take from this:

1) If recruiters are clicking the link to your portfolio or website but you are getting no further than that, then it may be time to review your portfolio. Is something about your website turning away potential employers?

2) When recruiters are getting to your portfolio, what are they looking at and how long are they spending on your site? Is there certain content that stands out as being viewed more than the others?

3) If you are getting no clicks to your website from your application then your issue starts much earlier. It may be time to review your CV and Cover Letter layout or content.

4) Being able to see when these clicks are coming in could be useful. I know that if I could see that a recruiter clicked to my portfolio a few days after I sent my application it would give me a little peace of mind that at least my application is getting through to them and is being looked at. If I see a click come in for a job I applied for 3 weeks previously, then maybe this would be a good time for a follow up email to show them I’m interested and pro-active.

While this doesn’t make job hunting easier, it does at least remove an element of the radio silence that sometimes goes along with the process. So how do you get started?

You need two tools for this to work. First, you need to have Google Analytics (or any other analytics tool you like) working on your website. Second, you need a UTM URL builder. I use the Google Campaign URL Builder, but there are other options out there. 

To set up your UTM URL, fill in the required fields on Google Campaign Builder. The “Campaign Source”, “Campaign Medium”, and “Campaign Name” are identifiers for you, so when you are viewing the results in Google Analytics you can easily identify which application the click is related to and if it came from your CV or Cover Letter or any other part of your application. The exact wording of these aren’t particularly important, it’s best to just pick a format for it and stick to it for each of your applications, but be aware that these will be visible to the person who clicks them.

Google will generate the URL for you to begin using. An important step here is to not just paste this URL into your applications. They are messy and lengthy and which may make people a little less likely to click them. So tidy them up. Add the URL to some text in your CV or in your application so that the full thing isn’t visible.

Then send your applications and wait patiently for Google Analytics to do its thing. It’s important to remember that Analytics won’t update immediately. Just bear this in mind if you are testing your URL and aren’t seeing immediate hits.

In Google Analytics, navigate to ‘Acquisition’ > ‘Campaigns’. This is where your data will feed in, and it should look a little something like this.

Just click into whatever your campaign is called and you’ll have a list of the UTM URLs for your job applications that have been clicked, how many pages were viewed from these clicks, how much time was spent looking at your site, and lots of other information. Add a secondary dimension to the report for Page Title and you’ll have a list of all the content they’ve viewed.

And that’s all there is to it. You now have that small snippet of insight into how your applications are progressing and don’t have to dwell too much on if your application has been seen or not!

Categories: Blog