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3 Key Things That'll Keep Chaos at Bay During the Job Search
After five years in the Army, I learned pretty quickly that the job hunt is chaotic. You have to create multiple versions of your resume, craft countless cover letters, and keep track of where you applied and when. Not to mention, keep up with LinkedIn and any other social media you’ve decided to use during your job search. All the moving parts can add so many layers of disorganization.
That’s where my military background came in handy. When I left the Army, I was a company executive officer. My life was spreadsheets, PowerPoints, emails, and countless personnel and status reports. While I ditched the PowerPoints once I left the service, I kept my spreadsheet skills at the front and ready. In fact, I created a tracker (and used every tool at my disposal) to help me during my career transition.
With organization leading to a less stressful transition, here’s what you can do to smooth your own job search:
Create a spreadsheet
My Google Sheet (or use Excel if you’re old school) had a tab for prospective places to apply, and a tab that acted as my main dashboard. In that main tab, I had a row with each company I had applied to, and columns for date, website, point-of-contact, follow-up information, and a slot for the date if I heard back and what that message said. If an application led to a phone interview, I jotted down notes and contact info. Then, after I sent a thank you or follow-up, I’d pop that date in a cell so I could rest easy knowing I had closed at least one loop.
However you want to structure your spreadsheet, just make sure you capture the information that you need to keep you confident and informed. Writing everything down helps when you wake up and wonder “Did I ever send a thank you to the interviewer?” or, “When was the last time I heard from that recruiter?”
U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Sylvester, 56th Mission Support Group commander, signs an educational opportunities memorandum with the West Maricopa Education Center Aug. 14, 2018U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Clinton Atkins
Make a cheat sheet
For every company that I interviewed with, I created a note in Google Keep. In my note I’d include the company’s mission, competitors, top executives, projects, press, as well as the job description, interviewer name and background, and any relevant experience I wanted to keep at the top of my mind. During my commute or during the time before I went in to interview, I’d quickly review my notes on my phone (the app syncs across your devices). Just having one spot to dump all the information I gathered about a company was useful in itself, and the app is easily searchable.
Craft email templates ahead of time
If you’re a glutton for email hacks, this one is for you. Gmail allows you to create template emails. All you have to do is turn on canned responses under the lab tab in the settings menu to access this feature (full how-to).
I used this feature to create a thank you template. While it may not have saved me a ton of time in the long run, it helped make the step easier to execute since it was already half done. My template looked something like this:
Thank you for taking the time today to discuss POSITION at COMPANY NAMED. I enjoyed learning about X and how POSITION contributes to executing that project. If I were in that role, I would EXAMPLE, based on my experience at PAST POSITION/COMPANY.
Looking forward to hearing from you -- I’d love to chat more about how I can contribute to the team.
Terry Young, Surprise Police Department police chief, signs the Emergency Vehicle Operators Course Memorandum of Understanding at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Jan. 10, 2018. U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Caleb Worpel) U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Caleb Worpel
Last word on keeping chaos away from your job search
While creating systems and trackers for the job hunt can turn into a method of procrastination for some, for me, it helped give me a feeling of control. So much of the job search is out of your hands. Anything that can give you a sense of calm while setting you up to tackle what’s on your plate is worth trying, at least in my book.
So tell us, what worked or didn’t work for you during your job hunt?
My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead
"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.
They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.
As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.
But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.
Sen. Rick Scott is backing a bipartisan bill that would allow service members to essentially sue the United States government for medical malpractice if they are injured in the care of military doctors.
The measure has already passed the House and it has been introduced in the Senate, where Scott says he will sign on as a co-sponsor.
"As a U.S. Senator and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, taking care of our military members, veterans and their families is my top priority," the Florida Republican said in a statement.
Little girls everywhere will soon have the chance to play with a set of classic little green Army soldiers that actually reflect the presence of women in the armed forces.
Russia established an air base in the Syrian city where withdrawing US troops were pelted with potatoes
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a sprawling air base in northern Syria vacated by U.S. forces, the Russian Defence Ministry's Zvezda TV channel said on Friday.
On Thursday, Zvezda said Russia had set up a helicopter base at an airport in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli, a move designed to increase Moscow's control over events on the ground there.
Qamishli is the same city where Syrian citizens pelted U.S. troops and armored vehicles with potatoes after President Donald Trump vowed to pull U.S. troops from Syria.