3 Key Things That'll Keep Chaos at Bay During the Job Search

career

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:

Hi NAME,

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.

Thanks again,

Nina

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?

he amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returns to homeport at Naval Base San Diego on February 25, 2015. (U.S. Navy/ Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Corwin Colbert)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A former U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for having sexual contact with a 14-year-old Oceanside girl in 2017, federal prosecutors in San Diego said in a statement.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.

After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.

But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Read More Show Less

That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.

After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.

Read More Show Less

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.

"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in a closely watched war crimes trial this summer has filed a lawsuit against two of his former attorneys and a military legal defense nonprofit, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Texas on Friday.

Read More Show Less