Help me organize my job hunt, ADD edition
January 4, 2017 6:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm job hunting! ... again. Right now I'm looking for anything that pays, preferably above minimum wage, that I can do with my various disabilities. I need it soon, too. My issue is trying to organize my job hunting and keeping track of what I need to do... because of my ADD, I have pretty epic Executive Function disfunction, and I can't just "remember" what things need to be done. I also have issues keeping on track.

Basically, I'm looking for "hacks" for job hunting with ADD. Ways to keep track of what needs doing, what has been done, how to keep on track... things like that.

I need to be in therapy for said ADD, and that's coming, and I do take medication for it -- and it's still a huge, huge impact on my life. When I'm working it's a lot easier since I have tasks to do. My problem is translating "job hunting" to "specific tasks that I can check off a list."

posted by gloraelin to Work & Money (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Well here are my basic coping mechanisms for similar sorts of issues.

Get that to do stuff out of your head and in front of you in physical form. Make sure it is in a place that you will see it again if you wander off - whiteboard or notepad on the wall.

Brainstorm all the stuff you might need to do. Break things down into steps small enough that you aren't going to get distracted in the middle of completing them. It will probably seem really dumb to have to spell things out in such stupid simple details, but it gets things done.

For me keeping on track requires setting very underwhelming basic goals for the day that I tell myself I must accomplish, just to get myself started, more ambitious stretch goals for the day that I want to accomplish, but don't beat myself up too hard for not accomplishing, and getting friends to help me keep on track.

Everyone's different, so I don't know how well this will work for you, and to be honest, I'm still way less effective than I expect I could be, but it gets me from 5% effective to 50% effective.
posted by Zalzidrax at 7:28 PM on January 4, 2017

You what job was great for me? A call center. Calls roll in, you take care of it and go on to the next. There was very little "follow up".
posted by beccaj at 8:45 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately, the only call center in the area is a] pretty inaccessable by bus, and b] a soul-sucking beast. It's well-known in the area as such.
posted by gloraelin at 9:18 PM on January 4, 2017

Everything Zalzidrax said. More specifically, along the lines of breaking things down into constituent steps:
  • Have a goal number of applications per day. Keep a list wherever's best for you: on a journal on your desk, in a text file, whatever, but what I've found works well is to pre-fill it (i.e., if you're trying to get in two applications a day, put "Application 1" and "Application 2" as list items) and then CROSS THEM OFF as you get through them. That little reward of "yes, I did this, and now I can take it off the list" is supremely important for me as someone with ADHD, maybe it'll be useful for you too.
  • If there's application-specific stuff you need to do, like if you have to supply a resume and need to tailor certain sections to the job in question, try to pick out the thing that needs to happen with each application (e.g., I can mostly use the same resume for any application, but I need to customize the "objective" and "relevant skills" sections for each job) and make a list out of those things (customize "objective" section, customize "relevant skills" section), and then make those subpoints for each application in the previous list. Again, as before, cross them when you're done.
As always, the challenge with ADHD is that the meta-work is just another thing for you to forget to do, but like Zalzidrax said, it's usually at least enough to bump your effectiveness up significantly from where it would be otherwise. I hope some of that is relevant.
posted by invitapriore at 11:23 PM on January 4, 2017

I used an excel sheet with a bunch of different tabs/columns to track things like search terms, promising ads, websites to monitor regularly, details of jobs i applied for, etc. It worked pretty well and i found it very helpful in keeping me on track (ymmv, if you aren't comfortable and happy using spreadsheets already, a different tracking system might work better. But you definitely need some kind of tracking system.)

-I strongly recommend setting a (very easy) goal to make sure you're at least making some progress. Like apply to a job every day/every other day, or (more efficient) X jobs per week.

-also suggest copying and saving the job ad text as well as your app materials... when i was interviewing, it helped a lot to go back to the job ad link I'd saved and review what they were looking for.... until i interviewed for a job where they'd taken down the page already, oops.

-it's a soul crushing process so try not to beat yourself up too much if you can't bring yourself to do it some days or even some weeks. Just don't wait so long between searches that you're missing out on application windows. Good luck!
posted by randomnity at 9:31 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah and also, on days that I couldn't bring myself to apply for anything, I still did searches and highlighted promising jobs (with link and a few details, plus app deadline). Then I could apply for those on another day, especially on the days I couldn't bear to search again (soulcrushing in a different way from the apps themselves!)

It helped a lot with my procrastination tendencies because I could put off whatever i was most dreading/anxious about while still making real progress.
posted by randomnity at 9:35 AM on January 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

I also keep a spreadsheet of jobs I applied to and the dates. I save the cover letter as a separate doc (even if I just copy-pasted into a form). If I customized my resume, I save that as a new file too. I also save the job listings (either print out or just paste into a doc and save), because sometimes those get taken down after the application and before the interview and it's good to have as a reference.
posted by radioamy at 10:24 AM on January 5, 2017

I just want to comment that excel tracking made the difference for me. You can see progress even if it's not real progress. If you enter a rejection and the file gets bigger you at least feel like something is happening
posted by jago25_98 at 12:15 PM on January 5, 2017

Just wanted to say -- I have ADHD, severe inattentive type, and I started bullet journaling, and it is ALREADY changing my life. All of your reminders and lists, you say? In one convenient place, you say? Where you write your own index AS YOU GO so that you know where everything is, forever more?

I've done one for work and one for personal stuff, and I feel like a person in control of my destiny. It may seem a bit daunting, but honestly all I did was watch the 9 minute video on the website twice - one time just to watch it and get the idea, and then one more time as I laid out the basic journal step by step.

I honestly think if you stick to it and keep it rather minimalistic, it is perfect for ADHD inattentive symptoms.

Good luck!!
posted by fairlynearlyready at 2:13 PM on January 5, 2017

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