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3 Career Inertia Myths: Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make (Now More Than Ever)

Just because we're stuck at home does not mean you can afford to hide. I promise: inertia is NOT your friend.

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Career Transformation Coach Pat Roque shares expert career advice daily http://bit.ly/careercorner20
Career Transformation Coach Pat Roque shares her wisdom from 32 years as a virtual team leader and work from home expert. Learn why inertia is NOT your friend.

Just like you, I’m hunkered down working from home with my family, too. We’re juggling airspace and home office space based on who has conference calls or podcast interviews and needs background silence.

Bella, my adorably hyper rescue puppy, acts just like a typical 3 year-old child: she craves attention from all her “playmates” at home, and barks for a potty run just as I’m about to start a client coaching session. I have to wear earbuds so she doesn’t start looking to play with the other people she hears through my video chats.

Granted, it’s not easy to adjust on the fly, with so many moving parts and socialization restrictions that change daily. We are all exhausted because the mental gymnastics take a toll as much as the lack of sunshine and vitamin D. Again, this is a moment of gratitude for Bella as the 4 walks a day force me to keep moving, literally, one foot in front of the other.

Heck, I’m a work-from-home-aholic who’s been at it for 32 years and can’t imagine life any other way. Yet these days it’s exponentially tougher, even for me. 

But there’s hope, based on sharing our frustrations, asking smart questions and getting one percent better every day. 

>>When life feeds us lemons, why not make vodka and lemonade?<<

As a career expert who has worked from home since 1988 and did my master’s thesis on best practices for remote teams, I intimately helped companies and individuals through the post-9/11 workforce transformation.  People were scared and uncertain then, as they are now. 

But I promise we can ot only survive but thrive when we band together and continue marching forward with big hearts and open minds.  The world needs your gifts, and mine, so it’s time to rise above the insecurities. It’s our turn to lead with grace by setting a shining example of good citizenship and keep our careers (and the economy) marching forward. 

There’s an eerie similarity to some popular misconceptions that we must address, here and now, to give you a better perspective and some career confidence going forward. 

MYTH #1: There are no jobs out there, I should put my efforts on hold.

FACT #1: The truth is simple: if you hide under the blankets, nothing will happen. Do you choose to see the opportunities that keep popping, as Amazon and other companies just posted for 10K new jobs…and CVS posted for 32k more?  A caller on our free career and work from home meetup today was just offered a promotion. One of my executive clients has had 5 key meetings/interviews in the past 3 weeks. My daughter, who’s about to graduate with her doctorate, has had 3 interviews in the past 2 weeks and landed her dream job.

Inertia is NOT your friend. 

If you are clear on your strengths, and position yourself as a solution vs a candidate, you can stand out from the crowd and score those important meetings, even if virtual for now. This is no time to stop, but rather to slow down and reflect on what really matters most to you and your family. 

It’s a great opportunity to apply what was your commuting time, for example, and put it toward re-engineering your personal brand. Think long-tail and work on getting one percent better, accomplishing even 1 smart task a day toward your bigger end game.  

What does it mean?  

ACTION STEP #1: MINDSET MATTERS!  You need a plan, a system, and accountability to rock the next 90 days and emerge on the other side of this situation smarter, stronger, and ready for leading from the front with newfound confidence in your capabilities. 

>> This too, shall pass…but will you be ready?<<

MYTH #2: Revamping your resume will land you a new job.

As a top LinkedIn ProFinder career coach, my inbox is flooded with nearly 100 inbound requests for career help daily. It breaks my heart to see that folks are still so naively obsessed with resume makeovers to try to land the wrong jobs, repeating past mistakes over and over.

Even worse, they’re often turning to cheapo resume mills for a quick refresh. Then they “spray and pray” – applying to hundreds of job postings or blinding bombarding strangers in random companies. Sadly, they’ve wasted that precious opportunity to make a brilliant first impression. By ignoring their true calling, they’ve wasted precious time and money. 

>> What’s the definition of insanity? Making the same mistakes and expecting a different outcome.<<

FACT #2: Your resume is the LAST piece of the puzzle. It is something you’ll address once you’re clear on your goals, have leveraged connections and can create a story that sells your genius as the perfect fit for a new role. It’s called a  “Cinderella moment” and there’s a foot for every shoe, and a perfect shoe for every foot. You CAN turn that ship around and sail toward a brighter future with the right mindset and efforts. 

What to do about it? 

ACTION STEP #2: Once you have your Career GPS set, start taking a detailed inventory of your quantifiable accomplishments.  Did you save your company time, money, or some other major leap forward? When possible, measure what matters. 

Next, make a log (your career transformation workbook, something in google docs or Excel that you’ll expand over time). When I helped a client land a new role at Amazon, for example, we listed Amazon’s 14 leadership principles across the top of the grid and the candidate could then articulate how each win checked the boxes that mattered most to their team. 

Now (while we’re under home self-containment), you can apply what would have been the commuting time and learn to finesse your soft skills or new technologies. Take courses on Lynda.com or perhaps one of 450 free Ivy League courses listed on classcentral.com

MYTH #3: Interviews are all cancelled.

FACT #3: Many in-person interviews have shifted format, but they are still happening in many industries. Even as so many work from home, companies are carrying on remotely and using a variety of styles. So you need to be flexible in your approach, and stay politely in touch with your hiring liaison. 

The best candidates (and hiring teams) remain nimble. Sure, scheduling shifts happen as transportation and curfews arise. That stuff is out of our control so you cannot sweat the things you cannot change. 

Diligent follow up is key! 

You must also now be prepared for whatever form of questioning they throw at you. Hiring managers want to see your calm persistence under duress. They are observing your ability to persevere with integrity as much as they test for culture fit and actual work skills. Candidates have had success preparing for written questionnaires, robotic calls, emails, phone interviews, video interviews, behavioral questioning and sample project assignments. 

ACTION STEP #3: It’s time to hone your TOOLSET and be prepared with an inventory of best-in-class messaging, in all the most important professional formats.Continue to stay relevant by leading or participating in virtual meetings and leading online courses.  Stay visible and share your point of view on LinkedIn. If you’re not comfortable with all of these, use some of your newfound social distancing time to fine-tune your strategies with a career coach and practice with your accountability partner. 

Remember, we need human connection, powerful ideas, and inspiration…now more than ever. So stop making the same mistakes of the past. 

Instead, take a deep breath and commit to moving one step forward every day; Take charge of your future as you master the 3 key ingredients of a smart career pivot plan:

  1. MINDSET: Assess your strengths, master your value system and set your career GPS 
  2. SKILLSET: Connect the dots from where you’ve been to who you want to be in the next chapter of your career with your inventory tracker, and 
  3. TOOLSET: Take notes on all your new awakenings to refine your personal brand positioning, rock your story telling, and rehearsing your interviewing. Shine the light proudly on your success, and stay connected to the people who matter

After all, this too shall pass. In the meantime, take advantage of the family connections and don’t forget to be kinder to yourself. Gratitude works miracles. 

As you discover new things to love about yourself, you’ll truly believe that you deserve to ultimately land where you can work in your zone of genius, and be of best service to others. So stop hiding under the covers and remember that momentum and a positive mindset (not inertia) can help you rock your world in the best way possible. 

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If you’re looking for a support system for connection and brainstorming your next moves, join the free Career Coaching Corner live on Zoom every weekday through March 31 at 2PM eastern. Register at http://bit.ly/careercorner20

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