Inertia – What’s Holding You Back?

African lion rests in tree

Inertia is a state of mind that’s the equivalent to having a mental flat tire. You’re stuck in your situation if you allow yourself to give up and avoid the work needed to pull yourself up onto your feet, and begin moving however hesitantly forward again.

Sometimes you need to kick-start yourself to regain a sense of forward momentum. There are various ways to do this.

Questions to determine if inertia is holding you back:

▪ Are you flying in a holding pattern, neither advancing nor regressing, treading water and feeling stagnated?
▪ Have your plans and forward movement come to an impasse, and you see no way forward?
▪ Have you lost sight of your previous goals and objectives?
▪ Does everything seem to be at a standstill, and do you have a listless feeling of apathy?
▪ Do you greet the day with the feeling that it isn’t worth the effort to put in efforts towards your goals?
▪ Do you find it difficult to sit down and plan out your daily tasks?

That feeling of standstill, if left to solidify eventually transforms into a complete stoppage of worthwhile efforts. It’s imperative to recognize these warning signs and take concrete steps toward reinvigorating your efforts and your attitudes.

Some ways to get yourself moving forward again:

▪ Realize that this state of standstill does not need to continue indefinitely; it only takes some honest effort and choosing to initiate positive action to start moving again.
▪ Forgive yourself for letting yourself down, and forgive others for letting you down; we’re all human, and we all make mistakes.
▪ It isn’t the falling down that counts; it’s how many times you can get back up, smiling.
▪ Develop the idea of wanting to appreciate the many benefits you have in life, and desire to share your good fortune with others.
▪ Accept the fact that your world does not change unless you’re willing to commit to the process of change, however discomfited that makes you feel.
▪ Accept the challenge to create something new and positive; life affirming and uplifting that moves you to achieve.

Be open to change because it’s the only true constant in life. In a life well lived, there’s little room for complaints, boredom and apathy. Every moment that we are alive is a gift, and we honour that gift by making best use of the time that we have while we’re here.

“Nothing happens until something moves.” –  Albert Einstein

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Increase Your Visibility When Applying By Email.

With hundreds of resumes that we receive every week from all over North America, it is surprising to see how many submissions can be improved by following a few easy steps to improve visibility. It is vital to your interests to get noticed quickly among the many applications pouring in to most job postings.

  • Save a resume document in your own name

Many resume readers aren’t the final hiring manager. Assistants are used to pre-screen submissions. These assistants won’t spend any more time than is necessary on your document. Give the reader your name to refer to without them having to change the file name to save and find you on their desktop.

  • Combine 2 or more attachments into one document

Multiple attachments take time to save and process. Combining two or more documents into one streamlines both the review and the processing of the email. You run the risk of your cover letter, which may include important information being separated from your resume when emails are processed and passed on. Eliminate that risk. I’ve seen message that had nine attachments.

  • Use standard document formats: .doc, .pdf, .rtf or .txt.

Sending a resume saved in an exotic file format or as a .jpg that the reader can’t scan and/or open to read guarantees that the message will not progress further.

  • Eliminate the use of multiple pictures which increase the file size

Some email systems or email preferences may be set to automatically delete large files. Reduce the file size to avoid this problem.

  • Save a standard introductory letter in the Drafts folder to modify, according to the position applied for, including your telephone contact details.

Many virus messages have no text in them. Combine this with an anonymous resume file, and you are asking to be overlooked. Confirm to the reader that a live human being sent the message by adding contact information.

  • Use the Subject line effectively

Blank subject lines convey the impression of a lack of preparation or interest. The subject line is your first opportunity to command attention. Use the subject line to identify why you’re writing in a few, short words, identifying the position title.

  • Paste the text of your resume in the email message

Be visible to the reader, and easy to find. Instantly connect with the reader by pasting your resume text in the message, in addition to attaching your resume. A decision to move forward may be made in the few seconds that you have the reader’s eyeballs. Make it easy for that decision to happen.

Stand Out From The Crowd When Applying For Jobs.

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Hundreds of people may apply for the same position, how do you stand out from the crowd and ensure that your application gets noticed?

Create a separate email account on Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail. Have this account for job search activities; gather all of your related correspondence for easy access and follow-up. Use your first and last name in the email address that you choose. Avoid using odd, cryptic and un-businesslike email addresses.

Note your telephone number somewhere at the top of your message for easy access.
The recipient appreciates this because you make it easier for him/her to contact you for further consideration. When emails move from one department to another, information from the text is often lost, especially if you’ve a large amount of introductory text in the message.

Tell the reader when you can be reached by telephone. Note a timeframe that is easiest to reach you: “cell # (000)123-1234 after 3:30 p.m.” –or– “(000)123-1234 after 5:00 p.m.; leave message, anytime.” People involved in the hiring process have busy schedules.

Indicate that you can be reached by text message, anytime. The ability to instantly communicate with you is both a convenience for the resume reader/hiring manager, and can give you a jump on the competition that may not check their email once a day or every day.

Identify the position that you’re applying for in the subject line of your email. If it’s a position number you are applying to, also include the title. You set yourself apart from those applicants who don’t take the extra time to ensure that their communications are clear and focused.

Edit and re-edit the text of your cover letter. Long, meandering cover letters or messages decrease the chance to move forward in the review and pre-selection process. Every sentence must create buyer interest.

Manually check both your resume and cover message for errors. Spellcheck features are not totally reliable. They can’t tell if you mean: ‘they’re, their and there’, for example.

Ensure that all online resumes match in dates of employment and jobs held. There is nothing that creates more confusion in a resume reader’s mind than finding that they have two different sets of dates of employment in a resume and a candidate’s online profile on LinkedIn or Indeed to compare with. Create consistency in your public information.

These simple steps taken increase the odds of being noticed when hundreds of applicants are vying for the same position.

Build Trust As A New Supervisor.

New partner

When people work with each other, you sometimes get a clash of agendas and different motivations which affect the team’s synergy and output. If not handled with tact and diplomacy, positions and points of view become entrenched and people construct walls and defenses.

An inexperienced supervisor in this situation often overreacts and tries to force change and this can backfire.

Trying to influence someone who doesn’t see your point and refuses to accept your reasoning is like trying to make a stream flow uphill. The stronger their defensive posture is, and resistance to change becomes, the more you exhaust yourself through frustration and resentment when repeated attempts to push change fail.

This has the effect of draining your energy, narrowing your range of tolerance, and prompting emotional reactions to every wrong move that the person makes.

Some points to consider when you are faced with this scenario:

Remove your emotions from the equation and look at the problem strategically by looking beyond surface appearances.

  • Why is this person uncooperative?
  • What is making them resentful or defensive?
  • What are they possibly afraid of?

With a new supervisor, established employees may feel the need to test their boundaries, to see how strong or weak their new leader is. More experienced staff members who have seen supervisors come and go may test, probe or challenge to see if the new supervisor deserves their respect.

Finding common ground

  • Solicit their input as to how things could be done better or more productively within the bounds of established corporate guidelines.
  • Ask for their ideas about how you can help make their job easier and what tools they need.
  • Establish the human connection through asking them about their own plans for career growth and what they see as the next step forward.
  • Bring a specific operational problem to their attention and ask them how they would solve it.

Engaging these employees and showing that you value their experience, input and ideas is one way to gain willing cooperation. People have opinions and frequently have great ideas to contribute. Their former supervisor may have had a more autocratic leadership style, and as a consequence, they learned to avoid the risk of saying what they thought.

A significant part of the learning curve of new supervisors and managers is practicing the skills of active listening, soliciting feedback and seeking first to understand, then to be understood. This builds trust, and with trust more open communication becomes possible.

“I don’t like that man, I must get to know him better.” – Abraham Lincoln

 

You Know You Are Self-Motivated When…

  • You avoid taking the easy way out and apply yourself consistently to whatever it is you need to do.
  • You get up early in the morning fresh with energy to achieve the goals you have set out for that day.
  • You’re constantly thinking of ways to improve what you do and how you do it.
  • You don’t procrastinate; you attend to every task, no matter how small, building momentum.
  • You concentrate on creating order in your life, not cutting corners, or trying to evade responsibility.
  • You’re eager to make your contribution at home, in school, or at work, and people know that you give it 100% of your effort.
  • You don’t make excuses for why things aren’t done, or done poorly; you take responsibility and accountability, and resolve to improve yourself.
  • You look at every task as a learning opportunity, applying your talents and skills, to achieving present and future goals.
  • You keep in mind the idea of first things first; using your time and your energy for whatever will advance your interests, and create progress.
  • You refuse to allow yourself to achieve at a lower standard than you’re capable of.

” Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

Weather A Career Crisis And Emerge Stronger From It.

Unexpected events like downsizing and being restructured happen to the best of people, and this type of shock can temporarily affect your career progress.

The setback and challenges involved can seem daunting. Don’t be discouraged. No one can take away from you your genuine achievements.

These situations often serve as a catalyst for change that might otherwise not have happened, and in the end they often serve to increase your strength and purpose.

As recruiters, we see countless scenarios where one door closes and one door opens for people who keep their cool and decide to see the opportunity represented of being forced by circumstance to choose a new direction.

Those who choose not to allow a feeling of victimization to colour their interactions with others, and who decide instead to spur themselves forward with positive determination invariably end up finding the opportunity that is right for them.

If you remain calm and persevering, you will find the right doors opening for you.

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

Make Your Skills Summary Statement Golden.

Most hiring managers and recruiters are sold on selecting a resume for active consideration in the first 10 seconds or so spent reviewing it. That’s not a lot of time to grab their attention! Make the time count by putting what you can do up front. The generic Job Objective on a resume doesn’t accomplish this and may limit your options in some cases.

A Skills Summary that sizzles hits the hot buttons of the reader and makes them put down their coffee and read on.

You are providing information on your skills and experience in a tightly worded introduction. It is a sales presentation that paves the way to a follow up call or interview.

A Job Objective might say: Sales Executive in a global freight forwarder.

A Skills Summary identifies what you bring to the table: Ten years sales development experience in international air and ocean freight. successful in identifying, pursuing and closing new business. Known for persistence and the ability to develop and retain profitable accounts.

The simple truth is that you need to use those precious few seconds when you have the reader’s eyeballs to make them sort you into the follow up folder. Remember that sorting through hundreds of resumes may well be the least favourite activity of the reader.

Call it a Skills Summary, Key Qualifications, Key Assets Statement, whatever term you use, make it serve your interests. Define in a few short sentences the essence of who you are, what you’ve done and what you can do.

The rest of the resume supports your opening statement. The Applicant Tracking software that companies use will scan your keywords for relevancy. Put this section in early in your resume.

Get noticed for the right reasons and you’re more likely to advance in the selection process.

Your Quiet Mind Gets Things Done.

Your goals are more easily achieved when you act from a quiet center, rather than allowing yourself to be governed by fear, doubt and anxiety. Restlessness as an enduring condition often leads to making impulsive decisions which aren’t in your best interest.

This is especially noticeable when you are making a career decision. When you wrestle with making this type of decision in an emotional state, you are less likely to make the decision that’s right for you. All sorts of considerations, second-guessing and indecision can paralyze the will to act.

There are many ways to arrive at a calmer state of mind to allow your perceptions and impressions to achieve that state of simple clarity, where options, risks and rewards become clearer.

Some things that help achieve a state of calm:

▪ Many find listening to calming music assists their thought processes
▪ Taking a walk in the park, in a forest or anywhere in nature helps release anxious thoughts
▪ Consciously choosing to let go of the problem, trusting that a solution will be found helps to disengage from circular thinking
▪ Playing with children or a pet breaks your mind’s focus and allows thoughts to settle
▪ Reading inspirational quotations or stories of people whom you admire helps balance your thinking

The answers often come when you stop focusing on not having them.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine — and shadows will fall behind you” – Walt Whitman

New Graduates: Create Buyer Interest In The Interviewer.

Define your worth to the employer. Convince employers that they should invest in you.

Progressive employers view talented graduates as a valuable resource for future growth. Employers hire people who have demonstrated that they want the opportunity to grow.

Many employers have said to us that without an established track record, they will tend to hire someone because of what attitudes, energy, and character strengths they see that can be a foundation for training and future development.

Think about your skills, your strengths, and your experiences in school.

How have you applied yourself to your studies? What strengths and skills helped you succeed? If you have had the opportunity to work in an industry related co-op placement, then there is some assessment that the employer may obtain, based on your employment reference.

The skills you learned in part-time jobs are transferable to other employment. Employers look for evidence of the ability to learn quickly, get along with coworkers, and work in an organized, self-motivated manner. Extracurricular activities are taken into account, as is volunteer work. List your accomplishments and talk about them.

As an entry-level employee with no co-op history, the employer doesn’t have a track record to measure your performance. Instead, they look at grades, honours awarded, scholarships received, and Dean’s list citations. Tell them what you have done and how you did it.

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes, and understand the employer’s point of view, concerns, and needs:

  • Is this person someone we can invest time in to train them?
  • Will this person be staying with us long enough for us to benefit from having trained them?
  • Does this person have a willingness to cooperate and be a good team player?
  • Is this person someone who communicates effectively?
  • Does this person have realistic salary expectations?

Hiring managers hire people that show confidence, enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and work hard, and flexibility in an interview. These attitudes make a positive impression which lead to job offers.

Why Do I Want This Career Opportunity?

A balanced sense of ambition and realism helps you achieve the goals you set out for yourself. Those who allow ambition to be their master rather than mastering their ambition often make short-sighted decisions where desire gets in the way of objectivity. Cutting corners to experience rapid career progress exposes you to demands and expectations from others where you need to have the grounding, skills and experience to be successful and meet established performance standards.

Some questions to ask yourself:

▪ Is it recognition, respect, increased prestige, greater challenge, more money?
▪ Have I carefully assessed what demands will be placed on me and do I possess the skills and traits that will make me successful?
▪ Am I moving because I am frustrated and want to challenge myself, or do I feel that I am not acknowledged and my contribution has not been recognized?
▪ Do I have the experience and knowledge required for this job?
▪ How objective am I in evaluating my strengths and weaknesses?
▪ Am I being impatient and have I learned all I can in my present situation?
▪ Am I moving because others – family members or peers have said that I should and I feel the pressure from them?

Pride, ego and the perception that others are getting ahead faster than you can influence your decision making.

Take the time to honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses and review the pros and cons of accepting a given opportunity. Objectively take inventory of your knowledge, skills and experience, and make the effort to determine from the employer what will be expected of you.

The decision you make will have far-reaching consequences and you owe it to yourself to decide wisely based on facts and a full assessment of the risks and rewards.