Welcome to SixFigureStart®

Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

SixFigureStart is On Fire at StartUpNation


No, this isn’t a Halloween trick — check our popularity meter; we’re on fire!  Thanks to all of those who have voted the past two months for SixFigureStart in the StartUpNation business contest.  Official winners will be announced in mid-November.  (But you can still vote as of today!)

If you’ve forgotten what led us down this path, see my Aug 22 post about the ever earlier job search:


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SixFigureStart on Examiner.com/ How to benefit from your helicopter parents


My tip about how parents can help to relieve the financial urgency of the search makes the list.  I am also glad that the counterpoint made it in there:  jobseekers, if you are getting help from family, financial or otherwise, keep them in the loop.  It’s good networking and good manners!

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Book review: Mike Michalowicz’ The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

I recently finished a new book on entrepreneurship that has excellent parallels for the proactive jobseeker.  Graphic bathroom analogy notwithstanding, Mike Michalowicz’ The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur gives candid, motivational and tactical ideas on launching a business from three-time entrepreneur Michalowicz.  According to Michalowicz, you are a Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (TPE) when you give all you can to keeping the business going and growing — nothing fancy or overly strategic, a TPE is all action all the time.

My favorite tip is his analogy to tacking, a sailing term that refers to the continual adjustment of the sail to get to the destination.  Michalowicz likens this to running a start-up where you need to have an overarching goal in mind but constantly need to readjust.  This is also a perfect analogy to a proactive job search.  Yes, you need to have a target in mind for your career, but you also need to readjust based on market conditions, your personal circumstances, what is happening with your industry of choice, etc.

Another great feature of the book is the examples of other entrepreneurs.  I particularly liked the case of Joe Spano and Buy-Rite, which picked its Top Nine customers and focused exclusively on adjusting the business to focus on these customers even if it meant saying no to others.  Similarly, a job search should be targeted.  As a candidate you cannot be all things to all companies because you dilute your benefits and disperse your energy chasing too many things.  Better to focus and build on where you can and want to make an impact.

Mike Michalowicz’ The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur is a breezy read and an entertaining way to get inspiration and practical advice.  As people change jobs and careers more frequently, the job search becomes more entrepreneurial.  In this way, reading entrepreneurship books can inject new ideas into your search.  As you go through your search, think about if you are doing all you can.  Don’t overthink it.  Just remember your goal and move towards it.  This way, you can be a Toilet Paper Jobseeker.

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SixFigureStart on Examiner.com/ Dress For Success


My tip about excessive makeup makes the list, and other career experts share their favorite don’t’s for women in Heather Huhman’s Examiner column.

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SixFigureStart on CNBC


You can’t cram a job search in the age of 24/7 search.  Read our guest post on CNBC to find out what you should be doing instead.

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Success at last! Our client’s secret to landing her dream job!

A client of ours just landed her dream job yesterday afternoon.  It was a great moment because she was just starting to get alittle nervous.  The secret to her success?  I would say there were 3 or 4 secrets.

By way of background, she is a senior in college, a Psychology major, with a couple of very good summer internships on her resume.

Secret #1:  She had a lot of things going at once and didn’t put all her eggs in one basket.  She had 1st round interviews with 2 or 3 more companies, she was waiting to hear back about 2nd rounds with about 4 other companies, and she was waiting to hear about final offers from 2 or 3 other companies.

Secret #2:  She diversified.  She was interviewing with Financial Services but with two concentrations:  Capital Markets and Investment Banking.  She was also interviewing with consulting companies, and lastly she was interested in Teach for America.

Secret #3:  She realized the power of coaching and how it could help her.   We grilled her with interview questions and she became more comfortable during the actual interview.  We researched, really researched her strengths and weaknesses – a question that makes most students freeze when asked.  She took our advice when we suggested it’s best to put her hair back because she tends to flip it with her hand during the interview.  Her follow-up notes were well written and she fully researched the company before she interviewed.

Secret #4:  She stayed upbeat and determined.  She KNEW she would have a positive outcome and that sustained the times when she didn’t get a callback interview, or when the company said they would get back on Friday and didn’t until the following Thursday.

So we are very happy for our client … and the good news is that there is no secret to successfully landing a job.  It just takes a well organized, positive effort!

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Belief Precedes Every Step In An Effective Job Search

The SixFigureStart job search methodology has six steps.  I repeat this so often to clients and workshop participants that I can do it front to back and in my sleep.  It is so logical, so obvious to me.  I have modeled it based on what is most effective of thousands of candidates I have hired and what I have advised coaching clients and what I have personally used myself…And yet, at a routine workshop the other day, I realized that there is a pre-step, a step 0, if you will before any of the six other steps.  Before you identify what you want, before you try to attain it, there is step 0 that is simply the belief that it is possible.

I was talking to a young professional at the start of a promising career.  This was not supposed to be your grizzled, down on your luck middle-aged executive.  But she was indeed grizzled and down on her luck.  For every suggestion I offered she couldn’t see it working — at least in her case.  It didn’t matter that she hadn’t yet tried it.  It wouldn’t work, and she wouldn’t get started only to be doomed to fail.  She couldn’t take the disappointment of potentially being disappointed.

Here is the catch-22:  we have to believe in the efficacy of our actions in order for said actions to work, but we often have to act in order to believe.  Since I couldn’t get her to believe, I couldn’t get her to act, even when the action would have helped her belief which then would have further promoted the actions.  This confusing loop is not so confusing really.  Aren’t we all attracted to confidence?  Don’t we all want to align ourselves with people who will make it happen and not just hope something happens?  In this anxious market, isn’t the best thing to be right now to be an anchor and calm in the storm?  Confidence, make-it-happen gusto, anchoring and calm are results of a strong belief in yourself.

I opened my workshop differently that night because of my pre-workshop conversation with this jobseeker.  I made a disclaimer about our job search methodology.  I pointed out that it only works if you believe that it will work.  Half-hearted attempts are very obvious to recruiters and prospective employers.  If you don’t buy what you’re selling (and as a jobseeker you are selling yourself) then no one else will want it.  It is not up to recruiters or employers or friends or anyone else but you to believe in yourself.  That belief becomes infectious.  Then people gravitate to that.  Then possibilities open up and networking becomes easier and the stars seem to align.  But only when a strong belief preceds every step of your job search.

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SixFigureStart now at Vault.com

SixFigureStart’s On/Off Campus Recruiting blog debuted at Vault.com this week.    Check it out and let us know what you think.  Also, let us know what your busiest month is as a student looking for a job!  I’m curious…We select our topics for Vault based on how the recruiting calendar inspires us.  So our first column was about juggling midterms and on-campus recruiting as it is Oct.

One of the early comments was that the post was more suited to July.  JULY???  That’s a first for me.  Who is taking mid-terms in July, except summer school folks?  No personal issues with summer school but it is the exception not the rule.  And to be competitive for campus recruiting, you definitely want to be in an internship in July not in summer school. 

So what is the busiest month if not October?  Let us know.

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Jobseekers, Don’t Leave Interview Inspiration To Chance

I was recently coaching a client before a callback interview for a job she really wanted.  One of the things we worked on was creating a routine for exactly what she would do in the moments before the interview.  This isn’t about how to show up on time (yes, you need to get there early to account for traffic, security clearance and filling out employment forms in Reception).  This isn’t about how to prepare for commonly asked interview questions (yes, you need to prepare stories and specific examples that highlight your best self).  This is about knowing how to ground yourself right before an interview so that you are in a good mood, enthusiastic to be there, and relaxed enough to perform at your highest level.

You cannot reliably expect to be “on” or “in your element” if you don’t have specific techniques to get you there.  After all, you may be under the weather, or you may stub your toe that morning which just sets you off, or you may hear some bad news right before (and in this economic climate there is plenty of that to go around).  So you can’t just expect to turn it on when it matters.  Many athletes and artists have specific routines that they build to make sure they are on for game day or a big performance.  Some of my favorite techniques:

Have a song that inspires you and listen to it that morning or right before you go into the company building;

Carry pictures that get you in the right frame of mind.  I like to look at pictures of my kids to instantly ground me and remind me why I am about to pitch this big proposal or ask for the business;

Read inspirational quotes;

Smile.  Even if you have to force it, flexing your muscles that way has been proven to put you in a better state.

Whatever you do, do something specific that you have prepared and that you know works for you.  The market is competitive.  People are anxious; even the employers interviewing you are probably more worried about their own jobs than they are about your search.  Now more than ever you need to reliably be ready to shine.  Create the environment where you can succeed.  Don’t leave interview inspiration to chance.

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Consistency matters in a job search

I have a client who has a lot going for him:  he is articulate, has charisma and good looks, and a solid financial foundation.  What he doesn’t have is consistency in his job search.

All he really needs to do is practice interviewing a bit more and be consistent with his networking skills.  Yet, he doesn’t keep up with it as much as he should.  Sometimes I hear excuses that he is too busy to dedicate the work necessary for his job search, doesn’t work in NYC so it’s hard to meet people, can’t think of people to network with, and so on and so on.

Now it is true that he is busy, but he’s told me how badly he wants a new job.  It’s true that he doesn’t work in NYC, but networking doesn’t have to be face to face.  LinkedIn is a great way to start to connect with people.  From there, one can always set up phone conversations to catch up.  And not being able to think of people is a weak excuse … we all know dozens and dozens of people.

Consistency is key and excuses can only continue to put up road blocks to his job search.   He has all the attributes necessary to succeed.  He just has to decide to move forward.  It’s that simple!

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