Welcome to SixFigureStart®

Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

Generation Y Job Prospects Dim

Interesting article by Jina Moore in Christian Science Monitor with a quote from me about how even retail/ service jobs are more competitive:


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Getting Started In Consulting

For those jobseekers who are thinking of consulting on the side or maybe instead of returning to full-time employee status, CBS Moneywatch BNET.com has put together a good article including a quote from me) on the basics of getting started in consulting:


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Free Teleclass Recording on Raising Financially Responsible Children

SixFigureStart’s interview with Karen Rancourt, parenting expert, PhD and author, is now available on playback:

Dial – (641) 715-3468
Enter Access Code – 151675#

The 50-minute recording will be available till June 4, 2009.  Karen also refers to some material that she is making available on her website:  http://www.rancourtparenting.com/.  See her Articles and 5-28 teleclass tabs.

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College students: How to Write a Killer Resume

Resumes represent you when you are not there, so it’s a marketing piece that has to be exceptional and it has to get a recruiter’s attention.  Here are the top 10 rules to follow when writing your resume:

No errors:  I know this is an elementary and boring point, but one misplaced comma, one “meet” spelled like “meat”, one “EXPERIENCE” spelled “EXPERINCE” and you are OUT!  I recently saw this mistake on a resume of a woman who earned over $500K a year so everyone needs to pay attention here.  This, especially now when there are more candidates than jobs … recruiters are almost begging candidates to give them a reason to discard a resume …. so don’t give them an easy out.

Tenses must be appropriate:  A current position should be written in the current tense, and a past position should be written in the past tense.  This seems simple enough but I’ve seen dozens of people get it wrong so be careful.

To list an “OBJECTIVE” or not list an “OBJECTIVE”.  That is the question!  the rule here is if you can be specific, include an objective.  If you can’t be specific, don’t include it:

  • “To join a business where I can expand my skills.”  Can you see the recruiter’s eyes rolling back as you read this?!  You could write….
  • “To join a top accounting firm, which will build upon my accounting, teamwork, and quantitative experience and allow me to significantly contribute to their bottom line.” 

Can you hear the difference?!  A recruiter certainly can.

GPA:  If it’s greater than 3.2 include it.  If it’s less than 3.2, don’t.   You should also feel comfortable to round up:  3.36 should be listed as a 3.4 GPA.  But a 3.21 is a 3.2.  Certain companies do ask for transcripts, so this is something you’ll not want to embellish! 

Majors and Minors:  Include them on your resume.  As a college recruiter, I was always interested in what majors/minors were chosen by candidates, because it allowed the candidate a chance to tell them what made them unique and different from other candidates. 

Work Experiences – quantify everything!  Make sure you include quantifiable accomplishments you’re your work experiences.  If you worked at the school library, your bullet could read: 

  • “Managed incoming and outgoing books on a daily basis.”  But it should read: 
  • “Managed the intake and outtake of approximately 1,000 books per day, together with a team of five other student workers.”  

Quantifying the information makes all the difference.  Plus, you included information about the team because NOTHING gets done in business with the effort of a team. If you want to go for the gold, it could read something like this:

  • “Managed the intake and outtake of approximately 1,000 books per day, together with a team of five other student workers.  Increased productivity by ensuring all books were scanning into our computer tracking system, and followed up on delinquent accounts, decreasing lost book accounts by 75%.” 

Please note:  whatever you include on your resume is fair game to discuss, so make sure what you put is true and that you can talk enthusiastically about it.

Volunteer Experiences:  Make sure you list them even if the experience was short.  If you chipped in and made a difference for others less fortunate than you, or if you took time out to clean a park or beach, include it in your resume.  Being concerned with your environment and your community makes a difference to recruiters.

Language Skills:  You’ve heard the old joke:  What do you call someone who speaks three languages:  tri-lingual.  What do you call someone who speaks two languages:  bi-lingual.  What do you call someone who speaks one language?  An American!  So if you speak other languages list it here.  Do not misrepresent yourself however, because if you say you speak fluent Greek and you don’t … your interviewer could surprise you and test you.  If you have some knowledge of a language – I would include it, but don’t indicate you are fluent if you are not.

“Interests” section:  Always list this on your resume.  Interviewers are human and when they have something in common, tend to connect with that individual.  If you love to travel, put it down.  Perhaps you want to get specific and say “Experienced European traveler” … that could open the interviewer up to asking about the countries you’ve been to and if they’ve been there as well, you’ll have a nice conversation because when people talk about their favorite trips, they are usually happen when doing so.  So those happy vibes could convert to a 2nd round interview!  And, remember, there are exceptional interviewers, terrible interviewers and everything in between.  Some of the interviewers who are less talented, zero in on something they are comfortable with, and that is usually the “Interests” section, so don’t hold back!

To thine own self be true:  Never put something on your resume that you have not done, or cannot discuss in detail.   It’s the most awkward of moments when a candidate is asked about something they wrote on their resume, that results in them having a “deer in the headlights” look.  Avoid this at all costs.

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How To Switch Careers In A Recession

See career change tips, including one from yours truly, in Chris Warren’s latest article for CBS Moneywatch BNET.com:


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Dan Schawbel Personal Branding Interview With Caroline Ceniza-Levine

Dan Schawbel is one of today’s top experts on Personal Branding.  See his May 22 interview with me (I talk about recruiters’ use of Google, branding for job search and career management, and more) and be sure to check out the rest of his blog for other great interviews and tips at:


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Making The Sector Switch: From Public To Non-Profit And Beyond

In a recent group coaching call I led, a caller asked about transitioning from the public sector to the private sector.

Read my advice to her in my latest post for CNBC.com Executive Careers:


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How to Show Employers That You Fit the Job

If flexibility, versatility and cross-training are all the rage these days, why do recruiters seem to hold so firmly to the belief that a candidate must “fit the profile” exactly?

Read my response in this week’s Ask A Recruiter column in The GlassHammer:


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Free Teleclass: Raising Your Children to be Financially Responsible Adults

Raising Your Children to be Financially Responsible Adults

With Ph.D.  and Author, Karen Rancourt

Thursday, May 28, 2009, 1 pm

Part of the SixFigureStart Guest Expert Series

  • How do you know if your children are financially responsible?
  • How do you know when to step back and let your children manage their own money (and make their own money mistakes)?
  • Should you give an allowance?  If so, how do you decide the parameters?
  • Should you contribute to living expenses after your child enters college?  What about when your child goes to graduate school?
  • Plus, e-mail your specific questions and we’ll answer them on the call.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine, co-founder of SixFigureStart, interviews parenting expert Karen Rancourt for this free coaching teleclass for parents of children, teenagers and young adults.

Karen L. Rancourt, Ph.D., is an educator, consultant and coach. Her experience as an educator includes: elementary school teacher and college professor, researcher for and developer of educational programs, and author. In addition to offering her program, Effective Parenting, A Program for Parents of Advantaged Children (www.RancourtParenting.com), Karen is an experienced management consultant specializing in organizational development. She has worked with executives in numerous financial institutions, including, JPMorgan Chase, TIAA-CREF, and Credit Suisse (www.managementconditioning.com).  Karen received her Ph.D. in human behavior and education from the University of Maryland, and she completed her undergraduate work in education and social sciences at Boston University. She is the author of three books and over a dozen articles. Her most recent article is “Affluent Children Are at Risk Because They Are Affluent? Huh?” (http://www.rancourtparenting.com/articles_6.html). Karen is a former adjunct associate professor, New York University, Social Sciences, Organizational Behavior and Communication program

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career expert, writer, speaker and co-founder of SixFigureStart, a career coaching firm helping Gen Y young professionals launch fulfilling and financially rewarding careers.  Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed University Relations for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others.  Caroline is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and a career columnist for CNBC.com, Conde Nast’s Portfolio.com, Vault.com, Wetfeet.com and TheGlassHammer.com. 

Please email info@sixfigurestart.com to reserve your space and get the call-in details.  If you can’t make the live call, email info@sixfigurestart.com to get on the distribution list for a playback of the teleclass.

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Should You Go To Graduate School

Should You Go To Graduate School for your job search or career change?  Lee Miller for the NJ Star Ledger looked into the age-old question of whether graduate school was a good way to retrain and/or acquire new skills.  Read some interesting points of view including one of mine in the article:


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