Welcome to SixFigureStart®

Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

How Long Do You Wait For The Dream Job

With job searches taking longer, there are more jobseekers bumping up against their severance deadline (or their own mental deadline that tells them they should have found a job by now).

A popular question that I hear often is how long you should hold out for that dream job before moving to plan B.

The answer is different for everyone.  

Read my advice on what to consider in my latest post for CNBC.com Executive Careers:


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How Do You Maintain Career Momentum?

A lot of jobseekers get caught up following one lead at a time.  Then, if that lead doesn’t work out, their job search starts from the very beginning all over again.  For employed jobseekers, this same phenomenon is present with people who focus solely on their current role without maintaining ties to other departments, to colleagues outside the company or to colleagues in different industries.  Then, if something happens to that current job, the once gainfully employed person is caught unawares.  In both cases, there is a loss of momentum that negatively impacts the job search and career.  Read my advice on how to maintain career momentum in my latest post for TheGlassHammer.com:


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Crazy Times Demand Crazy Thinking

When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.  Very often, that individual is crazy – Dave Barry

That quote makes me laugh out loud.  The cynical me finds it funny to think that the only person available to help in a hopeless situation is hopeless themselves.  But I’ve started liking this quote even more lately because of these times.  It is a bad job market, and I am a career coach.  I work with people day in and day out to keep them motivated on their job search or proactively managing their career despite seemingly unmanageable circumstances.  When I remind people that the real opportunity is in rocky times such as these, very often, my clients look at me like I’m crazy.  I have become the crazy person in Dave Barry’s quote.  But that’s okay with me because crazy times demand crazy thinking.

You want to start a business in the middle of a recession?  Of course you can!

You want to change careers from accounting to media?  The best time is now!

You want to ask for a raise and promotion while your industry descends into flames?  Let’s ask for even more.

These are all examples of what real clients are going through.  And while our conversations are much deeper than the short answer that I share above, the context is similar.  Yes, you can make scary moves in a scary economy if you are ready to commit and to do the work.  It would be nice to have been ready to go for it during a boom market, but sometimes you are not.  And I would bet on the person who is 100% committed to an audacious goal in the worst market than the person who is unsure about a lesser goal in the best market.  Emotional readiness trumps market conditions anytime.

I decided to finally leave corporate and pursue acting in the middle of a personal crisis.  I bought my first house when I was unemployed.  I made a big financial commitment at the same time I launched a new business.  These were some of the best decisions that I made, though even now as I write them I feel like I am describing a crazy person.  Why would I choose to make these big decisions during inopportune times?

Because emotional readiness trumps market conditions.  How you feel internally will dictate your success more than any external condition.  When you’re so sure what you want that you’re willing to work at whatever obstacles come after, then you are ready to go for it.  If it seems crazy to the outside world but sound to you, then you are onto something.  These are crazy times.  We may not have good external conditions for awhile, and we can’t control when things will get better.  So get to work on the internal conditions, and when they’re right, go crazy.

Filed under: life coaching, philosophy, , , , , , ,

SixFigureStart Speaking on Branding At Free Legal Diversity Career Fair On August 7

On Friday, August 7, Vault and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association are co-hosting a legal diversity career fair for law students and lateral associates. It’s free but you have to apply. I am speaking on a morning panel about Personal Branding but there are other activities at this 8:30 am – 3:30 pm event.


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Setting Online Boundaries in Your Job Search

One of my clients was recently invited by a recruiter to become a Friend on Facebook.  This client had hoped to keep her Facebook personal and use LinkedIn for professional contacts.  See my advice for how to set boundaries for your online networking in my latest post for CNBC.com Executive Careers:


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What Do You Do While You’re Waiting?

A lot of the job search is waiting:  drop your résumé and wait for the interview; attend the interview and wait for the decision; attend the second interview and wait for more interviews or the offer.  Many jobseekers ask how long to wait before checking in and how otherwise to maximize the waiting time.

Read my tips for handling all that job search waiting in my latest post on TheGlassHammer.com:


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When Can You Ask For Your Pay Cut Back?/ SixFigureStart on Forbes.com

Many companies are freezing salaries or even reducing pay.  See my advice on if and when you can negotiate for more money in Tara Weiss’ latest article for Forbes.com:


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The Job Search and a Bad Credit History

You can control almost every aspect of your job search.  We have a six step job search process that works for anyone who is committed to following each step.  During this or any process, there are bumps in the road that you must deal with effectively:  you leave on a bad note with your boss or your coworkers, you were downsized and then you had a health issue to deal with and sometimes you have bad credit. 

I was recently interviewed about what to do when a future employer conducts a background check which can include a credit review.   Some clients have declared bankruptcy and wonder how to deal with such issues.  I have a good friend who is a bankruptcy attorney (Kevin B. Zazzara, kzazz007@gmail.com) and he reminds people that two of our past presidents actually went bankrupt:  Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant and other famous people that include Walt Disney, Francis Ford Coppola and others.  So bad things do happen to good people … they just need to find their way out.  I hope you find these tips helpful!


Filed under: career coaching, life coaching, , ,

Beware of Rabbit Trails On The Job Search Path

My Tweet this morning was a link to a recent Seth Godin post.  Godin writes about marketing and his audience is typically entrepreneurs, but this post about the importance of going deep is relevant to a lot of jobseekers.  Many jobseekers don’t stay on their job search path long enough.  Rather, they go off on rabbit trails.

Targeting private sector but hear about a great opportunity with a non-profit?  Let’s go on that rabbit trail and see where it leads.  Of course, this means that you have just diluted your search focus and taken your attention off of what you are doing.

Sitting down to do company research but a job posting catches your eye?  Beware another rabbit trail.  Now, instead of learning about a company so you can make an intelligent and targeted pitch, you spend time on a job posting that may or may not be ideal for you and may not even be current (see my post on Phantom Job Postings). 

The typical rabbit trail distractions are changing your job search target too frequently and going after ad hoc postings and leads.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be flexible.  It just means that you should be choosy about where you put your attention so you can gain momentum in what you are doing, instead of starting and stopping lots of different and less impactful activities. 

One solution is to limit your perusal of job postings to a small percentage of your search time.  Another solution is to identify and stick to a list of companies to exhaustively target before moving on.  The solutions that I propose for my clients vary because it depends on what their rabbit trail distraction is and how they do their best work.  The best job search solutions are tailored to fit your skills and personality.  The best job searches are focused on the path you choose and not squandered on rabbit trails.

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Creativity and the Job Search

When I coach clients, I often times help them map out their major strengths and areas they are looking to develop, because these are top questions that are asked in an interview.

The pre-work is very important to the interview. I suggest individuals list their top 10 strengths, and in the column next to each strength, list an example of how they excel at this, and in another column quantify the example in some way, shape or form.

Creative problem-solving is a characteristic that is greatly valued by any company. Let’s face it: business is all about solving problems, and the more creative you can be, the more successful you will be. This applies to any discipline: marketing, finance, human resources, the law, operations, etc.

Here are some examples of creative problem-solving:
1. You are tasked with creating a technology-tracking system for new accounts. Your boss gives you a 2-month time frame and tells you that you are the lead project manager.
-A creative move could be to find someone else in the company who’s worked with the technology group and ask them to be an “advisor” to save time and money that they perhaps wasted because they didn’t know any better.
– Another creative move would be this – if you had a friend who worked at another company who had a similar program, perhaps they could share it with you … as long as it didn’t violate any confidentiality or privilege rules.

2. You are tasked with creating a new campus recruiting brochure at your company. You have to decide what “hot” colors are in.
-You could go to the closest Gap store and check out their color arrangements. Gap pours tons and tons of marketing dollars into the latest colors and this could appeal to your exact demographic.

3. Your manager asks you to significantly decrease the error rates on the opening of new accounts:
– A creative move could be to do some research on how errors are decreased, both on the web, and perhaps at Barnes & Nobles. There’s a book about everything!
– You could also do a survey of the new account-opening reps and ask for the last 100 issues with new accounts, and create a short but succinct error analysis.

During an interview, it’s important to highlight your creative moves and the results. For example, the new brochure gave you strong accolades from your new recruits, so note that. Your approach on new accounts decreased errors by 25%. And your new technology program came in under-budget and on time, and the users are raving about how easy it is to use and how helpful the info is.

Remember during your interview to identify these success stories and use them to “ease the pain” of the employers who are interviewing you. It’s always about what you can do for them, so be confident about your background and clear in your explanations…and quantify EVERYTHING!

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