Welcome to SixFigureStart®

Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

A Parent’s Role in Their Child’s Job Search

Every parent wants their child succeed – especially in the job search.  There are helicopter parents whose stop at nothing to demand their child’s success, and then there are healthy, helpful behaviors that lead to success created by the child themselves, fostering maturity and growth.    Parents….read on!http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/feb/27/in-the-internship-hunt-be-a-guide-not-a-workhorse/

Filed under: career coaching, life coaching, philosophy

How Taking Vacations Help Your Career

Since it’s a blizzard outside today (in NYC anyway) what better time to think about taking a vacation?!  Yet many people think that they should skip taking one, especially in this bad economy, because it will prove them indispensible to their boss and to their company.  I believe the opposite to be true.

I was recently interviewed by Forbes.com on whether or not employees should take vacation time when times are tough.  Instead of missing out on much needed R&R that can re-energize your creative juices and give you the rest you need to outperform your competitors, focus every day on being the very best employee possible when you are working.  Every piece of work and every interaction with a client should be top notch, complete and without error.  Check your numbers twice or three times, cover all angles, uncover any danger zones, and think of every alternative.  Your focus should be on improving your company’s bottom line and making sure your boss achieves his/her goals.  Now that is exactly they type of thing that will make you indispensible!  

Read this article, and afterwards, plan a warm & sunny vacation!  http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/12/vacation-job-relaxation-leadership-careers-employees.html

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

Top 10 Ways to Succeed in Business

I started to write this piece about career advice to Gen Y’ers … then realized it’s truly career advice to all. Follow this and good things are bound to happen!

1. Quality preempts quantity, at all times: Never hand in any report that hasn’t been reviewed for accuracy two or three times over. Ask a coworker to review with care. Spell check everything. Proof everything yourself because spell check doesn’t catch everything.

2. Create a powerful personal brand: be known for the person who puts in 150%, follows up when they say they will, and who produces quality work. Let your reputation precede you and everyone will want to work for you.

3. Network, network and network: network with your peers, with folks in other departments, join cross-business taskforces, with people that do your function at other companies (you meet these folks by attending conferences). Be the person who knows the most amount of people and make connections amongst them. You’ll be seen as a person of quality and “in the know”.

4. Learn something every day: we come to work to make each other smarter. There are plenty of people who can teach you something – people that are more senior, more junior or on your level. Be open to those opportunities and give credit where credit is due.

5. Lend a helping hand whenever you can: people remember others that help them along the way. Look for opportunities to do so.

6. Have an updated resume at all times: you tend to forget some of your quantifiable accomplishments and updating your resume every 3 months ensures you capture the very best projects you’ve worked on … and should a position present itself outside of the company, you can interview without hesitation and without rushing to put together a powerful resume. It also makes you feel more confident and professional.

7. Lead whatever initiatives you can: United Way Campaigns, Corporate Responsibility Taskforces, Softball team organizers … this allows you to get to know a lot of folks and putting on quality initiatives are always a good way to shine.

8. Find a mentor or a few mentors: mentors can help you navigate a very rocky landscape and having their input could make all the difference in the choices/decisions you make. They also watch out for you when you aren’t around, putting in good words for you when they are needed the most – like in a roundtable talent discussion

9. Ask your boss for feedback: it shows you are mature and willing to learn. Never get defensive, and LISTEN carefully to what is said. Work to improve in a passionate way, take advantage of whatever internal trainings are offered.

10. Enjoy your day: we are at work for 8 – 10 hours and sometimes more. Enjoy your day. Get along with people around you. Don’t take things personally. Ten hours is a long time to spend not liking other individuals … look for ways to like almost everyone you can. It takes a lot less energy than disliking them!

Filed under: career coaching, philosophy, , , , ,

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, , , , , , ,

It’s Not Business; It’s Personal

There is a saying, “It’s not personal, just business,” which implies that you can somehow remain removed from the emotion of a business outcome.

However, when thinking about your job search, it is better not to be removed but to be invested very, very emotionally.

Read the rest of my advice on my recent post for CNBC.com Executive Careers at:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/31830362/site/14081545

Filed under: career coaching, philosophy, resource recommendation, , , , , ,

Hear SixFigureStart Interviewed On Her Startup Radio Show For Women Entrepreneurs

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/launchnotes/2009/02/20/caroline-ceniza-levine-six-figure-start

www.herstartup.com is a great resource for women entrepreneurs.  All throughout February, Her Startup, founded by Khrys Vaughan,  is featuring women of color entrepreneurs on their BlogTalkRadio interviews.

Filed under: career coaching, life coaching, philosophy, resource recommendation, , , , , , ,

Stop and Hear the Music

Looking for a job is not an easy task.  It requires a great amount of planning, followed by a great amount of effort.

 

But instead of writing about that planning and effort, I’m writing to remind you to enjoy life along the way.  Here is a shortened version of a story I read this morning:

A man sat at a Metro station in Washington, D.C. and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning.  He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station on their way to work.

 

Barely anyone noticed him at all.  The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy!  His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist.  This action was repeated by several other children.  All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

 

In the 45 minutes he played, only 6 stopped and stayed a bit.  About 20 gave him money but continued to walk.  He collected $32 in total.  When he finished playing, no one noticed and no one applauded.

 

The violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world.  He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

 

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell, sold out a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

 

This is a real story.  Joshua Bell playing incognito in the Metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.

 

In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour do we perceive beauty?  Do we stop to appreciate it?  Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

 

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written.

 

How many other things are we missing? 

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

The Power of Staying Connected During a Job Search

The most successful college students get connected at school:  they join a student club or sports team, volunteer for a good cause, or get a job at school.   That connection keeps you going when things aren’t going your way.

The most successful job seekers do the same.  Those that are laid off need to immediately connect to a group or a coach or an outplacement effort of somekind or they risk becoming isolated.  Worse yet, they don’t have the vast resources that a group can share.  This is the reason why no country will every send one person into outerspace.  Better decisions are ALWAYS made with 2 or more people.  

So if you are in college – get connected.  When searching for internships – consult your buddies at school, your professors, and of course, your career services group.

And if you’ve been laid off – get connected.  When searching for a job – form a “mastermind group” that meets once a week for coffee – to share the information they’ve found along the way. 

New resources are popping up every day.  I just networked with the founder of www.greatplacejobs.  This new website (just formed this past September) lists jobs at the very best companies that are still hiring in this tough economy.  There is a small fee to belong, but I searched their database yesterday and was impressed!

So whatever your situation, search for or create a mastermind group of people going through exactly what you are going through.  You’ll be surprised, and pleased with the results!

Connie Thanasoulis

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

‘Tis the Season to Be Your Own Best Friend!

When conducting a job search, I’ve found that many individuals are their own worst enemy.  They beat themselves up about things that happened in the past and they tend to make sarcastic comments about themselves.

But this is the worst possible time to treat yourself this way.  During a job search, you MUST remain positive, at all times.  You must create a plan and work that plan, which will only make you feel better about the entire process.  Here are some tips on how to do just that.

1 – Make sure you read very positive things.  Dr. Wayne Dyer is an exceptional writer and motivator and makes you appreciate your individual make-up.  Any book of his will no doubt pick you up!

2 – Listen to positive music – no sads songs here Elton!  Anything upbeat will do because it’s a proven fact that music makes everyone feel better.

3 – Treat youself to something you really want.  When you are not employed, you don’t want to spend a tremendous amount of money, but if you want something – buy it!  You’ve always worked hard and you will get over this period of not being employed or not having the job of your dreams – so treat yourself (once in a while!)

4 – Have faith that things will work out.  I know it’s easy to say, but we all know that positive thoughts will beget positive outcomes.  I think we can all agree that negative thoughts drag the entire room down to dust level.  Act like you are having a good time … smile when you don’t want to and you can’t help but feel better.

Enjoy the holidays!  We all have a lot to be greatful for.  We may not have the job of our dreams right now, but hopefully you have your health, your family and friends, and maybe an adorable cat or dog that instantly makes you feel accepted and loved.  I know that 2009 will bring you very good things!

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

In time for the holidays, my CNBC piece on the power of gratitude

http://www.cnbc.com/id/27821812/site/14081545

Yes, gratitude sounds good, but as my above article in CNBC.com’s Executive Careers mentions, there is actually a very practical reason to adopt gratitude as regular practice.  Optimism stands out in the best way in down markets.

Filed under: philosophy, resource recommendation, , , , ,

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