Welcome to SixFigureStart®

Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

Interesting Money magazine article about entrepreneur’s journey from CEO to teacher


Do you have a passion so strong?

Are you willing to start at the bottom as Gary Buslik did when he went from CEO to TA?

Have you run the numbers to make the finances work?

Do we pay our teachers so little that you need to make high six-figures and squirrel away millions before you can afford to teach?


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SixFigureStart Quoted On How The Unemployed Can Stay Competitive

“The reason why market competition gets even worse for the unemployed at the beginning of a market recovery is because all the unhappy employed people finally get the courage to jump in, and recruiters will pick the employed over the unemployed,” said Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a career expert; writer; speaker; and co-founder of SixFigureStart, a career-coaching firm.

To compete, Ceniza-Levine said, the unemployed need to match the advantages of their employed counterparts, including an air of confidence as well as current knowledge of top competitors and sector trends. If an unemployed person can demonstrate these attributes, she said, “they will appear as valuable as an employed person and help get over that hump that favors the employed candidates.”

Read the rest of Debra Donston-Miller’s article for The Ladders, “Out of Work, Not Out of the Running:”


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How to Pitch Yourself in 20 Seconds!

You’ve heard the saying “a man is only as good as his tools” and your pitch is a tool you will use time and time again in your job search.  You’ll use it:

  • As an introduction during networking events (mostly business, but some personal as well);
  • As the first response to a favorite interview question:  “tell me about yourself”;
  • An intro when you first speak on the phone with someone.

Because your networking pitch can “grab” someone’s attention and really make that strong first impression,  make sure you do the following:

  1. type it out until it’s exactly what you want to say in the words you want to use;
  2. make sure your pitch proves how you can “ease the pain” of your employer;
  3. time yourself and ensure you can say it in about 20 seconds;
  4. practice it about 20 – 30 times before saying it to your dream employer.  You should be so well rehearsed that someone can shake you out of a dead sleep at 3:00 AM and you’ll still say it flawlessly!

Read more tips about how to fine tune this very critical skill.  It’s well worth your time and effort!


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Gratitude As A Career Management Tool

Here’s why gratitude works not just around the holiday table but for your career as well:

Gratitude puts you in a spirit of plenty – of having, instead of lacking.  This leads to confidence, energy and a position of strength that is attractive to the people around you, whether it’s prospective employers or senior management looking for whom to tap for leadership.

Gratitude focuses you on what is working in your life.  Similarly, for good career management and job search, you want to focus on what is working and repeat what works and expand this to other areas.  You don’t want to spend all of your energy troubleshooting problems.  Of course you need to pay attention and fix any strategies or behaviors that aren’t getting the results you desire.  But more importantly focus on what works well and do more.

Gratitude provides the foundation from which you can take risks.  Once you realize all the great things you have accomplished and the strengths that you do have, you have confidence, you have patterns to follow, and you have a base off of which you can try new things.  You can afford to be bold – you’ve achieved so much already.  In this way, gratitude coats you in Teflon, and problems roll off of you more easily.  Try a gratitude journal for a few days or weeks if you can, and see the benefits of gratitude as a career management tool.

This article may be reposted as long as this byline is included in its entirety:  Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career expert, writer, speaker and co-founder of SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com), a career coaching firm comprised of former Fortune 500 recruiters.  Caroline is a co-author (along with Donald Trump, Jack Canfield and others) of the upcoming “How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times” due out March 2010; Bascom Hill Books.  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 also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs, a life coach (www.thinkasinc.com) and a columnist for CNBC.com, Conde Nast’s Portfolio.com, Vault.com, Wetfeet.com and TheGlassHammer.com.

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Top 10 Things to do When You Aren’t Getting That Job

When you are in the midst of a job search I recommend that you troubleshoot your search on a consistent basis.  After each interview, journal about what went well and what you could have done better.  Thing about creative ways to strengthen each move in the process so that you become an exceptional job search candidate.  It’s in the constant fine-tunning that you will find your job. 

For more reading on exactly how to troubleshoot your job search and constantly fine tune, click on this link to read about a recent interview I conducted on just this topic.


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Before You Get Your New Job, “Play the Part!”

Here is a guest blog from a fellow coach – Rose Manco from Envision Possibilities.   Sometimes Life Coaches and Career Coaches overlap because in order to conduct a proactive job search, you have to have the right attitude and the right mental state.  Rose and I both volunteer at an Employment Group at St. Clare’s Church in Staten Island, and in this piece she outlines several helpful strategies when looking for a job: 

I was watching Neil Cavuto on TV the other night when he began to tell the story about a man called Al whom he would see on the train every morning on his daily commute to work. By chance, one morning Neil and Al got to talking and it was then that Neil learned Al had lost his job months before. Neil was surprised to hear this because he would see him every day, briefcase in hand.

Al explained he felt it was important that regardless of the circumstance he keep to his routine instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for himself. As a matter of fact, his family wasn’t even aware he had lost his job. Where once Al carried important documents in his briefcase, he now carried lunch and a newspaper to sustain him as he pounded the pavement looking for work.

Neil was so impressed with Al’s positive attitude and determination he gave him the name of someone whom he thought would be able to help him find a job, which in the end, he did. In Neil Cavuto’s words, “Al played the part until he got the part”.

I was recently invited to be a guest speaker to a group of individuals who lost their jobs and needed a bit of encouragement and life strategy tools to help them while they continued with the grueling process of searching for a job.

A few days later, a gentleman in the group who was feeling discouraged and despondent about the possibility of him ever finding a job at his age, called me to “pick my brain” to see what else he could do. I suggested that one of the best ways for him to keep motivated when it seems as if all doors are being slammed in his face is to share and volunteer his valuable professional skills with those who could use his expertise.

While it was important for him to continue with the important task of a job search, it was just and perhaps in his case even more important to find a venue where he could feel as if he is still a contributing member to society.

I recommended an organization for him to contact who always need seasoned, talented business savvy volunteers. When at first I made this suggestion, he wasn’t too keen on the idea that he wouldn’t get paid but I helped him to realize that he needs to see this differently. One, he could feel valuable while utilizing his skills and helping others, two, he is expanding his network and broadening his exposure to small business owners and entrepreneurs who would have never known about him if he only stayed the traditional job search route. He began to see the possibilities and felt a bit more hopeful which in his case was crucial.

I heard on the radio the story of a woman who until recently had been unemployed for six months. One day as she was driving in her car, she noticed all the foreclosure signs and came to the realization that these homes and former business sites needed to be cleaned and spruced up so they could be more appealing to potential buyers. She approached the Banks with a business proposition and is now earning a comfortable living with her newly formed cleaning service.

Opportunities abound us everywhere but first we need to show up for the part and one of the ways we can do this is by keeping our minds (and eyes and ears open). On those days when life seems to be keeping you stuck, remind yourself to continue to play the part even when you don’t feel like it because you never know where the next opportunity will come from.

Rose Manco, CTACC

Personal Development & Transitions Coach



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Rise to Any Challenge, and Appreciate and Learn Things Along the Way

On April 7th, I had an emergency appendectomy. I considered myself lucky that my appendix didn’t burst before it was removed. Just 3 days later, I was driving to my friend’s house when a woman blacked out behind the wheel, crossed over three lanes & drove right into me. I considered myself lucky that I only had a fractured wrist, that the other driver didn’t have a scratch, and that the only big casualties were my car and the tree that I smashed into.

The bottom line: both incidences could have been a nightmare and I appreciated that they weren’t worse.

Being out of work is stressful, frustrating, annoying, and inconvenient – and a hundred other adjectives! And to make it worse, while you are networking and interviewing, you have to “act” like it’s a lot better than it really is because if you aren’t positive, everyone will run from you … so it’s absolutely necessary that you remain positive.

But what are you learning and what are you appreciating along the way? What is this struggle teaching you? Only you can answer this.

Perhaps things came very easy to you, and until now, and this is the first time you are in a battle for something important. Learn from that struggle and focus on what needs to be done. Appreciate when things go well and enjoy the positive things that happen during your day.

If you are a more experienced professional who is out of work, what are you learning? Are you learning to network like never before? Are your follow up skills finally what they should have been before you were unemployed?

Look for the positive lessons you are learning and you will grow and become a stronger person. That old saying “That which doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger!” is true in a lot of ways. When we are tested and stretched we grow and become stronger.

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Resume & Interview Tips to Get You That Job!

If you are sending your resume in and not getting called in for interviews … troubleshoot the problem … there must be something wrong with your resume.

If you are getting interviewers but not making it to 2nd or final rounds … troubleshoot that problem… there must be something wrong with your interview skills.

I was recently quoted in Forbes.com about this very issue.  Read on & conquer!


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Troubleshooting Your Job Search

A recent Inc Magazine article by Joel Spolsky comparing running a business to getting good radio reception made me think about a similar point I often make with coaching clients about their job search:  you need to constantly refine your search.




What knobs are you turning on your search?  Spolsky makes the great analogy that price, location, employees, marketing, etc are the “knobs” of the start-up’s radio.   For a jobseeker, you have your pitch, your resume, your cover letters, your online profile, even down to the detail you provide on an individual project.  Are you looking at all the pieces of your job search package to see what is getting good reception on the market?  Are you fiddling around with these knobs on an ongoing basis to get better reception?


See the rest of my tips in my latest GlassHammer post:



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And the Oscar Goes to….

Slumdog Millionaire hit a chord around the world because it’s wasn’t about the money, or the trappings money can buy.  It’s about true love that never gives up.

Your job search is very important … without a doubt.  But don’t let it make you feel any less of a person because you don’t have the job you want.  Not having a job doesn’t define you.  

The Wresler didn’t win an award, but Mickey Rourke’s character touched many people through his struggle in, then out, then back into the ring.  

Your job search is going to have ups and downs.  Things are going to get hot, then cold, then hot again.  Since it’s a numbers game, have as many target companies as possible so you can keep your momentum up. 

I didn’t see The Reader with Kate Winslet, and am looking forward to it.  So pick one of the movies you haven’t seen and take a break from your work, which is your job search, and enjoy!

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