Welcome to SixFigureStart®

Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

SixFigureStart Quoted On Landing Your First Job

Caroline Ceniza-Levine, co-founder of career coaching firm SixFigureStart notes that recent graduates need to “brand themselves for the specific industry and functional area they are targeting.” To compete with more experienced candidates, she adds, it is important to go beyond simply “promising to work hard and learn quickly. They need to make employers feel they’ve already done the job and will hit the ground running.”

See the rest of the tips for new entrants to the job market in Lee Miller’s article for the NJ Star Ledger:

http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2010/04/landing_your_first_job_takes_p.html

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SixFigureStart Quoted RE: Helicopter Parents

See my advice on how parents can support the Gen Y job search in a good way in Jaime Leick’s article “Black Hawk Down: Parents Help or Hinder the Job Search:”

http://www.lifemeetswork.com/pages/template3.asp?pageID=251

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SixFigureStart Quoted In The Dallas Morning News

With 7.3 million jobs lost from December 2007 to October 2009, everyone “starts competing down the line,” says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, owner of SixFigureStart, a career-counseling service. “If you have to look for people, why not look for the unsolicited, more experienced people who are coming in droves?” They take the entry-level jobs. That means people who would normally seek entry-level jobs compete just to find “survival jobs.”

Read more about the effect of this tough market on Generation Y in Laura Vanderkam’s piece:  Why recession won’t mean lost generation

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/viewpoints/stories/DN-vanderkam_28edi.State.Edition1.2a38e2b.html

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SixFigureStart in The Roanoke Times: Catch 22: Need experience to get experience? Here’s how to solve the age-old career conundrum

“In bad economies, employers can be choosy so they can afford to be pickier,” says Caroline Ceniza, a partner at the New York City career and consulting firm SixFigureStart. “I have clients who have very good general experience who lose out because they don’t have experience in that specific sector.” Entry-level positions in sought-after industries such as media, financial services, consulting and advertising and for companies with well-known names often require experience. “Bigger brand names can be more selective than the local mom-and-pop or even a mid-sized company,” Ceniza says. “Size and market cachet is also a factor.”

Read more of my advice and other great tips for new graduates in Melanie Wanzek’s article, Catch 22:  Need experience to get experience? Here’s how to solve the age-old career conundrum

http://www.roanoke.com/job/jobSearch/jobHuntTips/articles/wb/227615

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Enhanced Brazen Careerist Is Valuable Destination For Generation Y

Brazen Careerist (they’re on our blog roll) has relaunched their site with a host of new features, including more ability to customize and share your ideas.   If you are a Gen Y/ Millenial or communicate with that space, check out the site.   I host the Ask A Coach group and find the discussion to be engaging, inspiring and friendly.

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Go to Grad School or Not Go to Grad School … That is the Question

I coach a lot of summer interns and recent grads on how to find a job and so many of them want to just opt out of their job search completely by going to grad school.  Some can afford to do so and others cannot.  Here is what I all of them, regardless of their resources:

1. Unless you know exactly what you want out of grad school, do not go.   You don’t grow as an individual or as a professional without having work experiences that give you clear indications of what you like and do not like.  For example, if you work in business doing mostly grunt work, perhaps you’ve always gravitated towards marketing.  In fact, in several of your past responsibilities, your comments and ideas were well noted and/or incorporated into a magazine cover design, or a graphic for a news program.  If you weren’t doing the grunt work, perhaps you wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to make a comment/suggestion and you would have never known that you love marketing.

2. Degrees follow you wherever you go.  So having a graduate degree in marketing, when marketing turns out not to be of interest, seems more than silly.  More importantly, a recruiter will not see a logical flow to your activities and interests….red flag!  Even if you don’t want to report the degree, you will have to explain why there was such a time gap in your resume…another red flag!  Be focused, targeted and tenacious and it will help you land somewhere.

3. If you are a recent grad, or a summer intern, you are mostly likely from Generation Y.  Harness the strength of your generation and get through this tough time.  Your strengths include: a) teamwork – get a group of job seekers together every Tuesday for coffee and help each other, b) technology – social media sites are landing so many jobs these days, c) networking – half of the jobs aren’t even posted, so build your network and keep it going until you land something.

For some, grad school is absolutely the right choice.  But you have to have a clear WHY if you are going to expend the time, energy and resources necessary to attend and succeed.  Don’t “go the easy route” and think that you can just sail through this tough job climate.  That which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!

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Book Review: Dan Schawbel’s Me 2.0

The subtitle to Dan Schawbel’s Me 2.0 is Build A Powerful Brand To Achieve Career Success.  I love it when an author puts his money where his mouth is.  Schawbel has firsthand built himself a powerful brand.  His Personal Branding blog is syndicated in leading publications.  His own career is based around branding.  But the most telling proof for me was well before I even read the book:  about a year ago I was at a Meetup with a group of Gen Y Brazen Careerist bloggers, and Dan Schawbel was mentioned by several.  He is on the mind of his target audience.  That’s powerful branding.

After reading this book, I can see why.  Forget the stereotypes of Gen Y not wanting to do the hard work and wanting too much too soon.  Schawbel is Gen Y but definitely does the heavy lifting on this book.  Me 2.0 is comprehensive, well-structured, and full of practical strategies and tips for how to brand yourself offline and online.  Not just for Gen Y, I found myself bookmarking several pages, especially on the blogging tips (thank goodness for Gen Y’s facility with technology!). 

It is clearly written for Gen Y, so a great resource for the teenagers and recent graduates in your circle.  Experienced professionals may find the early chapters too basic (I myself loved reading about Schawbel’s career path).  But the later chapters on communicating and maintaining your brand are a must-read for everyone.

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Success Story: One Client’s Lessons From Her Journey To A New Job

The one thing that I learned while job searching is persistence. Always believe that there is something out there for you, because you will find it. Secondly, you can’t be afraid to interview at anywhere, even if it leads to nothing! I learned something at each interview about my responses and what interviewers were looking for.

The company that I took a job with, isn’t necessarily a new company, but they are rebuilding their company, however, I took a huge risk to leave my job in NYC. My lifestyle has drastically changed, I can sleep in past 6am, and be home no later than 6pm. My new job is 3.5 miles from my house! There are endless possibilities for me now, and I can’t wait to experience them all!

Thanks for everything!

Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, class of 2008, Fashion Industry

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SixFigureStart Talks About Intergenerational Differences For PCTV

See Donna Scimia, producer of Taming the Cubicle Jungle, interview Caroline Ceniza-Levine about the challenges and opportunities for companies with four generations in the workplace:

http://www.pctv76.org/show.php?sid=10

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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:

http://features.csmonitor.com/economyrebuild/2009/05/28/us-grads-job-expectations-on-hold/#comment-24859

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