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Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Posts Tagged ‘SixFigureStart

What Recruiters Really Think About Resumes

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As a former executive recruiter, I skimmed resumes, preferring instead to find my candidates actively. I would see who had been published or quoted in the press. I would look for conference speakers or people active in professional associations. I would rely on word-of-mouth referrals, rather than unsolicited resumes. In other words, I would target candidates based on factors other than a resume, and once the candidate expressed interest, yes, I asked for a resume, but by then it was an afterthought.

Still, I know many jobseekers are really worried about their resume almost to the exclusion of the rest of their search. So, I asked recruiters who worked in diverse industries from non-profit to media, is this emphasis on the resume warranted?

Networking trumps passive resume submissions

Harry B. Weiner is a Partner at On-Ramps, an executive search firm that specializes in the social sector:

The resume is a marketing document that most people will spend less than two minutes reviewing (perhaps sad, but definitely true)….In general, you’ll be better off spending your energy on networking and industry/company research. The vast majority of people find their jobs through their networks, so by doubling-down on your networking, you may not even need a resume! For every 10 minutes you spend on your resume, you should spend an hour on LinkedIn.

Resumes are but one part of a comprehensive marketing campaign

Regina Angeles is CEO of Talent2050, an executive search firm that provides multicultural recruiting solutions for online and traditional media companies:

Candidates should invest time in building a robust online profile, especially on LinkedIn. Third-party and corporate recruiters continue to rely on LinkedIn as a sourcing and referencing tool. Make sure your profile contains keywords that will make you searchable.

Still resumes are important

Lesley Klein is a Managing Partner in Miller Klein Group, a search firm that specializes in HR and administrative support roles across all industries:

The resume is your first impression. It’s your marketing tool. It is essential to a successful job search process.

–Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine, SixFigureStart

Written by Phil Stott

September 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Five More Reasons Your Job Search May Not be Working

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A few weeks ago, I outlined 5 reasons your job search may not be working. Here are some additional items to consider as you troubleshoot your job search:

Are you specific in the details you share?

Remember to show, not tell. Give examples, so prospective employers know the scope and the scale of what you are talking about.

When I recruited, a lot of candidates would simply list in vague notions a generic laundry list of attributes — e.g., I learn quickly, I work hard. It was the rare candidate that gave a thorough example of exactly what the objective was, what was delivered, what happened as a result, and what s/he did specifically. The candidates with specific details give the best interviews.

Can you get inspired at will?

I recently gave a mock interview to someone who made little eye contact and had overall low energy. This wasn’t what I remembered from an earlier session, and he admitted that he had a rough week. We all have good and bad days, but you can’t just leave it to chance that a good day will occur when you have an interview. So come up with a process for how you can get inspired at will. Champion athletes have very specific routines when they prepare for game day and so do successful jobseekers.

Do you let doubts show? In later rounds of interviewing, I have seen candidates start focusing less on the interviews and more about whether they want the job. While, yes, you should be using your meetings to get information you need to make a good decision, there is no decision to be made yet.

Don’t second-guess why you are there — you definitely want that offer. You can always say no to the job, but don’t let doubt creep in too soon and give a signal to the prospective employer that you may not be interested.

Have you let things slide?

There is a lot of time between submitting a resume, rounds of interviews, and getting a decision. You need to stay front of mind with everyone you met. They are seeing other people and may forget about you. Don’t let things slide as you wait between stages – send key decision-makers a status update about you and reiterate your interest in continuing the discussions.

Do you have quantity, as well as quality?

You might do everything right, and the positions loses its funding or it goes to someone internal or a better candidate comes along. You need to have multiple leads to pursue at all time. Your job search will stall if you move from only one lead to another instead of pursuing multiple leads simultaneously. You need quantity in your search.

–Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine, SixFigureStart

5 Reasons Your Job Search May Not Be Working

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If you’ve been searching for several months and don’t have a new job to show for it, don’t get discouraged.

Get observant.

Look at what you have done to date because something is not working.

Here are some questions to guide you in troubleshooting your job search:

Are you positioning yourself appropriately?

Perhaps you have been going for jobs that are too junior or too senior. Maybe employers don’t clearly understand the scope and scale of your past roles. Check too if your experience as it is described is relevant to the jobs you are pursuing.

Is your marketing complete?

Some jobseekers overwork their resume but then don’t have an updated online profile. Most recruiters are using social media, especially LinkedIn. If you don’t have an online presence, your job search marketing is incomplete.

Are you spending too much time on recruiters and job postings?

Recruiters and job postings seem like a shortcut – you just troll the web and apply for what’s there, or you make a few calls to recruiters and let them do the heavy lifting. But, job postings are notoriously out of date, and recruiters work for the employers not for you. Most importantly, most jobs are filled via networking so if you rely on recruiters and job postings, you are missing out on most opportunities.

Do you have 3-4 key message points?

You need to cut to the chase in your cover letters, networking pitch and interview responses. People make up their mind quickly so be concise. Get the important information out early and cut out the rest.

Do you have a process to stay on track long-term?

Many jobseekers do a lot their first week, maybe the second but peter out. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The interview process takes time, and you need to continue your search across multiple fronts. So there is a lot to juggle, and you need a process, not just discipline, motivation, or hope that you will stay on track. Make sure you have specific routines for following up with your contacts, for organizing your search information, for preparing for interviews and meetings, and for staying refreshed.

–Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Six Figure Start

Job Search Tips For a Market Uptick

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I feel a market uptick. As a former recruiter, I still am involved in recruiter networks, and my colleagues are busy. Most telling of all, companies are looking for recruiters, indicating a commitment to hiring on an ongoing basis. So if you have been unemployed and discouraged about your search, or if you’re employed and have been scared to make a move, dust off your job search game face and be prepared to get on the market. Here are 3 strategies specific to job search when the market is just starting to turn upward:

Have a story for the downturn

Be able to talk about what you did if you were unemployed or employed but underutilized. Focus on achievements and measurable results, rather than whether the work was temporary or pro bono. Focus on being upbeat and positive about where you worked, even if the downturn forced you to take on 3 people’s jobs. The way you frame the past negative and difficult times will reflect how you handle adversity and come out on top (or not).

Be clear about where you go from here

The early market uptick favors people who can tap into the hidden job market, where employers are just deciding on new jobs but may not have the bandwidth to post them or launch a broad search. If you can be laser focused on what companies and departments you are targeting, you stand a better chance of networking your way into these companies and accessing those early jobs.

Help others help you

Your friends and family may hear about these hidden jobs, but will they know what you are looking for? And even if they do, will they know how to talk about your skills and experience in a way that positions you correctly for these jobs? If not, or if you’re not sure, then it’s time to remind your network about who you are and what you want. Remember to not assume that people are out looking for jobs for you. See my last CNBC post about When Is It Okay To Ask For A Job Lead! But definitely help those people who you’re sure would help you, be aware of what you’re looking for, how to talk about you, and how to be helpful.

–Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Six Figure Start.

Written by Phil Stott

July 6, 2010 at 8:54 am

In Case You Missed It: Identify Your Ideal Job Targets

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While you were eating a delicious ham sandwich (or salad for you vegetarians) and watching a hilarious YouTube video that ends like most YouTube videos, with someone landing awkwardly, you were missing out on some important career information presented by your friends at and SixFigureStart.   That’s the bad news.  The good news is that next week, you will have another chance to advance your job search with another life changing (am I being overdramatic?) webinar – this time, it’s for free.

But before we get into that, let’s discuss what you missed this week.  Caroline Ceniza-Levine, who presented How the Hiring Process Really Works last week, was once again on hand to help individuals identify their ideal job target.  It’s not as simple as you think.  According to Ms. Ceniza-Levine, simply saying that you want to work in the finance industry is not enough, considering how broad a field that is.  There are actually three important elements to choosing an ideal career topic – industry, function and geography.  So, in truth, while you may have a finance background, your fascination with the media industry and your desire to stay in New York filters your requirements, making your ideal job target a financial services position at a media company in New York City.

Your ideal job target does not have anything to do with the salary, the company culture and the stock options that are available.  Those are personally driven criteria that you can filter out after you have decided what you want to be when you grow up.  It’s the market driven decisions that matter, as recruiters come up with job postings that are easily searchable based on your job target.

So, why is this important?  According to Caroline, identifying your ideal target is the first step in a successful job search and directly impacts other steps, like the creation of a resume, the research you conduct on sites like or the networking opportunities you will seek out.  Caroline discusses how the job target directly impacts the other five steps in the job search and discusses several ways to come up with your job target, from creating a prototype based on the profiles of other successful business people to following a number of different industry trends.  Caroline details a number of different exercises which will bring job seekers closer to their goals and offers up a number of resources that will help in the process.

Caroline also answered questions, including:

– How long does it have to be before you have identified your career target?

– How do you schedule time for a job search when you are already employed and working 40, 50 or 60 hours a week?

– Is it possible to conduct simultaneous job searches for two different career targets?

– How do you deal with career changer (media to accounting, profit to non-profit)  interview without looking scattered?

There is a lot of information available in this webinar and for $27, it can still be downloaded by going to

And that brings us to next week, when you can ask any question of Vault’s career services experts and find out the secrets to the job search from those who have actually done the hiring.  The webinar, scheduled during your lunch break (YouTube can wait) on Friday, April 30, 2010, from 12-1 p.m., is free of charge.  What’s better than free?  Last time the seminar was free, job seekers learned the top 5 strengths needed for the interview; tips on references; the four things you need to get the job; information on salary negotiation and a special cheat trick you need to know for getting your resume to the next stage; and more.  To register, go to the same site at

There are jobs out there.  Don’t lose out.

Insider Job Search and Interview Tips from Top Recruiters

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While the national unemployment rate remains at 9.7%, career experts are noticing more activity of late with many companies looking to hire in anticipation of a prolonged recovery.  But in a difficult economy, these same companies are being extra selective as to who they let in the front door, and only those with excellent job search skills are getting hired.  To address the needs of job seekers, and SixFigureStart teamed up to offer a free webinar earlier today to provide resume writing, interview preparation, and other job search-related advice from Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio and Caroline Ceniza-Levine, former Fortune 500 recruiters who have led staffing groups at Citigroup, Warner-Lambert-Pfizer, Merrill Lynch and Time Inc.

Straight into the webinar, Caroline squashed the notion that there is a hostile relationship between recruiters and job seekers.  She assured the 1,163 webinar attendees that recruiters want applicants to get the job and informed listeners that they are 80% responsible for the outcome of the interview.  She added that most recruiters can tell within the first few minutes of an interview whether they would hire that person. That’s bad news if an applicant is a late starter or has a tendency to ramble for 15 minutes before hitting the real meat of what makes them a good prospect.

For those that do get past the initial stages, Connie also addressed the ego issue where applicants feel they are almost guaranteed to get the job once they get into the final round of interviews. She noted that if four people are considered perfect for the job, they are all on equal ground with clean slates heading into the decision-making rounds.

In between the first and final rounds, both Caroline and Connie expressed the need to maintain contact.  Caroline expressed shock at the questions of some guests who wondered if a thank you note is necessary after an interview, a telling sign that even the obvious rules are not always obvious to all job seekers.  Caroline believes the thank you note is more than a simple showing of appreciation, but an opportunity to take the discussion from the interview to a whole new level.  In addition, she added that it is not only important to stay in contact with the recruiter, but with everyone involved in the decision-making process.  While applicants are 80% responsible for the outcome of an interview, nullifying the 20% that is out of your hands is just as important.  Anything an applicant can do in the “white-space” between one interview and the next can eliminate the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy some may have toward you.

On the networking front, Connie noted that it is always important to stay in close touch with notable contacts, from parents to former professors to a friend from the gym – whether it be a warm holiday greeting or a question about their plans for the summer; stay on their radar.

Here are more tips from the webinar:

Top 5 Needed Strengths for the Interview: Analytical Skills, Communication Skills, Teamwork, Integrity, Creative Problem Solving – applicants must be prepared to demonstrate examples of each.

Tips on References: Most applicants don’t think about references until asked.  They should be thought about well in advance – who will best be able to promote you in the eyes of those responsible for hiring you.  According to Caroline and Connie, it is ok to coach your references who may not know exactly what specific examples to address in order to help you get the job.

Four Things You Need To Get the Job: Networking Smarts, Excellent Research Skills, Strong Marketing Materials, Quality Follow-up Skills.

Volunteer vs. Temp Work: You do not have to say you volunteered at a company.  The substance of the work you performed is more important.

Salary Negotiation: According to Connie, everything is up for negotiation and she has never seen anyone withdraw a job if someone asked for more money.

Cheat Resume Trick: Put keywords at the bottom of your resume, such as investment banking or private equity, and then turn that type white, so they are invisible to the naked eye, but viewable by programs filtering out candidates based on keywords and advancing those who meet the criteria to the next level.

To hear more from the seminar, including additional advice, explanations and helpful anecdotes, download the webinar at

Vault is offering additional webinars.  Those who would like more pointed advice about the interview process should check out the following two offerings (note, these are not free webinars and cost $27 to participate):

Master the Interview, Part 1:  How to Ace Any Interview – Thursday, April 1st from 12-1pm EST

Get a recruiter’s perspective on how the process really works

  • What are the top 5 things you should do during an interview?
  • What are the biggest mistakes and how to avoid them?
  • What are the different types of interviews?
  • How can you ace any interview and get to the 2nd round?

Presenter:       Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio

Cost:      $27, includes live call and downloadable Mp3 recording

Click here to register

Master the Interview, Part 2:  12 Most Common Interview Questions Decoded Friday, April 9th from 12-1pm EST

What are the 12 most popular interview questions and what do employers really want to know when they ask them?

  • There is an endless amount of questions you might be asked.  What are the 3 types of questions and the best approach for each;
  • You know you need to give examples.  What are the 5 pieces of information that make up a comprehensive example;
  • Interviews are stressful!  What strategies and tips can help you be your best right at the start of the interview?

Presenter: Caroline Ceniza-Levine

Cost:      $27, includes live call and downloadable Mp3 recording

Click here to register

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