Job Search Turnaround: A Real-Life Client Success Story

An attendee at a recent workshop sent this update about her job search turnaround:

 I wanted to thank you for sharing your insights on “Ace the Interview” webinar through Columbia’s Center for Career Education a few weeks ago. I used your insights immediately after that webinar, during a phone interview with a market research consulting firm, and was successful in getting a job offer thanks to what I learned in the webinar.

Before your webinar, although all of my advisors, professors and employers assured me that I would never have a problem finding a job, I had failed to get even an interview at consulting firms. Finally, the boutique firm I mentioned showed interest in me, and offered me an interview. Instead of feeling excited, I was nervous that my lack of interview experience would cause me to perform poorly.

After your webinar, I knew what I needed to practice. When the time came, I felt at ease during the interview because of the insights you provided. The most helpful tool was your “Antidote to Rambling” insights, which I used to formulate a coherent narrative for each of my projects and internships.

The good news is that this company liked me enough after two phone interviews and an in-person interview to offer me an associate consulting position with incredible opportunities for growth and development.

I could not have gotten this job without your webinar, Caroline!

Thank you. – A.S.

Even if you have not succeeded in past job search efforts, you can turn your situation around as this job seeker did. What worked?

  • She got help (in this case, a webinar).
  • She didn’t delay (“I used the insights immediately”).
  • She didn’t give up, continuing to apply even when she didn’t get interviews initially.
  • She practiced in a proactive way, applying specific techniques from the webinar (“I used [Antidote to Rambling insights] to formulate a coherent narrative for each of my projects and internships”).
  • She maintained her high performance across over time (“two phone interviews and an in-person interview”).

What will you do to turn your job search around?

When A Recruiter Calls, Part 2: Surviving The 10-Minute Phone Interview

This post on optimizing your next phone interview was originally published in my career column on and This is the unedited version:

I have written about how to maximize that unexpected call from a recruiter and put yourself in the best light, regardless of whether or not you’re actively looking. However, sometimes you are expecting the call. Phone interviews are increasingly more common as a first step in the hiring process because they’re more expedient for both candidate and employer. As a recruiter, I would often ask for a brief call to discuss the resume, and from that short interaction then determine who I would invite for a longer, in-person interview. Phone interviews therefore are your first hurdle to overcome to become a contender for that next job. Here are 4 ways to maximize your next phone interview:

You only have 20% of your power – choose wisely

In a live interview, you have your presence, your hand gestures, your smile, eye contact and all those non-verbal cues to establish credibility and develop rapport. Communication is 80% or more about these non-verbals. But on a phone call, all of this is taken away, and you are left with the words you choose, the pace you speak, the inflections you give, and the clarity of your articulation. It is that much more important that you focus on these verbal communication skills as you prepare for the interview.

Remember it’s a conversation – let the other person in.

In a live interview, you can see you need to wrap up your answer if the interviewer has lost interest and he eyes are glazing over, he glances at his watch, he leans forward to interrupt you and move on. In a phone interview, you won’t get any such clues. You will need to stop talking in order to ensure that your interviewer can get in a word and ask the next question. This ensures you’re covering everything the interviewer needs to move you to the next round.

You know this is coming – prepare for the obvious

Remember that the phone interview is about getting to the next interview. No one gets hired on the strength of the phone interview so you’re not trying to close the deal right away. You’re trying to establish that you are strong potential match for the job at hand. Therefore, plan what you will say based on how it matches to this job. When you give an overview of what you’re doing, highlight where your current skills and expertise overlap with the job requirements. When you talk about why you would consider leaving, mention things that this new job offers, thereby confirming your interest in this very job.

Don’t make this your first – do a practice run

Leave a message for yourself with an interview response – talk about yourself or explain why you’re interested in the job. Do you have good phone communication skills? Do you sound enthusiastic? Do you speak clearly? Do you have the right volume — not too loud, not too soft? Do you speak at a good pace? Are you concise? Don’t just wing a phone interview. Practice in advance.

Small Business Marketing Lessons From A Blog Post Gone Viral

As is good small business marketing practice, I repurpose my content. I have started reposting my older posts onto the new LinkedIn blogging platform. A few weeks in, the below post hit 90,000+ hits in a few days, doubling our website traffic in one day from what we normally see over one MONTH!

Doubling traffic in a day is an energizing lift, and it taught me a few things

Repurpose your content.

You don’t have to create from scratch. If you’re a service provider, see what you have used from the past that is evergreen. In the above example, this is a post from several years ago.

Repeat what works.

The post links to my one of my most watched video blogs. Apparently, it’s still drawing people. See what has worked in your former marketing copy, sales language, promotional efforts, networking outreach…and do more of that.

Track your results.

I know this post resonated because it got an order of magnitude more traffic than my typical post. The traffic is measurable so I have a sense of the impact. What can you measure in your business – % of outreach that leads to inquiries, % of inquiries that convert to sales?

Quantity does not equal quality.

While the uptick in traffic was great, I also got lots of spam comments and inquiries outside our target client base. The traffic is great for our brand but may not be as great for sales. It’s still early but volume alone isn’t sufficient.

I hope my experience gets you to think about how you can use more of what you already have. And don’t forget to track the outcomes!

Resume Tips To Stand Out In A Competitive Job Market

I was quoted on for resume tips to stand out in a competitive job market:

On The Job Hunt? Here’s How To Stand Out

…the most important section of the resume is the summary on top, said career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine of Six Figure Start. Include your expertise, role or function, and key accomplishments in the industry. For older job seekers the summary should also “show a body of work with progression, tangible results,and unique expertise,” Ceniza-Levine said….

“Your most recent experience deserves the most attention. Jobs that are more than 10 years old should be included so there are no gaps, but you don’t need more than one or two bullets,” says Ceniza-Levine. If you’ve worked in an industry for over a decade, categorize your roles — financial, operations, sales — and group various positions accordingly….

Ceniza-Levine also recommends including anchored text or hyperlinks that point the reader to additional information.

Here are 3 more ways to ensure your resume stands out:


Quantifying your results and responsibilities (budget, team) is key.

Begin your descriptions with an ACTIVE word

Participated, assisted, or contributed are passive verbs. Specify how you participated, who did you assist (and for what), and how you contributed.

Spotlight a unique HOOK

It could be the diversity of your industry experience. It could be your extensive travel or cross-cultural work. It could be a hobby that demonstrates commitment and achievement (a lot of my early employers were drawn to my studies at Juilliard even though I wasn’t applying to be a pianist!)










Your Career Questions Answered on Long-Term Unemployment, Promoting Yourself, Long-Distance Job Search, and Career Advancement

In this episode of the SixFigureStart Career Coaching Radio Show, I answered questions on finding a job after long-term unemployment, promoting yourself, moving from Europe to the US, and advancing from Director to VP:

Check Out Self Help Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with SixFigureStart on BlogTalkRadio

Robert: How can I land interviews (let alone secure a job offer) after a surrealistically long stretch of being unemployed?

Sandra: When you have been out of work due to a layoff for a long period of time how do you make yourself still look attractive to employers to get there attention instead of them being critical or judgmental

Tony: Am I being limited by my age and/or the salary level I reached at my last job?

Sangeet: I want to progress to next level. I have been working as a Director for Systems Engineering for approx 4.5 years, and I want to get to the VP role. How do I make changes to achieve this?

Denise: How do I market myself and not appear as a cheerleader for myself?

Edsel asks: How were you able to cope up physically, emotionally and mentally from all the transitions you had to go through prior to being an entrepreneur? Is advising on staffing strategies and alternatives covered in your coaching as well? Asking because I’d like to know what you think of remote staffing.

Arnaud: I am an executive MBA alumnus (2003) having lived and worked in the US for 8 years. I went back to my home country France in late 2003 to work for [2 banks] As I am writing this email to you, I am considering going back to the US with my family (US citizens) but I am not sure how to reposition myself for the US job market (my wife may actually get transferred by her employer to New York).

How to Energize a Stagnant Job Search

Yes, it may be an exciting time as it signals a new and fresh start, but looking for a new job is terribly hard work. Job vacancies are few and far between these days and the job market is flooded with potential employees who are all vying for the same positions. Many people come to a point in their search where it becomes stagnant and it’s at this point that many give up hope on finding a job that’s suitable for them.

Does this sound familiar to you? Are you stuck in a job search rut and don’t know what to do next? If so, it may be time to inject a dose of energy into your hunt by improving and refining your job searching technique.

Job recruitment resources are everywhere, and it’s vital that you find and explore all of the options, both online and offline, that are available to you. Discovering new ways and improving the way you look for jobs could result in you securing your dream position.

Let’s take a look at just some of the ways that you can improve your job searches.

Know your Recruitment Resources

Recruitment resources are plentiful and should be utilized wisely. Make a list of the different agencies and online job portals that you feel may benefit your search the most. You don’t want to blast your CV off aimlessly in the hope that something will stick; you need to take the time to research positions that you would be genuinely interested in filling and apply for those. Make sure your CV is up to standard and current with listings of any training or IT Courses Online that you may have recently completed.

Refine your Job Searches

Registering with a reputable job portal is only the first phase in the process to safeguarding a job. Refining your job search is the next, very important, step to take. Quick job searches are ideal when looking for broad search results, but refining that search will present you with uniquely filtered, advanced vacancies that will help you to pinpoint positions that are more suited to you.

Utilize Job Alerts

In order to get the most out of job portals, it’s always a good idea to utilize the job alerts or notification functionality. What this means is that you’ll receive a notification through email or other form of communication to inform you of vacant positions that have become available. If you follow the advice above and refine your job search, you can cut out the vacancies that would not be of interest to you and only receive alerts on positions that match your job criteria. You need to be as prompt as possible when it comes to relevant employment opportunities and utilizing the job alerts function will allow you to do just that.

Securing your perfect job may seem like an impossible task, but it can be viable if you simply improve the way you are searching for it. There are always new and innovative ways of improving job searches, and it’s your duty to explore and utilize them to their full potential.

You can start by knowing the recruitment resources that are available to you, refining your job searches and making use of the job alerts functionality. Energizing your stagnant job search might just be your key to employment success.


Author Byline: Carey is an eLearning Author who enjoys sharing her knowledge of eLearning Concepts, eLearning Software and eLearning Resources by writing informative articles. In her spare time she enjoys reading and long country walks with her dog Bounty.

Pros And Cons Of Leaving A Job Early

In a recent Forbes Leadership post, I covered a Payscale/ Millennial Branding survey which looked at workplace trends for Generation Y, including a finding that Generation Y favors leaving a job early:

One of the survey results showed that Generation Y do not think they should stay at an employer for more than a year. The hiring managers I have worked with as a recruiter see a two-year stint as a minimum, so one year on the job is definitely leaving a job early. In fact, if you have a series of even two-year stints that’s seen as a stunted career. So who’s right?

There are pros and cons to leaving a job early

You build a diverse body of work

If you have shorter tenures, you will work at more places, which does contribute diversity in roles, companies and industries. This is a good thing in today’s ever-changing market.

You diversify your income stream

If you work at more places, you build a vast network and are less encumbered if any one employer goes down. This is a great thing in today’s volatile economy.

You learn to navigate new environments

There is great skill in being able to adapt to a new environment quickly and make a contribution right away. If you work short stints at many places you have more opportunities to hone this adaptability skill.

You do not demonstrate staying power

However, leaving after a year begs the question about why you didn’t stay. Is it that you wouldn’t or that you could not? Many hiring managers believe that if you’re so good, your current employer will find ways to make you stay.

You develop no track record of long-term results

A big reason to stay is to show an impact where you are. When you stay at a job for just a year more or less, how much impact can you show? It is hard to even meet a wide swath of stakeholders, much less develop the relationships that enable you to influence people and change behavior. Without tangible results, your work appears superficial and unimportant.

You have no track record across business conditions

If you are able to make an impact early in your first year, that’s a great achievement, but arguably still incomplete. Your results may be due to temporary market conditions luckily in your favor. When you stay at a job for just a year more or less, you do not show results across market ups and downs.

There are pros and cons to leaving a job early. What you prioritize depends on where you are in your career and the specific job at hand. What makes sense for one job may not make sense when considered over the arc of your career.


Have you ever left a job after just a year? Why did you do it? Would you make the same decision again?