SixFigureStart® Coaching for Professional and Personal Success Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:18:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Women and Negotiation – ABC World News Tonight Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:18:09 +0000 I made an appearance on ABC World News Tonight for Equal Pay Day:

ABC US News | ABC Business News

Only a few points made it to the segment. What I really wanted to say is that even though, yes, there are challenges to salary negotiation for women, it’s important to remember that for any one woman (and I’m talking to you here!) you only have to worry about your negotiation, not changing the world. There are always things you can do to improve your negotiation skills!

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How To Negotiate Severance – Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:22:00 +0000 Connie comments on negotiating severance in Susan Adams’ latest piece for How To Negotiate Severance:

New York career coach Connie Thenasoulis-Cerrachio, who previously worked in human resources for Citigroup C +1.34%, Pfizer PFE +0.07% and Merrill Lynch, says if you’re working on a long-term project or you see a particular need in your department, it’s worth it to offer to complete your assignment and to take on another task. A colleague of hers was about to be let go but wound up filling in for someone more senior who was heading out on maternity leave. He proved himself so valuable that he wound up getting promoted twice.

Read the full article at How To Negotiate Severance.

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To Improve, Advance And Secure Your Career: Focus On Youtility – Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:00:44 +0000 This post originally appears in my Work In Progress blog for

No, the title is not a typo. It’s a reference to Jay Baer’s 2013 business marketing book, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype. Baer encourages businesses to focus on helping the customer with useful content, rather than selling the customer with overhyped marketing content. This Youtility concept is relevant to employees, as well. In today’s market, your career is a business that you own, and your employers, current and future, are your customers. Are you useful to them?

What is your content?

Ideally, a business has a website, blog, and social media strategy. What do you put out there for people to see about you? At the very least, you should have a LinkedIn profile. Is it updated? Is it complete? Do you share news about what you’re working on? Do you interact with your connections? You may not have a blog or website, but if you did, what would you include? Remember that your content can also include publications you contribute to or are sourced for. You might give a talk at a conference or internal presentation. Be proactive about sharing your expertise and experience.

How helpful is your content?

Baer writes that there are 2 ways for businesses to succeed: 1) be amazing; or 2) be useful. He proposes that being useful is more reliable and more valuable. Being useful is also a critical advantage for employees, but business conditions change and what is valuable in your skills, experience and expertise also changes. Do you know what is useful to your boss, your group, and your company? Do you know what your competitors need? Is your industry knowledge, skill set, and network up to date for what is valued right now?

Who reads your content?

One of my clients had a senior role at a brand-name company but dreamed of running a start-up. His expertise was valued, yes, but he was most well-known within the big brands and as someone who could navigate within the big-company environment. What he needed was to get known by a different set of employers – for start-ups, this means investors and founders, more than corporate HR and executive recruiters. So his career moves focused on getting published in leading-edge publications and speaking at entrepreneurial conferences. He got 3 offers within 2 months of reframing his content for a different set of readers.

Are you sharing your content with the employers you want to take notice? Is your content reflective of the value you offer? Do you have content to share? Baer makes a sound argument that businesses need to give customers a reason to patronize them, and producing useful, accessible content is an effective strategy to accomplish this. Likewise, you need to give employers a reason to hire you, keep you and promote you. Focus on being useful and make sure the right people know your value.

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Why Silicon Valley Trends Matter to the Rest of Us – Life Reimagined For Work Mon, 07 Apr 2014 12:53:05 +0000 In my career advice post for Life Reimagined For Work, I cover recent HR trends in Silicon Valley. Even if these latest changes don’t apply to you, they serve as useful checkpoints for career management. How would you fare in environments like Netflix, Zappos, or Yahoo?

Netflix offers unlimited vacation days. Zappos banished job titles. Yahoo implemented a no telecommuting policy. These big moves made by closely watched companies could ripple outward, so  it’s useful think about how you would perform under these rules. However, there’s a more immediate and practical benefit of such outlier ideas: rethinking how you work. Here is a checklist of questions that encourage you to think more broadly about your performance:

What would you do with unlimited vacation?

  • Would you take more or less?
  • Would you spend your vacation time differently (take longer, less frequent or shorter, more frequent trips) if you weren’t counting days?
  • Right now, do you take vacation when you want, at regular intervals to stay refreshed? Or do you cram it (or skip it) depending on your workplace rules?
  • If you’re in transition, what would you want in a vacation policy, or more broadly in time flexibility? What is your ideal time management structure?

Explore how you manage your free time and your work schedule, noting how deliberate and thoughtful your choices are.

How would you perform if you didn’t have a job title?

  • Would you know how you fit within your workplace structure?
  • Would your team support you if they didn’t report to you directly? Would you support your boss?
  • Right now, do you rely on title and hierarchy to influence outcomes, or are you able to motivate based on other factors (business rationale, likeability)?
  • If you’re in transition, what value do you bring? Rather than focus on the job title you seek, what functions do you want to perform and what do you want to achieve?

Continue reading at Life Reimagined For Work: Why Silicon Valley Trends Matter to the Rest of Us.


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5 Ways To Increase Your Career Capital – Fri, 04 Apr 2014 12:39:29 +0000 This career advancement post originally appears in my Work In Progress blog for A special shout-out to Accenture for sharing their substantive global career survey with me:

In November 2013, Accenture conducted a career survey with 4,100 executives from large and medium-sized business, including equal thirds of Boomers, Generation X, and Millenials, and 50/50 men and women. This global research attempted to better understand 3 areas: career capital; the future role of women in leadership; and career satisfaction. Here are 5 key takeaways from the survey and my advice for how to incorporate these findings into your own career success:

91% of respondents believe the most successful employees are the ones who are able to adapt to change

If an overwhelming number of your professional peers recognize change management as a key issue, then you need to embrace change and learn how to deal with it. To be seen as a team player and as a potential leader, you need to remain flexible and optimistic, even in times of uncertainty. If you’re not sure how you feel about change or whether people perceive you as a change agent, think back to the last change that was announced at the company. Did you grimace at the meeting or did you volunteer for the new task force? Do people bounce new ideas off of you, or are you the last person to hear?

44% of respondents said their companies are preparing more women for senior management roles than in the past year

If almost half of companies have jumped on the bandwagon to promote more women into leadership roles, then it’s a good time to raise your hand if you’re a woman and that’s of interest. If you’re a man, it’s a good time to make sure your network is gender-balanced so you’re not shut out when the landscape changes. If you’re not sure if you’re on the leadership track, think about a recent win in the eyes of your boss or senior management? If you can’t think of a win, you need to get on higher visibility projects. If your win seems inconsequential, you need to ensure your projects impact the bottom line. Check in with your boss to make sure you’re working on the clients, projects and day-to-day activities that matter. Business conditions change, and what you did in your job a year ago may not be what is most needed now.

77% of respondents who asked for a raise received one; 68% who asked for a promotion received one

Clearly, there is a benefit in asking for a raise and/or a promotion. The Accenture study also found that more men than women asked for raises and promotions. Hopefully, this is a survey result that changes for next year! If you need help in preparing for your next raise request, check out this webinar on seven steps to prepare for your next negotiation.

Most marketable skills in the future are: ability to multi-task; speak more than one language; be a team player; and navigate most computer applications

Diversity is clearly an advantage – diverse tasks, diverse language, diverse relationships, diverse technical skills. How varied are your skills? If you’ve been at your job for a while, you may be running on auto pilot and not focusing on what matters. Make sure you maintain your technical proficiency and take time to learn new computer applications and hacks that will help you do a better job. Make sure you expand your work relationships so that you have allies and supporters in different areas of the company. Cross-cultural experience doesn’t just have to mean learning a foreign language or working abroad. You may be able to serve international clients or work on a global project.

Above all else, respondents expand their personal and professional networks as a way to increase career capital

Networking increases career capital. In addition to ensuring you work with a variety of colleagues and possibly cross-cultural teams, you also want to look at your network outside your company, outside your industry and outside your functional role. Mix it up. Here are 3 ideas for getting a fresh start on your networking.

You don’t have to be in job search mode to work on your career. The Accenture research survey highlights interesting career trends, and given its global scope and the mixed demographics of respondents, it underscores how important these trends are for you and me. What are you going to do to increase your career capital in the coming year?


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Career Coaching Questions Answered On Job Search While Employed, Experience or Advanced Degree, and Growing A Business Without Cash– Radio Show Wed, 02 Apr 2014 12:02:35 +0000 In this episode of the SixFigureStart Career Coaching Radio Show, I answered questions on juggling a job search while employed (including tips on negotiation), how experience can trump an advanced degree and how to grow a business with little cash:

New Self Help Podcasts with SixFigureStart on BlogTalkRadio

Marcos asks: My current most pressing question would be how do you find time to interview and actively look for a new job while you are still employed? Also, how do you determine what the best next career move is without leaving too much money on the table?

Joyce asks:  Can I, and if so how do I, market my working knowledge and successes to get noticed in place of an advanced degree?

Katie asks: How do I grow my business with very little equity?

Some related resources that I mention in this radio show:

5 Things To Do Differently In Your Career, including scheduling time:

Negotiation tips from my CBS segment:

How Your Business Can Be Cash-Flow Positive From Day One:

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5 Ways To Restart The Conversation When A Contact Doesn’t Respond – Life Reimagined For Work Mon, 31 Mar 2014 12:50:44 +0000 In my job search post for Life Reimagined For Work, I cover how to rekindle a job lead gone cold:

One contact used to email back right away but now it’s been weeks since you heard anything. Another said he’d make an e-intro for you but hasn’t done it (and it’s been a while). Yet another contact told you to reach out if you ever needed something. When you saw a job posting at her company you emailed her but heard nothing back.

What can you do when good leads go cold? Here are 5 strategies to reignite an unresponsive contact:

Change the Type of Contact If you’ve been emailing, try phone, mail, fax, FedEx, messenger, or some other way to get in touch. Keep it professional– no singing telegrams! Mixing it up will make your communication stand out. A new approach may be just the wake-up call needed to get the relationship moving again.

Switch Up the Reason If you’ve already checked in about the question, e-intro or job posting, make the next contact about a new topic. Figure out something that’s helpful to your contact – perhaps you can mail a book or article related to his/her business. Getting in front of a contact this way serves as a reminder of your other, open request without having to ask directly.

Read 3 more strategies at Life Reimagined For Work: Hot Lead Gone Cold? Rekindle It Today.


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Declutter Your Career Toolbox Today – Life Reimagined For Work Mon, 24 Mar 2014 13:05:38 +0000 In my latest career management post for Life Reimagined For Work, I cover all the career “hoarding” that inadvertently happens when you’re an experienced professional with years of skills, expertise and information to share. Is your resume cluttered? Does your networking pitch suffer from TMI? Do you ramble in your response to typical interview questions you should know? Here’s a guide to what stays and what goes:

Years in the workforce bring a key advantage: relevant experience to support your candidacy. The challenge is sifting through your experiences to identify the best skills or traits to highlight. With ever-more information to add to your resume, online profile, and the ever-popular query “Tell me about yourself,” you need to be rigorous about what to drop and what to keep.

Your Resume

Keep the detail at the top—the summary and your most recent jobs. Recruiters skim a resume in seconds, so the bottom always gets short shrift. Still, include key positions at every stage because employers look for progression. And make your chronology complete because employers check for gaps. For older jobs, a quick overview will do; you can supply more specifics at an interview. Your summary should let the reader know your key marketing messages: management and P&L experience, industry and functional expertise, and one or two key accomplishments that are relevant to your target role.

Your LinkedIn Profile

You have more leeway online where it’s easy to scroll; the summary is the place to spend your extra space. Whereas your resume might mention just one or two key projects, you can add a third in your LinkedIn summary. Where the resume might list key types of skills in the summary, saving detailed lists for the end, your LinkedIn summary can include a full list. Where the resume (and Experience section of LinkedIn) is a straight chronology, your summary can be written like a story, highlighting key transitions and unique experiences. Even with the extra space, resist the temptation to include everything. If you’re not going to use a skill, trait or experience in your next job, even if it’s something you did well, leave it out.

Read the full article on Life Reimagined For Work: Declutter Your Career Toolbox Today.


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7 Steps To Successful Negotiations – Over 40 Females Fri, 21 Mar 2014 11:59:47 +0000 I was excited to lead a webinar for Over 40 Females on effective negotiation preparation for both entrepreneurs and employees. The webinar starts around minute 7:00:

You can read more about the seven steps of negotiation preparation at our blog:

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Stretched Too Thin? 5 Strategies For Coping With Too Much Work – Tue, 18 Mar 2014 12:51:59 +0000 This post originally appears in my Work In Progress blog for

Having too much work has become the new normal. With the economy still volatile and employment opportunities still tight, the perfect environment exists for overwork. Employers keen on doing more with less keep resources lean and don’t give managers the budget to do otherwise. Employees nervous about dwindling options take on the extra responsibilities and don’t push back. Everyone suffers when there is too much work — decreased quality, lower morale, increased burnout. Ideally, the entire company is in on the fix – additional resources are brought in, emphasis is renewed on sustainable work/ life balance, key priorities are clarified. However, until there is a clear directive that the workplace will change, your work still needs to get done. Here are 5 strategies for coping with too much work:

Prioritize like the ER at a hospital

When it’s clear that not everything will get done, you need to make the hard calls on what will not get done. Get to know the stakeholders behind all of your projects and prioritize by proximity to senior management and company goals. Organize your activities not just by absolute deadlines but also by impact on the powerful, the influential and the complainers. (You may not want to keep complainers happy but doing so buys you quiet time to finish your other work.) Remember to also include your career goals in mind as you select what to prioritize. Keep up the work for your supporters, mentors, and people you want to be your advocates.

Let your boss decide on tradeoffs

When your boss gives you yet another project, be ready to discuss what you already have on your plate and ask him or her to make the decision on what gets pushed back. From an information standpoint, your boss knows more about upper management priorities so is in a better position to decide this. On a practical level, having your boss decide helps to shield you from fallout if something gets dropped. In order to implement this strategy, you need to stay on top of your work and know exactly how much you have. You don’t want to say Yes and then remember you promised 3 other people some big deliverables. On the flip side, you don’t want to push back and then realize you really could have done it all and made a fuss for nothing.

Delegate with win-win in mind

Don’t feel guilty suggesting to your boss that other people take on this new project or help you with the project. Some colleagues will not be as busy as you are. More importantly, some colleagues will gladly welcome this extra work. Think of people in your group for whom this assignment would be a stretch role or a chance for increased visibility. When delegating a task means you develop someone else or give them an opportunity to shine, it is a win-win for both of you.

Delegate outside of work

There will be some projects you have to do yourself. There will be genuine crunch times where you have to work late and on weekends and this may extend over weeks. I once worked with a financial institution undergoing a government review (a stress test on their reserves), and I was brought in to talk work/life balance no less. Instead, I talked about coopting friends and family to take up the slack on personal commitments because there would be no work/life balance till after the stress test. Sometimes the answer is simply a prolonged work push. The life side of the equation can be delegated to take-out dinners and bringing in additional help on the home front.

Slow down

That said, you still need to rest and refresh. When it’s crunch time, the temptation to work without stopping at all is so great, you may skip lunch or stay well into the night when you are no longer productive. Schedule breaks every 60 to 90 minutes into your calendar – even if it’s just 5 minutes to drink some water or walk up and down the hall. This will not kill your momentum. Forcing yourself to slow down will actually increase your productivity.

Prioritizing by stakeholder, letting your boss make tradeoffs, delegating to colleagues and family, and remembering to take breaks are strategies you can adopt to get through prolonged, busy times. However, longer periods of rest and refreshment and your ideal work/life balance need to come back into play every few months. If you’re finding this is not the case and if there is no top-down change upcoming in the company, you may need to make a more drastic change, such as finding other employment. The antidote to working too much is not working too much, and you may only be able to do that elsewhere. Always be open to considering leaving – it will either make you realize that you stay to be where you are or you will realize you have choices. Knowing you have choices is a big comfort during stressful times.


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