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How Can I Communicate More Effectively As A Leader – Video Blog

This week’s video blog comes from Elizabeth who asks: How Can I Communicate More Effectively As A Leader?

In this video blog, I cover 3 communication areas to focus on as you move from individual contributor to leader: What are you saying – How are you saying it – To whom are you speaking? In other words: content; style; and getting in front of the decision-makers.

What are some of your favorite effective communication strategies?

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Career Coaching Questions Answered On Reference Checks, Ageism, Getting Passed Over, Peak Performance, and Job Search For Stretch Roles

In this episode of the SixFigureStart Career Coaching Radio Show, I answered questions on Reference Checks, Ageism, Getting Passed Over, Peak Performance, and Job Search For Stretch Roles:

Melissa asks: When applying for a new position in the same field and they call for references and my boss says I left for a totally different reason then what I did leave for, what do I do/say?

Mary Anna asks: I am in my 50′s but you’d never know it…. I have enjoyed positive responses to my resume and in many cases end up in the “top 2″ candidates, only to not be selected for the position…. In most cases I am told that I am “overqualified”.  I also do my research and have found that I have lost the position to someone many years younger, usually 20-30 years. How does an established career person overcome the stigma of competing with men and women younger than their children?

Mary Anna asks:  I have been identified as the “go to” person in my company for anything and everything….If anyone is stuck on a project, needs help with creative or business writing, can’t figure out a creative approach to a marketing or PR dilemma, my boss directs them to go to me, then instructs me to “get it done”. I “fix” for my co-workers on a daily basis, watch everyone get promotions and large raises while I remain at my low level and only get the standard annual raise. How do I overcome doing work for others, solving their problems with success and sit back while they are acknowledged for their grand accomplishments and awarded by higher compensation?

Karen asks: what are some tips to perform best under pressure and be my best advocate to get ahead in my career

Rim asks:  I have already gone through the 1st round of HR interviews. I am due to go on the second round of interviews to meet the CMO. I am competing with strong marketing professionals. I’ve made it clear to the HR person that despite my Marketing MBA,  the planning and product strategy knowledge would have to be learned on the job. She seemed confident that I’d be able to do it. I was honestly not confident that I’d make it to the second round. Yet, the CMO wants to meet me. I asked the HR person why I made the cut; she responded that it was because of my interpersonal skills. I definitely want the job!!! But the question is “how do you ace the interview” while knowing upfront that one does not have and can not “fake” the hard core technical competences they are seeking. I am also sure that the CMO will ask me the dreaded question i.e. ” Why should I pick you over the other candidates?”

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4 Surprising Ways HR Can Help You – CBS Moneywatch

I am quoted in Amy Levin-Epstein’s career advice piece for CBS Moneywatch on 4 surprising ways HR can help you:

Help care for your loved ones. If you’re spending time trying to find affordable child-care or elder care, that takes you away from your responsibilities at work, notes Caroline Ceniza-Levine, partner with SixFigureStart, a career consulting firm. “Many companies offer Employee Assistance Program services,” says Ceniza-Levine. “These are hotlines staffed by service representatives who can help you navigate different types of wellness and work/life offerings. These offerings may be things you pay for out-of-pocket, but the EAP can help with recommendations and research.”…

Help you with a conflict early on. Most of the time, HR gets involved when an issue between boss and direct report can’t be resolved between the two parties. “HR can help you brainstorm advice [without] escalating an issue to a formal complain,” says Ceniza-Levine. The key here is developing a professional friendship with an HR member beforehand, and asking them for their take in a casual way. “This is more effective than always trying to figure things out on your own or waiting till there is an issue that you want to formally bring to HR.”

Read more tips in the full article on CBS Moneywatch: Surprise! 4 Ways HR Can Help You.


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Close To A Job Offer? How To Blow It – Purple Clover

In my job search post for Purple Clover, I talk about how to blow an imminent job offer. Don’t take anything for granted, even if you’ve been on multiple rounds of interviews, even if they imply that a job offer is coming. It really isn’t over till it’s over. Here are 3 common reasons that an imminent offer falls through in the late stages of an interview process and what to do instead:

You hesitate — and employers sense hesitation like sharks sense blood in the water;

You hit the wall — and job search is a marathon;

You are forgotten — because employers are looking at multiple candidates and have bright, shiny object fixation like all of us do!

Read the full article on Purple Clover: How To Blow An Imminent Job Offer.

Have you been to the final stages of a job search only to not get an offer? What happened? Did you fall for any of the above 3 traps?




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Behind-the-Scenes of How The Fierce Handle Fear – Business Info Guide

I’m excited to be profiled in Business Info Guide: Inspired Resources For Entrepreneurs, for my work in How The Fierce Handle Fear. I talk about how my participation in the book came to be and more general information about my business and non-business pursuits, such as stand-up:

What is your book about?

How the Fierce Handle Fear; Secrets To Succeeding In Challenging Times features 22 essays on fear, including works by Donald Trump, Jack Canfield, Pamela Slim, and SixFigureStart® co-founder Caroline Ceniza-Levine.

What inspired you to write your book?

My essay is based on 3 blogs I wrote about one of my career changes — in 2000, when I moved from a lucrative corporate career in executive search to be an actor. I always worked and was married and had my first child when I decided to make the change. I wanted to let people know that you can make career transitions under any circumstance.

How did you come to do what you’re doing today?

I got involved in this book project because I had been following the editor’s newsletter on publishing (Sophfronia Scott of Done For You Writing and Publishing). She mentioned this book project on Fear, which I thought was a timely and important subject. She and I had worked for the same media company in the past. So I used that overlap in our backgrounds to cold call her and pitch my idea for participation. She said Yes and I was on my way to my first book!

Read the full interview at Business Info Guide: Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Author of How the Fierce Handle Fear; Secrets To Succeeding In Challenging Times.

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How Do You Answer The ‘What Is Your Greatest Failure’ Interview Question – Video Blog

This week’s video blog comes from AJ who asks: How do you answer the ‘what is your greatest failure’ question without going negative?

You want to answer the question and talk about something that needed to turn around or to be improved, but you don’t want to talk about a situation when someone gets fired or killed! In the video blog, I give suggestions for how to pick the appropriate example.

What has been your experience with the Failure interview question? What other interview questions stump you?

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3 Recommended Reads To Get Career Advice and Your Celebrity Fix – Forbes

In my latest career advice post for Work In Progress, I outline 3 books that give you great career advice AND fulfill your need to escape with celebrities. Who says professional development can’t be fun?

Standing Ovation Presentations by Robyn Hatcher

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Celebrity, Inc. by Jo Piazza

See Get Your Celebrity Fix And Career Advice In 3 Fun Reads for a brief review of each book and the career lessons I took away.

I also liked reading autobiographies from Jay Leno, Fran Drescher, and Patricia Heaton. What are your favorite celebrity career reads?




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Conference Call Survival Tips

When I worked for Merrill Lynch, I typically had 3 – 5 conference calls per week and while staying engaged was important, it was a struggle because some were very unorganized and outright boring. Here are some tips to staying engaged because someone might just call your name out and you might just be completely lost as to what they were discussing!

Location, location, location:
1. If you are in an office, close the door with a note on the door (conf call in progress)
2. If you are in a cube, try to use a conf room space
3. Either way, give your full attention to the call

Take Notes!!
1. Your mind can easily wander in face to face meetings, and it can take a marathon hike during a conference call. You must take notes to ensure you stay on track.
2. Taking notes is active listening, plus now you have a record of what was discussed on a call. Use your laptop or notes section on your smart phone to record main points and to do items.
Follow up – it will distinguish you from others
3. Follow up on key items and what you are responsible for. NO ONE EVER DOES THAT. I’m not talking about taking minutes, focus on key items and what can be done to move them forward

1. Who is running the meeting? Get to know them in person if possible
Observe & Learn
2. What was good about the meeting that you can use next time you run one? What was bad about the meeting (no agenda, no follow up, no one listening) and make sure you keep it interesting and respected which means a) start on time, b) have someone take minutes, c) follow up on next steps

Conference calls are a way of life these days. These tips will help you to master the calls and maximize your effectiveness throughout your day and career.

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Exceptional Advice for College Students

College students MUST learn how to network in exceptional ways and here are the best ways to do that:

1. Differentiate yourself by researching anyone you meet before you meet them – that includes professors, representatives from ANY company that comes on campus, interviewers, speakers, and people at career fairs. Career fairs are happening right now on campuses across the country. You may get the names of the companies coming to career fairs, but you rarely will get the names. When you do find out their names, usually the day of the fair, look them up on linkedin & mention someone about their backgrounds. You’ll probably be the only one who does!

2. There are 4 steps to networking: 1 – research, 2 – approach, 3 – follow up, 4 – request. Only after you go through steps 1, 2, 3 a couple of times, do you EVER ask for something. Impress them in every other way. Here is a secret – they all KNOW you want a job. Don’t ask for it. Instead, give them something they are interested in. GIVE, GIVE, GIVE and you will get a job. Giving … what a concept!

3. Best networking questions to ask someone you never met before: 1 – what do you like most about what you do?, 2 – what was your best day? These questions will get them talking which will get you listening (hopefully!) and then you can follow up.

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5 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get That Promotion – Purple Clover

If you didn’t get the promotion you think you deserved, my career advice post on Purple Clover explores 5 reasons why and what you can do about it:

  • You don’t want it;
  • You don’t qualify;
  • You don’t fit;
  • You’re more valuable right where you are;
  • You were outmatched by someone else.

Are you guilty of any of these limiting behaviors or beliefs? Are there other reasons you think I missed? Leave a comment about your experience with career advancement. Read the full article on Purple Clover: 5 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get That Promotion.