By Caroline Ceniza-Levine

SixFigureStart defines a thorough, proactive job search as following six steps:

Identify your targets, create your marketing campaign, secondary research, primary research, stay on track, close and negotiate offers.

Step 1: Identify your targets

At its simplest, this means identifying the industry, function and geography that you want for your job. Specificity is the key. Banking is not specific enough. Banking as an industry could mean finance, management, sales, or a variety of functions within banking firms. Banking as a function may mean corporate finance in a bank or the finance function of a consumer products company. Finally, are you looking in your current area or thinking of relocating or both?

Step 2: Create your marketing campaign

Many candidates think this means a resume and a cover letter. However, there are numerous other ways to build your brand: online profile; portfolio/ samples; business card are just a few.

Step 3: Research companies and industries (secondary research)

Knowing about companies and industries is critical. This secondary research must precede live, primary research. You need to speak intelligently about your targets and be viewed as a prospective colleague, not an outsider.

Step 4: Network and interview (primary research)

Many candidates jump to networking and interviewing early in a search. However, this is step 4 in the SixFigureStart playbook because you need to be prepared before you talk to people for potentially the only chance you get.

Step 5: Stay on track

Keep your contacts and next steps organized. Stay motivated. Troubleshoot your search regularly.

Step 6: Close and negotiate offers

We don’t close with getting the job, but rather with getting the offer. You may or may not want a specific job, and deciding that is a longer decision. However, you always want an offer, even if you ultimately don’t take that job. By focusing on the offer, not the job, you keep yourself enthusiastic and energized throughout the search process.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart, a career coaching firm that specializes in working with Gen Y young professionals.   Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed campus recruiting for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.