EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Are we a support or resource group?

From our daily member newsletter on May 22, 2018

Like the classic fable of the 6 blind men standing around the elephant, The FENG means a lot of different things to individual members. In part it is dependent on where they are in their career, whether they are active in a search, or if they are currently employed. It can also vary on any given day. Of course we provide support for one another. But, I like to think that the support we provide isn’t the “do it for you” kind, but rather it is our unique ability to be a resource for one another that makes the difference. The FENG comes fully equipped with extraordinary resources for our members. And, other members provide them all. It is sort [ Read more… ]

When the answer is no

From our daily member newsletter on May 21, 2018

Over the course of our careers, as financial people, we become hard wired to never take no for an answer. When a customer claims they won’t pay an invoice, we can come up with “offers they can’t refuse.” When engaged in a debate at work about the appropriate accounting treatment of some expense, we know our facts and argue persuasively, sometimes to the “death.” So, when we are competing for a job we believe we are well qualified for, it is in our nature to get a bit argumentative with the “hiring authority.” Why was it we didn’t carry the day? How is it even possible that we weren’t the most qualified person for the job? What was it in [ Read more… ]

A fine line

From our daily member newsletter on May 20, 2018

The difference between being viewed as possessing dogged persistence and being an outright pest is hard to define. Like beauty or obscenity, I guess we know it when we see it. I have had many jobs over the course of my career, some paid, some volunteer that have involved collection work. When I was Treasurer of my congregation for 4 years, one of my jobs was to collect outstanding dues owed by members. It was delicate work. In the urban legend in this world, those who didn’t pay on time or not at all were suspected of trying to get away with something. The truth was enough to break your heart some nights when I made phone calls. Very few [ Read more… ]

Reads and follows directions

From our daily member newsletter on May 17, 2018

One of the most important skills you bring to the party as a financial person is your ability to read and follow directions. If you accept this as being true, I can only wonder why so many members fail to carefully read the information so clearly presented in the postings that appear in our newsletter. As I am sure all of you know, I post a lot of opportunities for clients of The FECG in our newsletter. I have come up with a few simple rules that I feel not only work for our types of assignments, but I hope are logical steps someone responding to ANY lead from any source should follow as well. It is not reasonable for [ Read more… ]

Rain or shine – you can’t do much about it

From our daily member newsletter on May 16, 2018

I don’t know what the weather has been by you lately, but here in Connecticut we have had a very cold and damp spring. One thing you learn if you are a sailor is that there really isn’t much you can do about the weather. The wind is from whatever direction it is coming from and at whatever speed it chooses. All you can do is manage your vessel to take best advantage and, if need be, change your plans. A few days ago I got a note from one of our members seeking to raise the issue of “Is a CPA needed to be a CFO?” Or, at the very least, the question was, is it being required more [ Read more… ]

Networking is easy

From our daily member newsletter on May 15, 2018

Perhaps this is a bit of an overstatement, but I am primarily talking about networking within The FENG. As you all know, we have a Member Directory Search feature out on our website for your information and use. If you become aware of a job at a specific company, the odds of someone in The FENG having worked there at SOME point is a near certainty. With this aside, I thought I would share with all of you a few thoughts about why networking with your fellow members is so easy if you make any effort to do it right. If you think long and hard about your background and the kinds of fellow members who are most likely to [ Read more… ]

Networking-A lifetime activity

From our daily member newsletter on May 14, 2018

I was fortunate to speak with two of our more experienced chapter chairs recently who each in their own way in our wide ranging conversations reminded me of the importance of networking as a lifetime activity. I suppose to a degree, networking doesn’t come naturally to us financial types. We are by our nature “nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel” kinds of people who prefer “real” work to making phone calls and appearing to ask for favors. (What would we need a favor for anyway?) Over the course of my career, I was always a pretty social person. On a regular basis, I tried to meet the friends I made at my various jobs for lunch, and/or I [ Read more… ]

Proper uses of boilerplate

From our daily member newsletter on May 13, 2018

One from column A and one from column B. Sure makes it easy, doesn’t it? Much as our electronic world makes life simple, it also makes it more complicated in certain ways due to the opportunity to be lazy or inattentive to details. Just as there are only a few themes for good writing (man against man, man against nature, etc.), there are also lots of routine things we say in the letters we write during a job search. It would be unwise (that’s the same as silly or stupid) to reinvent the wheel each and every time. In much the same way that plays are tried off Broadway first, some of the phrases and their sequence in your cover [ Read more… ]

Beginnings, middles and ends

From our daily member newsletter on May 10, 2018

I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes the job search process so maddening and one of the many conclusions I have come to is its lack of structure. (Someone should really redesign it!) Unlike all of the other projects we may have in our career as financial folks, this one may have a beginning and it may have an end, but it is the middle that makes us crazy. Hard to know at any point in time where exactly you are on the continuum. You know you have started when you begin your job search either because you have been terminated or know you will be soon. And, you know when you have ended, because you have [ Read more… ]

A short play

From our daily member newsletter on May 9, 2018

I don’t know how many of you participated in school plays during your early years, but there is a lot to be said about thinking about the interviewing process as a series of scenes in a play. Of course, the only problem with this visualization is the degree to which the audience is in charge of how the play progresses. Still, if you remember your lines and deliver them well, you can control much of the flow. All you need to do is work out the components and have them ready. Introducing the characters in the play and presenting their backgrounds as part of a story is a difficult thing to write. For those of you who have seen Patton [ Read more… ]

All things to all people

From our daily member newsletter on May 8, 2018

It sure is difficult to be focused. As each of us over the age of 40 looks at our career prospects for the rest of our working lives, it is all very easy to believe that we need to expand the market for our services to ensure that we can find another job. (After all how many buggy whips are made anymore?) However, after 20 some odd years in the work force, the likelihood is that you have acquired some very specific skills. Even with 30 more years of work to go, the odds of finding employment that is radically different than what you have been doing is not high. Although it is possible to do so, the most probable [ Read more… ]

Is anyone holding out?

From our daily member newsletter on May 7, 2018

I hate to ask if anyone is holding out, but is anyone holding out? One of the core values of The FENG is that we try very hard to share our job leads. Trust me, individual job leads aren’t as valuable as you think they are. And, if you share them, not only will you be viewed as a Fanatic FENG’er, but you just might make a few new friends. When the published job market is slow as it is now, it is important that we fill our evening newsletter with every possible opportunity that is floating out in the marketplace. If you are expecting others to share what they know, and you know about stuff, ask yourself why you [ Read more… ]

Being nice to everyone

From our daily member newsletter on May 6, 2018

Whether you are active in your job search or just trying to get your job done for “the great corporation,” it pays to be nice to everyone. One of my best friends is a real charmer and I always enjoy going out to dinner with him because we always get great service. He just has a way of engaging the waiter that lets this individual, male or female, know that he considers them to be a real person. I have seen others engage waiters as servants who “damn well better” get them their drink, dinner or extra of some kind, and I can tell you that it is my observation that Bob’s approach works better. (As evidence, I have never [ Read more… ]

Making introductions

From our daily member newsletter on May 3, 2018

Everyone knows a few important people who they believe will at some point be helpful to us in our search for that perfect job. The problem how to keep your name in front of them so when that perfect job comes to their attention you will be top of mind. You certainly don’t want to waste their time and you certainly don’t want to be annoying. A frequent question asked is how often you should float your resume in front of specific recruiters. The most common answer I have heard is about every 3 months. As a benchmark, 3 months is probably about right for those you know, although depending on who it is and how well you really know [ Read more… ]

The cup is at 50%

From our daily member newsletter on May 2, 2018

There is nothing more important to an effective job search than a positive attitude. Sure, building an effective resume, a pithy 90-second announcement and a library of cover letters is always a good idea, the fact remains that positively focused dogged determination tends to win the day more often than all of these same factors coupled with being down in the dumps. If you allow yourself to think that the world is raining on your parade or that you have been singled out for punishment by the gods, you are going to be in worse shape than if you do nothing at all. Think about the fact that all communications come from your brain. (Duh, where else could they come [ Read more… ]

The elephant sitting in the room

From our daily member newsletter on May 1, 2018

If you went to an interview with a broken arm, I’m pretty sure you would feel the need to explain. Honestly, sitting there with your arm in a cast, it is hard to imagine a productive discussion taking place until you tell your interviewer how it happened. Was it a skiing accident? Did you trip and fall? Inquiring minds want to know. On a smaller scale, all of us from time to time don’t seem to see that elephant sitting in the room. The truth is that even if you are only engaging in an email exchange, there can still be that huge creature waiting for some remark by you to explain its existence and reason for being there. For [ Read more… ]

Running around recruiters

From our daily member newsletter on April 30, 2018

Several years ago I received a phone call from a long standing Friend of The FENG. This particular search firm posted with us on a regular basis. In this case, the posting included the name of their client. You see, they felt that the relationship they had with The FENG was so strong and their confidence in us so high that they could provide this information and not get hurt. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Several of our members decided that they knew best and submitted their credentials directly to this search firm’s client. Not smart. Not only had they most likely eliminated any chance of their being considered for this relatively high paying job, but they had also embarrassed the [ Read more… ]

Your most recent 10 years

From our daily member newsletter on April 29, 2018

While from time to time I silently wish to myself that many of our members would take the time to read a good book about how to write a resume, I find that other members have read a book or an article, but they have either read the wrong book or have misunderstood what the author was trying to communicate. It is certainly true that the primary focus in your resume should be your most recent 10 years of experience. It is not true that there is NO interest in what you were doing before 2008, or for that matter during the last century. (Makes you sound a lot older, doesn’t it?) I see resumes all the time now where [ Read more… ]

Keeping hope alive

From our daily member newsletter on April 26, 2018

Whether you are currently working and hate your job or are currently in active search mode, the most important job you have every day is maintaining an optimistic view of the future. The stresses and strains of a job that is winding down may at times seem beyond bearable. Back in 1991 during the last several months before the advertising agency where I was CFO lost our largest account, the back biting and back stabbing among the “leadership group” reached incredible proportions. So too, job search itself is filled with highs and lows. The highs are always diminished by the possibility that the job offer you fully expect to get never comes. The lows when you have no interviews scheduled [ Read more… ]

Fixing a bad attitude

From our daily member newsletter on April 25, 2018

How often have you heard it said “He has a bad attitude?” We spend a lot of time addressing the bad attitudes of others. For example, discussions about age discrimination fall into this category. The world has a “bad attitude” toward those of us who are well experienced. (Over qualified.) Whether it is the world at large, or even ourselves, a lot of time is wasted trying to address “bad attitudes.” The truth is that attitudes (good or bad) are difficult to change. Early in my career I was part of a management group that worked with a psychologist on a regular basis. The approach he suggested was to stop trying to change the attitudes of others and instead change [ Read more… ]

Bashfulness is not my strong suit

From our daily member newsletter on April 24, 2018

Hard to believe, but bashfulness is apparently a quite prevalent condition among our membership. Yes, these same individuals who in prior lives as bankers were cutting off lines of credit or foreclosing on hapless widows have a near terminal fear of picking up the phone and calling other members of The FENG. Some other members in our circle of friends were known to have cut off customers from needed supplies because their credit didn’t pass muster. Others have been known to ruthlessly cut budgets despite desperate pleas by deserving managers. Yet these folks have the same condition as many others in our august body of “Near Terminal Bashfulness.” I have done a lot of research on this subject and have [ Read more… ]

Having the wind taken out of your sails

From our daily member newsletter on April 23, 2018

Conducting a job search, whether working or not currently employed, can be a difficult time. You tend to go through phases. (I don’t know if I like the phrase “in transition,” but it seems to continue to be well accepted.) At first it can be kind of exciting to be away from the daily grind of a job. If your last job was anything like the ones I was fired from, it was actually a relief of sorts not to be there anymore. And, there are new things to learn and skills to polish. Who ever thought that any of us would strive to be great writers of resumes, and who ever thought that we would get to enjoy making [ Read more… ]

Everyone wants to help

From our daily member newsletter on April 22, 2018

I know that some of you who have been at job search for a period of time may find this hard to believe, but everyone wants to help, it is just that they don’t always know how. I see it all the time at chapter meetings. Each person does their 90-second elevator speech, but rarely do they make clear how I can help them. Sure they might make a request, but it is not always something I can wrap my mind around. Many years ago I had lunch with Ted Stone, one of our members of long standing. It was a networking lunch of the first order, because Ted came prepared. He had with him one of the most powerful [ Read more… ]

When is enough, enough?

From our daily member newsletter on April 19, 2018

The story goes that if a frog is thrown into a pot of boiling water he will have the good sense to jump out. On the other hand, if you put a frog in cold water and slowly turn up the heat, he will boil to death. (Please don’t try this at home. I like frogs. I am sure you can verify the veracity of this proposition on the Internet somewhere.) There are similar effects in the world for things like allergies. You can tolerate many things to which you are theoretically allergic, however, once you hit some predetermined level, you begin sneezing and your tolerance for the whatever you are allergic to is temporarily greatly lowered and you will [ Read more… ]

Arrested but not convicted

From our daily member newsletter on April 18, 2018

One subject that comes up all the time is the importance of having an explanation as to why you are looking for another job. I have always felt that it was a waste of your valuable time to provide an explanation in your 90 second announcement, and I still feel that way. Unless you were arrested and convicted of a crime, or fired for cause, I probably will not find any useful information in your explanation. And, if that was why you are now looking for another job, you probably won’t tell me. What I really need to know is the nature of your credentials and how I might be able to help you. So, I have always felt that [ Read more… ]

You talkin to me?

From our daily member newsletter on April 17, 2018

Yes, I am talking to you. The purpose of my evening editorial is to make all of you better at managing your careers, and in particular to educate you on what I believe are the key issues in appearing more professional and technology savvy in the digital world we all live in. Let me start as I always do with outgoing signatures. The purpose of an outgoing signature is primarily to enable others to reach back out to you with a minimum of effort. This means that your phone numbers should appear in the order you would like them called. And, if you have more than one, list it. (Three might be a little over the top.) If you believe [ Read more… ]

What are your sizzle points?

From our daily member newsletter on April 16, 2018

Very few among us are professional sales folks. It is for this reason that some of the more subtle elements of interviewing can easily go by us. When you decide to make a purchase you often have to justify it to others. When you do, you will find yourself repeating things the salesperson told you about the product. Much as you may cringe at the thought that you need to have a slogan or theme song, you almost do. The question I would have for you is how can you make yourself memorable? How can you communicate what we could call your sizzle points? In all of the interviewing that you do, except your interview with the final and ultimate [ Read more… ]

It is always better to be working

From our daily member newsletter on April 15, 2018

Even though the job market seems to be improving, I thought I would repeat a thought I mention to those who ask. Plain and simple, it is always better to be working. The strategy you take early in your career has to be one of growth. Each job you take has to move you up the ladder of success. However, once you have been a Chief Financial Officer or Controller of a significant firm, and especially if you have reached the advanced age of mid-forties like most of our members, I would suggest to you that it is simply better to be working. My own observation has been that most of our members move from large firms to smaller ones. [ Read more… ]

The problem with falling overboard

From our daily member newsletter on April 12, 2018

As the sailing season begins here in Connecticut my thoughts more and more turn to sailing stories and how they might apply to job search and the management of your career. (Of course, I think about and read sailing stories all the time, but I digress.) One of the great perils of sailing is falling overboard. I have 3 rules when sailing: 1. Don’t fall overboard 2. Don’t fall overboard 3. Don’t fall overboard To ensure that this doesn’t happens, especially when sailing at night, I always wear a lifejacket when underway and at night I always clip on. I also clip on when the wind pipes up. No exceptions. These are also the rules for the crew at night. [ Read more… ]

Chip firmly in place

From our daily member newsletter on April 11, 2018

Over the years I have had more than a few “interesting” discussions with new member applicants. I guess I can talk about them with all of you because they weren’t sponsored or accepted. Although I am in a position where I have to say no now and then, I try to visualize my role as that of “the welcoming committee” and not “the gate keeper.” However, as one of my Army buddies used to say: “There are some folks who wouldn’t be happy if they were hanged with a new rope.” Sad to say, but when the answer is no, and it is you, it is hard to take. What are the reasons why? And, as logical financial folks, I [ Read more… ]

The dreaded telephone interview

From our daily member newsletter on April 10, 2018

With everyone so busy these days, the dreaded telephone interview is being used more and more. In my opinion, the only purpose for a telephone interview is to do a quick screening of possible candidates before bringing them in for a face to face interview. It is not a good vehicle for totally qualifying candidates, but used effectively it can prevent a colossal waste of time on the part of both parties. Many folks look good on paper, but with a short conversation filled with probing questions, those lacking critical elements can be eliminated. If candidates need to be brought in from great distances it just makes sense to speak with them first. I hope I am being redundant when [ Read more… ]

Defining who you are

From our daily member newsletter on April 9, 2018

Probably one of the hardest things to do in life is to define who you are. Are you really your resume? Because we tend to be at companies longer than the members of other discipline areas, the reality of what it is we REALLY do best is not always obvious to us. Some time ago when one of my friends, Bob Graham, came to speak at our meeting in Connecticut, he shared with us a great interview question: What’s the biggest misperception about you? Believing that others have a misperception about you actually implies that there is something about yourself that you don’t accept. Unfortunately, most of us are often the last to know or at least the last to [ Read more… ]

Are you ready to retire?

From our daily member newsletter on April 8, 2018

I don’t know about you, but at the age of 71, I still have more than a few miles left on my odometer. The thought of retirement is still something far off into the future. I imagine I will get to that point in my thinking someday, but it isn’t now. When members call me for advice, I always ask them how old they are. Lucky thing I’m not working for a corporation or I would probably get sued. That said, the reason I ask someone’s age is not to discriminate against them, but rather to give them better strategies. When I was in my youth in the 1960’s I suppose we thought the “old folks” didn’t know much about [ Read more… ]

The original conversation killer

From our daily member newsletter on April 5, 2018

My wife is a speech pathologist by education and early work experience. One of the things that drives her crazy is one word answers. Her approach in teaching speech has always been to ask questions that create a conversation. The only way to get the kids she was working with to improve their speech was to get them to talk. You can see how one word answers wouldn’t further that goal. In the context of networking, asking someone if they know about any open jobs is a one way ticket to a very brief conversation. Have I heard about any open jobs? Sure, but it was two weeks ago. I don’t remember very many of the details, but I’m sure [ Read more… ]

Asking for help

From our daily member newsletter on April 4, 2018

Asking for help is hard for many people. I don’t know why that is, but I am sure it is just part of human nature. I guess we have been brought up to “do it ourselves.” It is sort of a mark of our independence when we become real adults. I have been told that this is the reason that guys used to refuse to stop at the gas station to ask for directions. (Thank goodness I have GPS and no longer need to ask.) The key is to know when your wheel spinning has reached the point that you would be best advised to ask for help. The reason I bring this up is that there are so many [ Read more… ]

Hi, it’s me the pest

From our daily member newsletter on April 3, 2018

Probably one of the most difficult issues to resolve when competing for an appropriate job opportunity is how much follow up to do. It is a fine line indeed between ensuring that those making the decision know you have real interest and making a real pest of yourself and changing their decision from yes to no. Decisions seem to take longer and longer today. Add to this the natural reluctance of folks to deliver bad news, and you have the “horns of the dilemma” that we all face. One of the little recognized dangers in doing too much follow up is when you think the interview went well and they don’t seem to be getting back to you. The short [ Read more… ]

First impressions

From our daily member newsletter on April 2, 2018

We have all heard the old saw: “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” There is also this amendment: “Don’t make your first impression your last.” I only wish everyone would be so kind as to repeat these sayings to themselves in all the things they do with regard to their job search and networking. For example, you are certainly welcome to come to meetings of our networking group in business casual. But, keep in mind that some of those attending will be coming from interviews and will be “dressed to the 9’s.” And, you need to consider what you are going to be asking for at those meetings. Typically it is nothing short of [ Read more… ]

Explaining the magic

From our daily member newsletter on April 1, 2018

I am often asked by our members to give them a “formula” for constructing their very own 90-second announcement. If only that were practical. The problem with 90-second announcements is very much related to the very limited time you are allowed. Having been in the advertising business for nearly a decade, I can tell you why advertising creative people make so much money. It is just plain difficult to hone a message to 90-seconds, let alone 30-seconds as they normally have to do. Your own message needs to be tailored to you, unlike your resume which for the most part should conform to accepted formatting standards. Other than telling others your name, most of what you say is up to [ Read more… ]

Organizations have character

From our daily member newsletter on March 29, 2018

One of the more amazing things I find myself discussing from time to time is that organizations seem to take on a life of their own. Even when I “drop in” many years later I find very little has changed. As I “drop in” to chapters of The FENG around the country, one of my goals is to find out how our “character” is developing. It is hard to believe that our organization has so many common elements around the country, but it does. In the beginning, I signed my 3-4 page newsletter to my friends in the original chapter “Regards, Matt.” Hey, they really were my friends, and I knew many of them quite well. Old habits die hard, [ Read more… ]

A few left over parts

From our daily member newsletter on March 28, 2018

When I was growing up, my father was a plumbing contractor and I had the great experience of working with him weekends and summers from my early teens until I graduated from college. The test we used to determine whether or not we had correctly completed a complicated installation was whether or not we had any left over parts. (We usually read the instructions as we were driving away from the job.) Please know that a lot of mechanics use the same technique when they work on your car. Left over parts are a type of profit if you can use them for something else. (Hopefully, none of them are critical to the functioning of whatever they were left over [ Read more… ]

Watching your back

From our daily member newsletter on March 27, 2018

It would be great if we could all see behind us while at the same time looking forward, but it just isn’t possible. And, sometimes just looking forward is hard enough. We have all heard about the “buddy system” that swimmers use. And, of course, having someone “watch your back” is a concept we are all quite familiar with. One of the problems The FENG has always tried to educate our members about is the mistaken belief that job search is a zero sum game. While it is certainly true that only one candidate is going to get the job, the goal is to ensure that one of our members is that person. I hope that it is you, but [ Read more… ]

The Energizer Bunny

From our daily member newsletter on March 26, 2018

Probably one of the hardest things to do during a job search is keeping yourself energized. If you are conducting your job search from home, it can be even more difficult. The thing to recognize is that conducting a job search is in some respects painful for us financial types. We don’t get to do spreadsheets (which we adore), and all we get to do is write letters and make phone calls. Sure, making phone calls to collect past due invoices is a lot of fun. But, making networking phone calls, now that’s painful. So, faced with not needing to sharpen our #2 pencils, it can be difficult to get going in the morning. After all, what is there to [ Read more… ]

Two peas in a pod

From our daily member newsletter on March 25, 2018

One of the great mysteries in this world is why any two people would network. Yes, I know this sounds like heresy coming from someone who has built his entire life on networking, but it is actually a very good question, and one that members who have not been exposed to “the truth” often ask. I don’t know if it is still true, but at Dallas chapter meetings members are encouraged to find their “mirrors.” I guess if you are standing side by side, you won’t look exactly alike, but face to face you appear to each other to be spitting images. Of course, Bob Walker, Co-Chair of the Dallas chapter isn’t talking about someone who LOOKS like you, but [ Read more… ]

Time is of the essence

From our daily member newsletter on March 22, 2018

For those of you who have had the honor of dealing with legal matters, you know that the phrase “Time is of the essence” is frequently used in contracts. The idea is that if you want to get the deal done, you better move quickly. (In other words, you will need to get off your duff.) The world today moves at a furious pace. No longer, for example, can we blame the postal service for not delivering that analysis that was due, or even blame the fact that we missed the Federal Express pickup. Most things today move at the speed of the Internet, and that is a fearsome and frightening standard by which we have to live our lives. [ Read more… ]

The importance of realistic expectations

From our daily member newsletter on March 21, 2018

It is an unfortunate fact of life that no one can find you another job except for you. While it is POSSIBLE that others can help you in some way, they can’t actually do it for you. What we do in The FENG is provide you with the tools for an effective job search. These tools run the gamut from advice about networking, to chapter meetings, to access to our membership directory using our Member Directory Search feature. As it has been said, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. The resources for an effective job search are staring you in the face, but it is up to you to use them in the [ Read more… ]

Effectively using the non-answer

From our daily member newsletter on March 20, 2018

As you mature and become over qualified for just about everything, it is inevitable that you will be interviewed for a job (of limited income or responsibility) that you would like to have, but fear that you will be deemed too old or having previously earned too much money to be “happy” in. (If they were so concerned with you happiness, you would think they would understand how difficult it is to be unemployed.) Age it has been said is in the mind. I know I don’t feel old, and perhaps I don’t look old. Still, I am old, or at least older than others might think. Even if the number is fairly obvious since I graduated in 1968 from [ Read more… ]

Actors on a stage

From our daily member newsletter on March 19, 2018

In certain respects you have to envy actors. Every time they get up on stage they get to assume the role of some new personality or character. Sometimes I wish I could do that. I have often thought about my 90-second announcement and wondered what it would be like to assume the role of someone else for the evening. On the other hand, it is hard enough just being me. But, who am I anyway? Do the words in my 90-second announcement really describe who I am and what I can do? I know I have been going to meetings of The FENG for over 20 years, but I still wonder if I have gotten any better at describing myself [ Read more… ]

90% of life is just showing up

From our daily member newsletter on March 18, 2018

While I am sure the correct answer is “about” 90% (90% is a little too precise), there is no denying the fact that showing up is important. If you have an interview and you don’t show up, you can’t possibly get the job. If you expect to get paid, you have to show up for work. And, the list goes on. If you would like to consider yourself a master networker, showing up is also important. The groups that you belong to such as your local chapter of The FENG, your local Chamber of Commerce, your religious organization, these are all places where you should show up on a regular basis. If you don’t show up, the people who are [ Read more… ]

When in doubt, throw it out

From our daily member newsletter on March 15, 2018

I don’t know if your incoming snail mail is anything like ours, but we sure get a ton of unsolicited mail. The procedure we follow in our house is to pile the mail up and pull over a large garbage pail. The rule is, “when in doubt, throw it out.” Hard to believe how much junk mail we get over the course of a week. Returning from a vacation is a mind blowing experience as you excitedly bring the bushel basket of mail into the house to discover that there are only 10-20 pieces of “real” mail in there. The same thing is of course true about email. I have 4 addresses that I query several times a day, and [ Read more… ]

Believing everything you hear

From our daily member newsletter on March 14, 2018

It is a great talent of us financial types that we do a lot of data gathering before we make decisions. In any conversation we have we are looking for the reasons why and why not, and keeping a tally count so that we can construct a graph of some kind, I suppose. This isn’t a criticism. I find myself doing it too, and I should know better. It sort of goes under the heading of “ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.” Much of what I know about the world, I learned from other people. I listen to what they have to say and my “take away” is ultimately knowledge. Many years ago I was selling cable TV [ Read more… ]

Corporate thinking – a gentle version

From our daily member newsletter on March 13, 2018

It continues to be my observation of our members that for the most part we tend to move from large companies to small. Part of the reason is that we have no choice. Large companies generally speaking don’t hire senior executives from the outside. They try to grow their own. In any case, that leaves many of us from large corporations carrying the “burden” of perhaps several decades of experience in the ways of large corporations. I say burden because we only know what we know. Although the many tools we have learned in large corporations have their applicability, it is often difficult to know how to apply them in a smaller environment. A 5-year strategic plan, for example, simply [ Read more… ]

An inner circle of friends

From our daily member newsletter on March 12, 2018

If there is any topic I discuss more than any other in phone conversations and in face to face meetings with new members and old members alike, it is the process of creating your very own inner circle of friends. All you have to do is talk to friends of yours who have found jobs to see how high networking ranks as compared to all other forms of job search and to understand how important it is to create this exclusive and perhaps elusive kind of group for yourself. (And if you do have one, it is never big enough, so read on.) The first step is to figure out how to use our Member Directory Search feature. It really [ Read more… ]

Taking a punch

From our daily member newsletter on March 11, 2018

One of the lesser rated but most important traits of a senior financial executive is his/her ability to take a punch. I say lesser rated because many of our members who I have talked to over the years feel that having had a punch thrown at them and not having the good sense to duck is something they should somehow be embarrassed about. Let me be clear that everyone has punches thrown at them and inevitably you are going to be looking the other way and get hit by one of them. You can’t be alive for any significant length of time and not be caught off guard from time to time. That doesn’t make it your fault. Being hit [ Read more… ]

Managing our growth

From our daily member newsletter on March 8, 2018

By a significant margin, we are now the largest networking group of senior financial executives in the entire world. Not only that, but by any measure, we are more connected with each other on a national basis than any other organization as well. And, our reputation is well known. We no longer are a “secret society.” Over the “next piece of time” our goal as an organization is to manage our growth and strengthen the ties that bind all of us together and to our many audiences. The first step each of you can take on a daily or weekly basis is to be in touch with your fellow members. I hope that you will take seriously my request that [ Read more… ]

Square pegs for round holes

From our daily member newsletter on March 7, 2018

As someone who always suggested to his children that a pair of scissors would be a good tool for putting together jigsaw puzzles, perhaps I am not the right person to be constantly preaching about “qualified members only.” Still, having the SPECIFIC experience for a particular job posting is, generally speaking, the best situation for any job applicant. The reason is that you can’t easily talk to a job posting. When reviewing resumes against a position description, about 50% goes to location, 25% goes to industry background, and the remaining amount is a subjective judgment of your technical skills. So, what’s a person to do if they are the puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit anywhere? Well, I would suggest [ Read more… ]

Brutally direct advice

From our daily member newsletter on March 6, 2018

The FENG is a society based on helping others. (Not that they actually need our help, of course.) I realize that, at times, members are in a sensitive state and I try to act accordingly. But, I don’t really know if providing brutally direct advice is better than soft peddling what they absolutely have to do. As Butch Cassidy said in the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”: “Don’t sugarcoat it Sundance, tell it to her straight.” The question is which is better? At our meeting in Connecticut I am frequently listening to at least a few pretty bad 90-second announcements over the course of a two-hour meeting. Even though I try to model a good announcement by going [ Read more… ]

Hurry up and wait

From our daily member newsletter on March 5, 2018

The mindset that is most appropriate for a job search is very much like my Army experience where we used to lament what we referred to as “hurry up and wait.” As raw recruits, we were expected to arrive at points at the previously appointed minute, whether or not others were ready for us. We would “double time” to ensure we weren’t late and then be kept waiting for what seem like hours and often was. As we used to say: “That’s the Army for you.” (Other words were used as well, but this is a G rated newsletter and I cannot repeat them here or in mixed company.) It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that [ Read more… ]

The 400 pound phone

From our daily member newsletter on March 4, 2018

Just as an experiment, I unplugged my phone from my desk today and took it upstairs and put it on our bathroom scale. (My office is in my house.) I am sure the scale is wrong because I couldn’t get the scale to even register the weight of the phone. But then, the scale is generally used to calculate my weight, and I guess the phone doesn’t weigh as much as I do. If a phone did weigh as much as most folks seem to think it does, it would probably crush my desk or break my toe if I accidentally dropped it. I don’t know, perhaps the part you put up to your ear is heavy. Or, is it [ Read more… ]

Don’t act desperate

From our daily member newsletter on March 1, 2018

The volume of your responses to job leads posted in our evening newsletter is always a concern of mine. With the strengthening job market for senior financial officers, one of the many things we have going for us AT THE MOMENT is our fine relationship with the search community. (Be sure to have recruiters register at our website if they are not already Friends of The FENG. There is a new “Recruiter Toolbox” available to them once they do which allows them to explore our demographics. I can assure you they will find this toolbox to be of great interest.) While it may be true that the viability of the major posting boards as a resource for recruiters is limited [ Read more… ]

The sploosh syndrome

From our daily member newsletter on February 28, 2018

Life onboard a boat, whether sail or power, is in many respects different than life on dry land. I was watching Ax Men on the History Channel a few years ago and the crew dropped a bolt on the ground from one of their pieces of equipment for which they didn’t have a replacement. Despite the “needle in the haystack” nature of this problem, they actually found it in the pile of logs and dirt. Not so out on the water. When something goes “over the side,” it makes a brief sploosh sound and then it is GONE. I suppose if it were large enough and expensive enough you could call a diver, but that is generally not the nature [ Read more… ]

Explaining the magic

From our daily member newsletter on February 27, 2018

One of the great challenges we face as financial folks is explaining to non-financial types what we do for a living. And, some of us financial types do things that are so esoteric that we need to work hard to even explain what we do to fellow financial types. At one time, I was Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency. To be quite honest, the accounting aspects of the job were not all that difficult. For example, we had no international operations and we were initially privately held. That said, what WAS difficult was getting all of those individuals with egos as big as all outdoors to work together to make a profit and preventing them from “burning the [ Read more… ]

Keeping busy and productive

From our daily member newsletter on February 26, 2018

One of our members wrote me a while back and asked me about how to keep a proper attitude when your job search stretches into what seems like an eternity. The reason he addressed this question to me is that he noted that I have mentioned on several occasions that beginning in March of 1991 I was unemployed for almost 2 years. (It was only 1 year and 9 months, but who’s counting?) This is not an easy question to answer from many perspectives. Time has dimmed my memory to a certain extent. (And, not only about my job search. Those senior moments happen more frequently lately, but I digress.) When I left my job in 1991 as Chief Financial [ Read more… ]

The challenge of redefining yourself

From our daily member newsletter on February 25, 2018

I have had several at length conversations with members from financial services organizations over the years. Fortunately, or unfortunately for me, I have no experience working at a bank, insurance company, capital markets firm, or asset management organization. As a result, I have been somewhat hard pressed to help in the challenge of creating an appropriate focus for their job search activities. The best thing that can happen to anyone looking for a job is to find an identical job with another firm. As in my case, if you were Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency, become a Chief Financial Officer at another Advertising Agency. That is clearly your highest and best value added. The business is identical and [ Read more… ]

Asking for the world’s smallest favor

From our daily member newsletter on February 22, 2018

Although most of us have acquired enough manners over the course of our lives that we know enough not to ask a stranger to give us his/her seat on a bus or train, when it comes to networking, I find that many folks don’t know when they have overstepped their bounds. The approach I would suggest to you is what I call “asking for the world’s smallest favor.” The silence is palpable when you are face to face with a networking contact and you ask for something you shouldn’t. It is much harder to see this same “stormy silence” through email when often times it is a non-response. The first “smell test” on a favor you are about to ask [ Read more… ]

Listening & throwing up

From our daily member newsletter on February 21, 2018

One of the many skills we always need to be polishing as financial professionals is our listening skills. The problem begins with the fact that as financial professionals we are more comfortable receiving our information in written form. Put us in a “selling” situation, especially over the telephone, and our listening skills may not be serving us very well. As we all get into personal selling, and that is what networking is all about, we fall into a syndrome called “throwing up on the customer.” Briefly what happens is that we are so into our sales pitch about ourselves that we forget to listen. An additional element to be considered is the normal human reluctance to “do business” with strangers. [ Read more… ]

What have you accomplished?

From our daily member newsletter on February 20, 2018

I hope that over the past few days everyone has gotten a few ideas for the framework of their resume. In order to “get into the game,” you need to have a clean looking resume with the major points discussed in the past few days “looking good.” Now that your resume has been selected for further examination, what you write in your accomplishments or bullet points can make the difference between your being picked or discarded in this final round. The issues you develop for this section can take a lot of forms, and I don’t have a strong preference. All I can say for sure is that they all need to be well written with no typographical errors. While [ Read more… ]

The 80/20 rule

From our daily member newsletter on February 19, 2018

I have always been a keen observer of managers. One of my favorites was a gentleman who worked at the Thomson Corporation in a senior financial role. He was one of those tall wiry types who always seemed to be in motion even when he was standing still. Sort of like your favorite basketball coach. (He also talked loud most of the time like he was trying to be heard over a crowd. But, I digress.) Anyway, one of my favorite discussions he held was at a meeting shortly after I met him when he discoursed at length on the good old 80/20 rule. (He also talked about giving him a 20,000 foot review of your areas of responsibility, but [ Read more… ]

The tried and true

From our daily member newsletter on February 18, 2018

You would think that with all the books and materials written about how to write a resume, that each and every one that came across my desk would be close to perfect. Well, you would be wrong if you thought so. Under the heading of “explaining the meaning and purpose of life,” I thought I would write about the how’s and why’s of resume writing to perhaps explain the unexplainable to those who have, through no fault of their own, “strayed from the path.” Let me start with a few simple ideas. Although a resume appears to be a reverse chronological recital of your work history, it is actually a selling document. One point of particular importance is that it [ Read more… ]

Maintaining your self-esteem

From our daily member newsletter on February 15, 2018

Maintaining your self-esteem during a job search can be difficult at times, especially if your search has been going on for any length of time. So much of who we perceive ourselves to be comes from the reflection of our personalities upon those with whom we are engaged on a daily basis. Cut off from an office environment where folks were bringing us checks to sign, we tend to lose sight of the fact that we haven’t changed. All that has changed is that we don’t see as many folks every day to give us that kind of reinforcement. There is a great importance to visualizing success. In brief, it takes just as much energy to think negatively as it [ Read more… ]

Call me Mr. Know-it-all

From our daily member newsletter on February 14, 2018

One of the most endearing qualities of us financial folks is that we almost always have a firm opinion about everything. And, if we don’t have an opinion about something, we figure we can reason one out. (Hey, just take the facts and multiply by two!) It is sort of part and parcel of who we are. Nothing wrong with it, per se, but it does get in the way of getting advice from others, which is an essential part of the networking process. Believe it or not, APPEARING to be open to new ideas is a lot harder than it sounds. (Or, I’m not as stupid as I look.) For example, members will often announce at meetings that they [ Read more… ]

Life changing events

From our daily member newsletter on February 13, 2018

There are many things that can happen to you in your life that change your perspective. Losing your job and/or having to find another one, easily falls into this category. As you all know, The FENG is a networking group, it is not a job listing service. Sure, we publish lots and lots of job leads, but that is more than a little misleading with regard to our real purpose. Perhaps at this point in the state of the world, even the word networking has become a little shop worn. Still, absent a better word, we will have to live with it. About 90% of our members are men. And, men have their own peculiarities about how they see the [ Read more… ]

Sharing job leads

From our daily member newsletter on February 12, 2018

The sharing of job leads has been an integral part of The FENG for so long that I have come to believe that everyone in the entire world understands the reasons why we do it. Alas, it isn’t true. A few years ago, I had an exchange with a member of the search community who was upset that one of our members had posted a job lead sent to him in our newsletter, apparently without permission. Putting this part of the problem aside for the moment, the recruiter’s additional comment was: I have NEVER in my life understood why someone looking for a job, or someone outplaced would share a job specification with one million possible competitors for the job???!!!! [ Read more… ]

Is it business or personal?

From our daily member newsletter on February 11, 2018

In the closing scene of the first Godfather movie the individual who betrayed Don Corleone is being led away. Just before he gets into the car to his certain death, he turns to consigliere Tom Hagan and says that he hopes he understands that it was all about business and that it was nothing personal. Well, it didn’t change things for him. His fate was unchanged. Too many things in this world are strictly about business. I’m glad that The FENG isn’t one of them. Everything about our circle of friends is INTENDED to be personal. I hope you have noticed that I sign the newsletter “Regards, Matt” and that all of our job leads are “From” someone. The tone [ Read more… ]

Helping out the competition

From our daily member newsletter on February 8, 2018

Over the years that I have been writing editorials, I have devoted a lot of time to discussing the basics of job search. Why? Because I often can’t believe what folks send us for assignments being handled by The FECG. In a world of more candidates than there are jobs, people who screen resumes often develop arbitrary rules to eliminate candidates. By arbitrary, I mean to imply that they often don’t take the time to look beyond embarrassing errors in spelling, grammar and resume formats or fonts that make your opus hard to read to seek out your “true value.” As I have said many times, the burden of communication is on you. Let me be clear. Your sloppiness or [ Read more… ]

A few observations

From our daily member newsletter on February 7, 2018

I hope you all don’t mind, but I am going to ramble a bit tonight about some very important job search issues. The most important issue I am going to cover is outgoing signatures. If you don’t know what one is, you are already in a lot of trouble. I am considering hitting the delete key on any message I receive from a member of The FENG that doesn’t have an outgoing signature. It would cut my required correspondence to 20%. Yes, about 80% of the messages I get don’t have one. If you do have an outgoing signature, let me make the point that one should appear even on replies. I realize that Microsoft in their wisdom believes this [ Read more… ]

Homogeneous groups and pitfalls

From our daily member newsletter on February 6, 2018

Is there a possible pitfall in sticking with a homogeneous group of unemployed people? First of all, I would never suggest to anyone that they should solely and exclusively network within The FENG. What I have suggested and do strongly suggest is that you START with our networking group and use it to springboard your way to presidents and general managers who might need a “been there, done that” senior financial officer. Just as every great journey starts with a single step, so too does success at networking start with a few successes. Us shy financial types need to experience a positive result to keep on coming back for the inevitable beatings that will come our way as we network [ Read more… ]

I never met a job I didn’t like

From our daily member newsletter on February 5, 2018

Will Rogers is remembered as saying: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I only wish everyone reviewing job possibilities would keep in mind the job search equivalent as stated above. Most jobs, upon initial examination, are bound to have more than a few flaws. Let’s face it, if it was an easy job, they wouldn’t need a well experienced financial officer like you to solve the huge mess they have gotten themselves into. Let me point out that it is the height of stupidity to say “no” to a job that hasn’t even been offered to you. Perhaps the commute is too far, or the money is too low or the job responsibilities aren’t broad enough. However, it [ Read more… ]

Dropping in a little artillery

From our daily member newsletter on February 4, 2018

The truth is that even friends sometimes don’t get back to you when you call. Ever wonder why? So, if friends have trouble returning calls, is it possible that strangers might be even more reluctant to return phone calls? I guess the real question is not why folks don’t return phone calls, but what steps can we take as master networkers to improve our results? What factors do you suspect are at work? Let’s be generous and accept the fact that the world of work is a busy place and the individuals we are trying to reach are those folks who control what I like to call work opportunities. Let us also accept the fact that speech is the slowest [ Read more… ]

Interrogate or dummy up?

From our daily member newsletter on February 1, 2018

Speaking with strangers is never fun. And, if these strangers are deciding whether or not to hire you, it can be a little stressful, especially if you want the job. There are so many ways to offend and so few ways to ingratiate yourself without appearing overly solicitous. In the classic “damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” the asking of questions during an interview can be very tricky indeed. For those of you who watch a lot of lawyer shows, I hope you know the lawyers’ rule: Never ask a question to which you don’t already know the answer. It is a good rule and one that is applicable here. Questions during an interview need to be [ Read more… ]

At a glance

From our daily member newsletter on January 31, 2018

There is a rumor out in the world that the attention span of your “average American” is getting shorter. Sad to say, but most likely very true. We see it all around us. So many things are screaming for our attention on a given day. Before the advent of computers it was quite a bit harder to respond to job postings. The gold standard was a personally written letter, and how many could a person crank out in a single day? I type 90 words a minute, and when I was in the Army I was fortunate to be in a clerical position where I had my very own typewriter. Still, I couldn’t write very many letters in a single [ Read more… ]

A gap or a cover-up?

From our daily member newsletter on January 30, 2018

Time goes by fast when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? And what greater fun is there than conducting a job search? Okay, it may not be as much fun as it appears to be to those looking in from the outside. But still, you can’t beat those lunches and phone calls with old friends, not to mention all the strangers who are strangers no longer. Unfortunately as the weeks and months go by that old standby on your resume of “2010 to present” rings less and less true, and “2010 to 2016” looks even worse. There are many issues to consider in solving this time problem on your resume. The first is that financial folks generally speaking have great difficulty [ Read more… ]

Selling life jackets to those drowning

From our daily member newsletter on January 29, 2018

Since a significant percentage of our members are in the job market, I thought I would make you aware that almost all of the job search related websites are in the business of selling life jackets to people who are drowning. And, the life jackets they sell don’t actually work. An alternate way of saying it is they are trying to pick your pocket. Job leads, in and of themselves, are almost totally and completely worthless. Heresy perhaps. Yes, someone does win the lottery every day. Yes, you should leave no stone unturned. Still, the perceived value of a job lead, especially on an Internet website, is a LOT less than you think it is. And, be aware that many [ Read more… ]

Geese and golden eggs

From our daily member newsletter on January 28, 2018

I am sure that I don’t need to repeat the fable of the goose that laid golden eggs, so I will move right into the analogy. The goose is The FENG (also a living organism) and the golden eggs are the ability to network with other members. (If networking isn’t true gold, I don’t know what is.) In order to keep our goose laying golden eggs, all we have to do is treat it well. And, that is why I always recommend being VERY selective in developing your mailing lists of your fellow members of our august body. We need to exercise due care because what might appear to save you time can easily diminish the value of our circle [ Read more… ]

I’m a complicated guy

From our daily member newsletter on January 25, 2018

I always try to tell people who ask that I am just a simple financial guy. But I guess the truth is that all of us financial types are complicated in one way or another. Unlike lawyers and doctors who (thanks to Hollywood) everyone THINKS they know what they do every day, our profession (other than our role in stealing investor’s money) is not very well known. Let’s face it, a TV show about us would probably put everyone to sleep. (Hey, I’m feeling groggy just writing about us.) When asked to do a 90 second announcement about our career, we are hard pressed to find the right words. And how could it be otherwise? What we do IS complicated [ Read more… ]

Removing mental obstacles

From our daily member newsletter on January 24, 2018

A very long time ago, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of our Hartford/Springfield chapter. I was one of two guest speakers. The other speaker was a gentleman from Robert Half who spoke about the local market. What was of particular interest to me was his perception of people who lived in the area and how those who lived in Massachusetts wouldn’t consider jobs just over the border in Connecticut and those who lived on one side of the river wouldn’t consider jobs on the other side, even though all of these possibilities were within 30 miles of their homes and traffic really wasn’t any worse in the various directions. It got me to thinking about how easy [ Read more… ]

Making networking benefit YOU

From our daily member newsletter on January 23, 2018

I am always trying to explain networking to users. Tonight I am going to try to explain networking to givers. The common misperception is that networking is a give and take. You give to others and they take. Nothing could be further from the truth. Networking as I suggest it be practiced in The FENG is a process that should benefit YOU as much as those to whom you give networking contacts. How so? Let me explain. If you are contacted by someone who has a background connection to you, your goal is to present them to someone you know will be delighted to hear from them. Not always easy to figure out, but if the person contacting you is [ Read more… ]

Sharing with the family

From our daily member newsletter on January 22, 2018

Job search can be a lonely business. There you are, in your home office from the moment you get up in the morning until just before you go to bed. Emails are going out. Letters are being sent. Appointments are being made. (And, the only time you leave the house is for this purpose.) The problem is, have you found a way to share with your family what you are doing every day and what progress you are making? Yes, I know progress is hard to measure. I hear it often from members that they tried this or that many times, but of course it hasn’t worked yet. It seems the only measure we feel comfortable as meaning anything is [ Read more… ]

E I E I O

From our daily member newsletter on January 21, 2018

I suppose I could be wrong about all of this, but I find the use of “, MBA” as part of your name to be a bad idea. Yes, I know that not everyone has an MBA, but in my opinion unless you are a CPA or a Ph.D., you need to exercise a little caution in the initials you place after your name. My sister sells commercial insurance and as I understand it, every time you take a test of some sort you get another set of initials you can use after your name. At meetings where you might be introduced, they read your name and ALL of your initials which everyone at these gatherings of fellow insurance folks [ Read more… ]

Attention to detail

From our daily member newsletter on January 18, 2018

Stop me if I am wrong, but I always thought that financial folks were known for their attention to detail. Aren’t we known as total compulsives, or did I miss something? Sad to say, but it apparently isn’t true. Most of my daily communication is from fellow financial executives and I am continually appalled at the mistakes of all kinds that I see in what they send me. I was reviewing candidates for one of my assignments for The FECG recently and I couldn’t believe how many email cover letters had no information at all, had no subject, didn’t follow directions on the file naming convention I request, or had cover letters attached that began “Dear Sir or Madam.” You’ll [ Read more… ]

Save the Nauga

From our daily member newsletter on January 17, 2018

I assume that most of you are unaware that in addition to being Chairman of The FENG, I am also president of the Save The Nauga Society. I have been actively involved in trying to save the nauga from extinction for many years. While naugas existed in most parts of the world in large numbers, over the years they have been hunted for their hides for use in making furniture. In my youth, my parents had chairs and a couch covered in material made from naugas. These cute little creatures have very tough skin and the product that is made from it is, of course, called Naugahyde. While one can’t argue with the durability of furniture covered in Naugahyde, these [ Read more… ]

They aren’t making any more of it

From our daily member newsletter on January 16, 2018

Ah, that very useful invention of mine, the day stretcher. If only it actually worked. Not only doesn’t it work, but it would also appear that there is nothing one can do about time that is lost. Once time has passed, it is gone. (When sailing, it is similar to what I call the sploosh syndrome, which I apply to anything that falls over board that doesn’t float.) It is a shame we can’t make our days longer or actually make up for lost time, but it is one of those “facts of life” that we can’t do anything about. All that is left for us to do is to make the best use of the time we have each [ Read more… ]

Selling from a full wagon

From our daily member newsletter on January 15, 2018

Although it is certainly true that it isn’t possible to sell from an empty wagon, the difficulty of selling from one that is full is greatly under rated. As senior financial professionals, and as individuals not seriously trained in sales, we frequently find ourselves in the position of have too much to sell and not enough listening skills in place early in a search process to be able to know what our “customers” want to buy. New salespersons in training typically do what is called in personal selling terms “throwing up on the customer.” All of the hard gained product knowledge is brought forth in one giant burp before the customer can squeeze a word in edgewise. Not a good [ Read more… ]

Getting back at it

From our daily member newsletter on January 14, 2018

Okay sports fans, the new year has begun. It is now January 14th and time is slipping away. At the moment this year promises to be a good one for employment. (Then again, the light at the end of the tunnel I am seeing could be a speeding locomotive.) Although you have to “do it all,” I would suggest that your area of greatest focus needs to be networking, networking, networking. (And then, if you have time, more networking.) Networking within The FENG needs to be conducted with research and careful thoughtfulness as to the time of other members. I have in recent weeks seen several inappropriate approaches. As much as I encourage members to communicate with one another, please [ Read more… ]

Geese and golden eggs

From our daily member newsletter on January 11, 2018

One of our very most important audiences are members of the search community who are registered as Friends of The FENG. When you communicate with these folks, briefly, you are expected to behave yourself. Members of The FENG are expected to only respond when reasonably qualified. What does this mean? If you wouldn’t hire you for the job in question, don’t respond. Job leads are unfortunately a beauty contest of sorts. With all the well qualified people who are out there in the world, the candidate pool is deep. Let me give you a recruiter’s perspective on how one might go through a pile of resumes. The first criteria is industry. Hopefully you have put a one line descriptor after [ Read more… ]

Knowing what’s important

From our daily member newsletter on January 10, 2018

I always find it interesting during 90-second announcements how nearly identical are the descriptions of “ideal jobs” when compared to the one a member has most recently left. Since we are all financial folks, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. As history based individuals, it is hard to have any view of the world that isn’t colored by our past experience. Add to this the fact that we KNOW what we have been doing, but are not aware of ALL the possibilities out in the world. On the flipside, some members claim to be “all things to all people,” when clearly their background only lends itself to very narrow applications. A job search needs to be viewed as a new [ Read more… ]

Let’s keep it a secret

From our daily member newsletter on January 9, 2018

Any more than someone would write “Please Broadcast Widely” at the top of their resume, putting “Confidential” is just as silly in many ways. I’m sure that this is written up somewhere as the appropriate thing to do, so I am not faulting anyone who does it, but it really is unnecessary. It is just as silly to not show your current employer and to put in something like “Major Manufacturer.” It is unfortunate, but those doing search these days have even less time for mysteries than those who were doing it before the Great Recession set in. The volume of email and paperwork that crosses one’s desk today is beyond belief. If you want to get yourself excluded from [ Read more… ]

Putting your best foot forward

From our daily member newsletter on January 8, 2018

The development of a resume can be a long and involved process. There are so many ideas that others have to share with you, and each person with whom you speak has their own perspective about what is right and what is wrong. Your resume is also in part an historical document charged with chronicling your career from formal education through most recent work assignment. Some of the nonsense, misapplied these days, centers on the idea that only the most recent 10 years are of interest to the reader. True, but that doesn’t mean leave off everything earlier. The formatting and shaping of a resume is so much easier today than it was back in 1991 when I faced my [ Read more… ]

A rose by any other name

From our daily member newsletter on January 7, 2018

Back in 1991 after I had been out of work for only a few weeks I sent out a mailing and somehow managed to get an interview with a guy who looked and talked like Frank Perdue. After we shook hands, he offered me his business card and asked for mine. I told him I didn’t have one. He then asked me if I had a name. I said yes. He asked me if I had an address. I said yes. He asked me if I had a phone number. I said yes. Well, he said, you should have a business card. Fortunately for me, he moved on with the interview. But, lesson learned, I went out the next day [ Read more… ]

Hanging on to unpleasantness

From our daily member newsletter on January 4, 2018

I don’t know if you remember “Rain Man” with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, but there was one scene where Tom Cruise either hit or yelled at Dustin Hoffman and Dustin proceeded to write it down in a notebook he carried. He was very meticulous in noting the “offense” and the date and time. In much the same way I hear stories all the time from our members about various things that have happened to them over the course of their job search. I’m sure the offending person has continued on their way without noting the damage that they have done, but the pain they have inflicted often remains as strongly felt as the day it happened. It is easy [ Read more… ]

There’s honestly no excuse

From our daily member newsletter on January 3, 2018

There was a time, I suppose, when it was really hard to get back to people. Let’s say someone sent you a smoke signal. I guess you would first have to build a fire, and a smoky one at that. If they sent you a message towards the end of the day, would you really have enough time to respond? And, if you waited until the morning, how would you know if they were still listening? If someone sent you a papyrus scroll, not only would you feel obligated to respond, you probably would have to feed and house the messenger who brought it while you prepared your own papyrus scroll. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Well, it probably was. If [ Read more… ]

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