EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Making small talk

From our daily member newsletter on September 21, 2017

I have never considered myself a social butterfly, but I guess for many of us financial types it is difficult to start a conversation with someone we don’t know. If you give a little thought to conversations you have had over your life with people not known to you, you will fondly remember the favorite topic most of those discussions began with was the weather. (As you know, everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it, but I digress.) If weather isn’t the chosen topic, traffic, sports (How about those Yankees?) will all suffice. Religion and politics are generally not good ideas for conversation openers with strangers. I suppose the reason that one might start out [ Read more… ]

People don’t go there anymore

From our daily member newsletter on September 20, 2017

Yogi Berra has been known to have said some pretty amusing things. One of my favorites is: “People don’t go there anymore, it’s too crowded.” We all know what Yogi means by all the things he is claimed to have said and it tends to bring a smile to our face, or at least to mine. But, with this particular one, the reverse is also true. If everyone thinks that no one is going to show up, or that a meeting is not going to be well attended, they simply won’t go. And, presto, the meeting isn’t well attended. A self-fulfilling prophesy. Some of our chapters have a reputation for energizing meetings. Some chapters seem to have trouble getting that [ Read more… ]

It’s always about people

From our daily member newsletter on September 19, 2017

One of the most vexing problems potentially facing those who are active in their search is the decision to accept a job offer you don’t really think is right for you. The agonizing issue of turning down a job offer is only matched by the difficulty of getting one in the first place. Those who have senior level work experience don’t usually get a lot of job offers, and needing the money, they are hard to turn down. Let me start with the idea that if you have 20 years or more of work experience you should have a very good sense of who you are willing to work for in the years to come. By this, I am not [ Read more… ]

The sounds of silence

From our daily member newsletter on September 18, 2017

If losing your job wasn’t bad enough, the reluctance of business associates at your former company, as well as those who serviced your company as attorneys, accountants or recruiters to return your phone calls can be particularly disheartening. Actually, if you gave it some thought, you wouldn’t be all that shocked or surprised that they don’t. Let’s understand that in most cases when you leave a company everyone involved is typically sworn to secrecy. The “story” as to why you have left may even have been agreed to in writing, the violation of which could very well be cause for legal action by you. Since secrecy is normally the case, is it any wonder that no one at the firm [ Read more… ]

The small town syndrome

From our daily member newsletter on September 17, 2017

I am always chatting with potential sponsors for The FENG and from time to time the character of each of our chapters comes up. They are, of course, all different. Here in the Northeast I suppose there almost aren’t any boundaries. We get visitors to our chapter meeting from pretty far away and I know from talking to members attending our meeting in Westport that they often attend meetings in Westchester and New York City. Around here, the whole world is open to you from a job perspective as well. There are simply lots of possibilities if you are willing to commute by train or drive. Not so in other parts of the country. Many of our local chapters, while [ Read more… ]

Working the room

From our daily member newsletter on September 14, 2017

Bashfulness has never been my strong suit. Nevertheless, when confronted with a room of strangers, it is never easy to figure out a logical way of connecting with appropriate folks. However, having the courage to do so is actually easier. Let’s start with preparation. You need to have business cards. The truth is that they don’t have to be all that fancy, just your name, rank and serial number is sufficient, but you do have to have them. One of the grand gestures of business life is handing someone your business card and asking them for one of theirs. It is hard to come up with a good excuse not to hand you back a business card when you have [ Read more… ]

Yeah, what do you want?

From our daily member newsletter on September 13, 2017

Sometimes the phone here are world headquarters gets a little quiet. Several minutes can go by and no one calls. It is enough to get you a little out of practice in answering the phone. So, from time to time I just pick up the phone (even though it isn’t ringing) and say hello to see if my energized greeting is still inside my head. As you know, practice makes perfect. Being a professional phone person I can tell a lot about the person on the other end of the phone within the first few seconds of the call. I have found that these are the critical nanoseconds when you can easily influence the tone of the conversation to follow. [ Read more… ]

Docking your boat

From our daily member newsletter on September 12, 2017

Let’s start with the fact that she weighs about 22,000+ lbs., and instead of being on dry land with wheels in firm contact with asphalt, it is more like driving a car on glare ice, only harder. I have been heard to say that there are only two difficult times when you are sailing – leaving the dock and returning to the dock, with returning to the dock being the harder of the two. When you are out in the middle of Long Island Sound there are certainly times when the boat is hard to handle. Still, the prospect of “crunching a little fiberglass” – yours or someone else’s – like hanging in the morning, tends to focus the mind. [ Read more… ]

Giving and taking advice

From our daily member newsletter on September 11, 2017

It is well understood that men don’t like unsolicited advice. It is for this reason we tend not to ask for directions at the gas station. It is a macho thing driving around for hours, lost beyond hope, and yet not stopping for help. (Thank goodness for GPS!) One of our many fine traditions at the Westport Chapter is a little coaching on 90-second announcements and resumes that we do as we go around the table. Our goal is not to put anyone down, but rather to search for ways to improve the message being delivered. Having regularly attended our meeting in Westport every month since 1996, I have heard more than my fair share of these pitches. Perhaps my [ Read more… ]

Making a pest of yourself

From our daily member newsletter on September 10, 2017

As I am sure all of you know, one of your responsibilities as a member is, to the best of your ability, to only respond to job postings when you are reasonably qualified. The greatest majority of job postings in our newsletter come your way through the good offices of your fellow members. If they are posted under my name, they are the result of our organization’s great reputation. (Your esteemed Chairman, in his role as official silver tongued devil of The FENG, may also have very recently extolled the significant benefits of becoming a “Friend of The FENG” upon these very fortunate members of the search community. Just as “birds of a feather flock together,” recruiters tend to specialize. [ Read more… ]

The proper placement of obstacles

From our daily member newsletter on September 7, 2017

As we go around the table at our meeting here in Connecticut, I am always surprised by the time devoted in 90 second announcements to where folks won’t move and what kinds of jobs they won’t take. I have always been of the philosophy that I will go anywhere to talk to anyone about anything. Okay, fine, there are limits, but I try not to set them before hand and create reasons why others shouldn’t talk to me. By keeping an open mind as to what the “correct answer” might be I hope that I receive more information than I might otherwise. Changing jobs can be a traumatic time. (Actually any change can be traumatic.) Because of the stress involved [ Read more… ]

The fall networking season

From our daily member newsletter on September 6, 2017

As you all know, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of the season we call summer. So much for lazy days at the beach and relaxing vacations. It is time to get back to work. If you are “between assignments” it is also the unofficial beginning of the fall networking season. Yes, I know that there will be football games on TV, but it is also the season of getting out and about, making new friends and hopefully finding a source of income. (We used to call them jobs, but I don’t want to get carried away with myself.) While it is probably best that you didn’t call anyone on Tuesday and even maybe today, tomorrow is a good day [ Read more… ]

Doing the “friend thing”

From our daily member newsletter on September 5, 2017

Over the past few months I have gotten several notes from members commenting on how they responded to a posting in our newsletter even though they hadn’t seen it. How did this miracle occur you might ask? One of their fellow members took the time to send it to them to ensure that they saw it. They didn’t think to themselves “Oh, he/she probably saw it.” They took a chance about being dismissed out of hand and MADE SURE that their friend had the chance to say aye or nay. That’s what doing the “friend thing” is all about. It is all very easy to sit around waiting for someone to call you so you can do them a favor. [ Read more… ]

Networking and holiday weekends

From our daily member newsletter on August 31, 2017

Tonight’s editorial will be short, but hopefully important. How can I say this? Holiday weekends are great networking events. Consider you will likely be with family and friends who actually care about you. If you are currently between assignments, you will have to initiate the conversation. Everyone will assume that you are in a sensitive mood and they will be afraid to bring it up. So, you have to bring it up. A great story to begin a positive conversation about your search is to let them know you are a member of the largest networking group of senior financial officers in the entire world! (There we go being modest again.) Share a story with them about how a member [ Read more… ]

The truth (as retold)

From our daily member newsletter on August 30, 2017

I know that many of our members are faced with the unpleasant truth that they have been out of work for a significant period of time. Having been out of work myself for almost two years, I know that this unpleasant question of “Why have you been out so long?” gets asked. Like anything else in life, if you don’t prepare a “proper” answer, you will begin to stammer. (Or, sweat!) The natural tendency of financial folks that you need to avoid is the very detailed answer. The good old “primarily due to, partially offset by” approach that we take to providing information is not only a bad idea, it is also unnecessary. As a defense attorney on TV would [ Read more… ]

Have you seen my glasses?

From our daily member newsletter on August 29, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I am always misplacing things. I work pretty hard at keeping my papers organized, but like anything else, papers can get lost. When they do, it makes me absolutely crazy. Even when I have another copy on my computer, I am obsessed to find the copy that is on my desk. Finding information on documents I also find maddening. Back in the early 70’s when I worked at B. Altman & Company as an Internal Auditor, I was just amazed at the inconsistencies in invoicing formats by the firms doing business in the same industry. I know you won’t believe this, but sometimes I can be a little impulsive. Yeah, I know, how could [ Read more… ]

Silver bullets and the tooth fairy

From our daily member newsletter on August 28, 2017

From time to time I get inquiries about the services of career consulting firms. (Please understand I am not talking about recognized and well respected outplacement firms such as Right Management and Lee Hecht Harrison, nor am I talking about a few individual Career Coaches who are known to me and to your fellow members.) For those of us over the age of 40 (and that’s just about everyone in The FENG), the specter of potential unemployment or under employment from now until the end of time can be a scary one. I understand and accept that. In addition, job search for those of us over 40 is more difficult. Not only are we over qualified for just about everything, [ Read more… ]

You’re not from around here

From our daily member newsletter on August 27, 2017

The number of qualified candidates in major metropolitan areas is always strong. The problem faced by our members in “one horse towns” is dealing with the issue of relocation when they apply for opportunities. Most of the folks I talk to who are not from major metropolitan areas feel they are at risk of being cast aside in the sorting process when they apply for jobs that aren’t close to their current location. Alas, it is probably true. It is a simple fact of life and only logical that companies would be less open to relocating folks if they have ample candidates nearby. To some degree, members living in major metropolitan areas who are open to relocation are faced with [ Read more… ]

Bestowing the gift of friendship

From our daily member newsletter on August 24, 2017

As all of you are out and about networking, I hope you are aware that one of your most important member responsibilities is to invite your new and old friends who are Senior Financial Officers to join The FENG. While it is certainly true that The FENG dominates our space. And, it may even be true that just about everyone who is a Senior Financial Officer and has a pulse is already a member. (I know it’s hard to tell sometimes since us financial folks are so low key.) That said, I hope there are some “unturned rocks” or “low hanging fruit” out there where you can find appropriate candidates to recommend. If networking is the gift that keeps on [ Read more… ]

Reasons for inaction

From our daily member newsletter on August 23, 2017

Labor Day is just around the corner. And, summer is just about over. There are, unfortunately, all kinds of events and holidays during the calendar year that can cause us to delay addressing our job search, and I thought I would use the “idea” of these dates as a prime example of the inaction it can cause in all of us, myself included. I think the fear that grips us is one of offending those we call. During the summer we can be calling networking contacts just before they are leaving on vacation or, just as bad, when they have just returned. We can be calling when folks are trying to leave early for holiday events or, as noted above, [ Read more… ]

A clear piece of communication

From our daily member newsletter on August 22, 2017

It isn’t often that I get a great resume, but I got one today. I guess I wasn’t surprised given who sent it to me. Although it was three pages, it was still crisp and concise. Perhaps it could have been shaved down to two pages, but it really didn’t bother me that it was a little longer than the “standard.” Here are a few of the things that made it near perfection: 1. It had a well written summary. There were no fluff words like “dynamic” or “born leader,” only prose that served to highlight the accomplishments that followed. 2. The names of all of the firms at which he worked appeared at the beginning of each section in [ Read more… ]

Junk mail

From our daily member newsletter on August 21, 2017

I don’t know what you consider to be junk mail. I view anything I don’t want to get in the mail (including bills) to be unwanted. (Can’t they send my bills to YOU for payment? Okay, you probably wouldn’t pay them and then my credit would be ruined. I guess I’ll have to come up with another plan.) Anyway, the same principle applies to email. We all get a lot of spam these days. It appears that asking to be taken off their list only serves to confirm your address, and you get even more junk email. Now if only I got offers for things I could actually use, or offers for stuff that REALLY was free. (Fine, this probably [ Read more… ]

Reading the tea leave

From our daily member newsletter on August 20, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard not to have my eyes glass over while reading job descriptions. It seems to me that they often put the most important information last, buried somewhere or disguised. I am, of course, referring to the EXACT city location of the job in question. Hey, they don’t want to pay for relocation and they don’t want to get too many resumes, but then they go and use phrases like “Northeast.” It is hard to make any sense of it all. Since I can’t post “Matt’s approach to writing position descriptions” on the Search Professionals website (because there isn’t one), we are probably stuck with this problem for the foreseeable future. Trust [ Read more… ]

Retained versus contingency

From our daily member newsletter on August 17, 2017

There is a great deal of fuss made out in “the world” about the difference between retained and contingency recruiters. If you want a full discussion about their differences and differing motivations, a very good source is “Rites of Passage” by John Lucht. The link to RiteSite.com appears every day in our newsletter if you would like to order this book. All recruiters handle jobs in which you might have interest. And, when they appear in our newsletter under someone’s name, you should give it your best shot by writing a proper cover letter and perhaps even customizing your resume to a degree. You see, when you are responding to a job lead handled by either group, you are in [ Read more… ]

Life is a journey

From our daily member newsletter on August 16, 2017

I have often noted to my friends who aren’t into boating that the difference between a power boater and a sail boater is that power boaters usually use their boats to go somewhere, whereas sail boaters are already there once they step onto their boat. In our goal driven, management by objectives, over achiever world, the difference in philosophy between someone who has an obsessive desire to reach a goal versus someone who lives for the journey is considerable. The truth is, of course, one can do both as long as you think about both. To me the purpose of sailing is to enjoy good times and adventures with my spouse, members of our family and our many friends. Whether [ Read more… ]

Spilling your guts

From our daily member newsletter on August 15, 2017

With all of the flap these days about integrity, I am concerned that members of The FENG, being honest financial types, will again fall into their natural propensity to tell too much about things that are no one’s business. I hope that I can trust you to blather on about all of your technical prowess and your many achievements. I also hope that you will explain at length about all matters that will enhance your candidacy for the position in question. However, when it comes to certain subjects about your past or future, it is perhaps best to “dummy up,” or at worst to say things that will be heard as direct answers. Please understand that I am not suggesting [ Read more… ]

Read any good books?

From our daily member newsletter on August 14, 2017

One of the little recognized facts about interviewing is that the most important part of what you are trying to accomplish in an interview is to make a personal connection with the interviewer. With all of the executive talent floating around these days, starting with the 40,000+ members of The FENG, your ability to distinguish yourself in those precious minutes you have with a decision maker is what is key. I would suggest to you that we tend to be nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel types of people. When we have work, we work. Sometimes for years. We tend not to network during those times, or even to read a few good books. We are just too [ Read more… ]

Give yourself a break

From our daily member newsletter on August 13, 2017

Back in 1991-1992 I was unemployed. Yes, two full years. Honestly, cash was starting to get a little tight. But more importantly, although I had a lot of free time, it was hard to enjoy it. Money, and the prospect of more, tends to focus the “let’s have some fun” part of our brains, whereas the “I don’t know if I will survive this” mindset prevents us from really enjoying our “time off” to any great degree. However, as one of my friends once said, “No one is out of work forever, it just seems that way.” Chances are those last few months in that Heck Hole you refer to as your most recent job were more than a little [ Read more… ]

Rejected out of hand

From our daily member newsletter on August 10, 2017

If there is one thing that is certain about us financial types it is that we always know the answer. Ask us a question and it isn’t long before we are well into the “primarily due to’s and partially offset by’s.” Yet, this major strength of ours and important skill set is an impediment to success at job search. Our perception of the world, much like other human beings, is colored by our experiences, and in our world job change typically hasn’t happened as frequently as it has for many other categories of workers. When I was in my mid-40’s, an art director friend of mine told me that he had already worked at 25 different advertising agencies, some of [ Read more… ]

By way of explanation

From our daily member newsletter on August 9, 2017

Whenever I sit and review candidates for assignments being handled through The FECG, I can’t help but be disappointed by many of the cover letters we get. I know that those who are applying feel they are qualified for the job in question, and being a financial guy myself, I know you could do the job. (Hey, us financial types can do anything!) Although if you have the time, it can often make sense to modify your resume for a specific opportunity, more often than not there just isn’t time. So, what to do? Well, your cover letter is a perfect place to provide explanations for a variety of obvious questions that inquiring minds need answered. Let’s start with that [ Read more… ]

Meeting the RIGHT folks

From our daily member newsletter on August 8, 2017

Being successful at getting meetings with potential decision makers who don’t have a job right now, but who might make one for you after they meet you, is why networking is the most successful approach to finding a job. Frankly, this is how most business is really done at our level. If you have only gotten interviews through ads or recruiters you are probably wondering how do those lucky dudes do it? How do they manage to get in front of the right people and sweet talk them into offering them a job? Keep in mind that you are not a pea in a pod. You are a unique accumulation of talents acquired over a number of years. If you [ Read more… ]

That strange device with the numbers

From our daily member newsletter on August 7, 2017

Although I must admit that I no longer use #2 pencils, I am still greatly addicted to using that ancient device called a phone. If you’re not sure what that is, it has a keyboard that looks a lot like a 10 key pad, but the number 1 is in the upper left hand corner of the 12 key array instead of the lower left hand corner (where it should be), like on an adding machine. (If anyone knows why it’s reversed, please write to me. I’m dying to know.) Some of you may be so old (like me) to also know phones that had rotary dials. (This is where the phrase “dial him up” comes from.) In today’s world [ Read more… ]

Time stands still

From our daily member newsletter on August 6, 2017

I can never understand why people hesitate in contacting old friends. It has been one of the blessings in my life that over the 20+ years that I have been Chairing this august body, I have been able to reconnect with almost all of the people I worked with since the 1970’s. (Yes, I am that old!) I have even reconnected with some new friends that I have only known 10-20 years. My experience has been that anyone you have ever known is DELIGHTED to hear from you. This goes for old “enemies” as well. While you may have argued at length with some of these idiots (Did I say idiots? I meant uninformed individuals.), the “discussion” was actually about [ Read more… ]

Members in need of assistance

From our daily member newsletter on August 3, 2017

I am sure I don’t need to tell all of you that The FENG is a remarkable organization. It is also unusual in its tone. If I had to come up with two reasons why things are different in The FENG than in the rest of the world, I would start with the fact that EVERYONE in The FENG was sponsored for membership. Because we are a circle of friends and not a fee for service, many of the things that we do for each other have no price associated with them. After all, what price could one place on friendship or acts of friendship, and how would someone go about coming up with a price structure. (Such are the [ Read more… ]

Damaged goods

From our daily member newsletter on August 2, 2017

There was an article in The Wall Street Journal several years ago that made the following points: 1. The unemployed are damaged goods 2. Recruiters prefer finding those who are not actively seeking new jobs 3. Networking groups are of little value While to a degree I hesitate to take exception with this esteemed periodical, I must point out that the first two issues are not news. Anyone who has read John Lucht’s book “Rites of Passage” would already know that recruiters have an inherent prejudice against those who are unemployed and are generally speaking charged with stealing someone from a competitor. That’s why they get the “big bucks.” Hence, those who are unemployed are not really of interest because [ Read more… ]

Are you serious in applying?

From our daily member newsletter on August 1, 2017

Let’s be honest. There aren’t a lot of job postings in our evening newsletter that really are a fit for your particular background, salary and location preferences. This being the case, you would think that if you saw an opportunity in our newsletter that strongly fit your background, you would take the time to do it right. Let me first suggest to you that there simply is no excuse to having a resume that isn’t well done. With all the books that have been written on the topic of resumes, yours needs to be as close to perfect as it can be. There are several popular approaches that I think are wrong. One is to leave off your home address. [ Read more… ]

Always take the high road

From our daily member newsletter on July 31, 2017

America is a great place, isn’t it? Everything is always someone else’s fault. I guess this is why Americans are so quick to sue. After all, we can’t take the blame for that which has happened to us. There were significant mitigating factors. Primarily due to, partially offset by. I’m sure you are familiar with the approach. All right, perhaps I shouldn’t have made those disparaging remarks about the way the boss dressed and how he always came in late, but I only mentioned it to most of his staff. And, I was only kidding. Actually, I am only kidding here. But, I thought I would make the point that it is human nature to come up with some explanation [ Read more… ]

Stale cigar smoke

From our daily member newsletter on July 30, 2017

In the movie Patton, George C. Scott explained why America was going to win the war. In brief, Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. As we do our best to achieve success in the job market, looking and acting like a winner can be difficult. It is just too easy to fall into the “misery loves company” mode. I hope you won’t allow yourself the luxury of falling into that trap. Although I live only a few miles from where we hold our meetings here in Connecticut, I always wear a suit or sport coat. The reason is that often times this is the first and only time that members meet me. As they say, you [ Read more… ]

You sure can rattle on

From our daily member newsletter on July 27, 2017

Breathing is a very important activity. And, during an interview, you should be doing a lot of it. The guideline we begin our lives with is the ever popular 90 second announcement. I hope that all of you have mastered this art form. The 90 second announcement is an important tool in your job search because you have so many opportunities to speak briefly with others and impart some wisdom about who you are and what you do. It is also the world’s best answer to that question that begins most interviews: Tell me about yourself. So, find lots of opportunities to practice your 90 second announcement. Primarily due to, partially offset by. Is there any question that we can [ Read more… ]

A 1,000 words (plus or minus)

From our daily member newsletter on July 26, 2017

I assume that almost all of you have a LinkedIn account. I don’t know how each of you use it, but in addition to looking up your fellow members using our Member Directory Search feature, I strongly recommend that you check LinkedIn prior to connecting with just about everyone. If nothing else, LinkedIn is the world’s largest annotated phone book. As Yogi Berra might have said, you can see a lot just by looking. You’ve got nothing to lose and a lot to gain checking out what people say about themselves. I will leave it to others to lecture you on how to create a proper LinkedIn profile. We have several resident experts you can call on such as Matt [ Read more… ]

Candidate Marketing Agreements

From our daily member newsletter on July 25, 2017

In last night’s newsletter there was a job posting from a search firm requesting applications for a Vice President of Finance for a publicly traded healthcare organization. One of our members who responded to this posting received a boilerplate letter back indicating that while he wasn’t a fit for this job, the recruiter was willing to take him on as a client and market him to companies that would value his “exceptional qualifications.” If you received a letter of this nature, I would hope that your well-developed “BS detector” would already be going off. The offering included: Career Planning, Resume Writing, Interviewing Skills Development, Developing 50+ Target Companies, Submitting Online Applications, Candidate Sales & Marketing Campaign, Negotiating Compensation and finally, [ Read more… ]

Computers are here to stay

From our daily member newsletter on July 24, 2017

I sometimes get the feeling from the format of emails I get and the strange formatting of resumes I see that there are those who believe computers are just a passing phase in our society. I don’t know how to break this to those of you who have been reluctant to “get with the program,” one of the measures of you on the part of those receiving your many missives is your computer knowledge. Perhaps “back on the block” (i.e. when you were working for the big corporation), you had someone to run your email and underlings to develop spreadsheets to execute your many ideas. Well, to a large degree, those days are over for most of us. Even when [ Read more… ]

Call me a compulsive

From our daily member newsletter on July 20, 2017

Over the course of any given week I have the great honor of reviewing well over 100 resumes. Honestly, no one should be allowed to have this much fun. As I page through the many approaches to presenting one’s credentials, I am frequently dismayed by the way that some of the most important information is presented. Let me start by saying that I hate most abbreviations. The reason is quite simple. I usually have to stop and puzzle through what the abbreviation means in this context. I am sure the author was quite clear, but I am often left scratching my head. I would rank educational credentials of great importance and I hope you do too. I don’t know if [ Read more… ]

Don’t go it alone

From our daily member newsletter on July 19, 2017

Job search is in many ways a unique experience. In contrast to the world of work where we have had folks reporting to us and have had folks that we reported to, the world of job search can tend to be a lonely place. Outplacement facilities with their rabbit warren of cubicles at first glance seem to place you with a lot of other people. There are classes to attend, and at least in my own experience with this kind of environment, you have others with whom you can have lunch and share experiences. Not a totally bad situation. But still, everyone is on a different track and when they find work or their time ends, they typically disappear. And, [ Read more… ]

It’s always better to be working

From our daily member newsletter on July 18, 2017

When I was growing up, my father was in the construction business. Being a plumbing contractor or a consultant or even a job seeker these days isn’t all that different with respect to finding what I call “work opportunities.” I sense from talking to many members that there are those among us who at times can be more than a little picky about the assignments they are willing to take, despite the fact that they aren’t working AT ALL. One of the many lessons I draw from my father’s experience is that some of the jobs you find are short term, some are more fun than others, and some pay better than others. Still, the need to have your “crew” [ Read more… ]

Don’t be lazy

From our daily member newsletter on July 17, 2017

During June I was preparing our sailboat for our annual two week trip. I take pretty good care of my boats, but still, there is always a maintenance list. This year, as is my practice, I went through each and every locker, removed everything and went through it item by item to see if I really needed it. It was a big job, but I am always amazed and astounded with the stuff I find. (Why did I buy that?) It is easy to be lazy about things in your life. Since The FENG is about job search, I’ll focus for a minute on your resume. I figure most people practice their 90-second announcement a lot and since it is [ Read more… ]

All things to all people

From our daily member newsletter on July 16, 2017

It is a truth in this world that we get paid the most for doing something that is at the high end of our skill set. For example, you would be willing to pay big bucks to a skilled surgeon to take out your appendix, but you would probably not be willing to let me take out your appendix at any price. Hence, the price you would be willing to pay me would probably be less than zero. Actually, I couldn’t even get the job. If this is all true, then why is it that in the writing of our resumes we try to present ourselves as the ultimate solution to all problems? We may narrow the niche to finance, [ Read more… ]

A sharp pencil

From our daily member newsletter on July 13, 2017

There is no more powerful tool than a sharp pencil. (The only exception to this rule is the membership directory of The FENG as accessed by our Member Directory Search feature.) I long ago declared war on unnecessary words. Why? Because they are unnecessary. The normal space allotment for a resume is two pages. Okay, if you have to go to three I might be able to live with it, but generally two is the limit. It is not much space to describe the accomplishments of a lifetime, but you are making a mistake if you think it is necessary to describe each and every thing you have done. If you are as old as the hills (or dirt itself) [ Read more… ]

Human interaction

From our daily member newsletter on July 12, 2017

Sailors are a naturally friendly lot. (Yes, another sailing analogy!) As one of the other couples my wife and I met at a marina pointed out, it would be considered more than a little strange to go to a motel or hotel and start introducing yourself to other people and ask them if they wanted to join you and your wife for dinner at some restaurant. Yet, sailors do it all the time. When you “blow in” from another harbor you have so many stories to tell and they are harder to share with those who haven’t been through what you have just been through. If it was windy and both of you were hanging on for dear life, you [ Read more… ]

No right answers

From our daily member newsletter on July 11, 2017

As a part of my frequent “joys of sailing” ideas, I thought I would talk about docks around Long Island Sound. Although one can drag anchor, one rarely drags dock. (A little sailing joke for you.) Sure, it is a rather arcane topic, but hopefully it is one that you can use to amaze and astound your friends. You would think that docking arrangements everywhere would be pretty much the same. After all, you have a boat, you have water, and you need to tie it up for the night. Well, you would be very wrong. The truth is that just about every place you go is a little different. Some marinas have pilings you have to snag on your [ Read more… ]

Attention to detail

From our daily member newsletter on July 10, 2017

I am at all times amazed and astounded at the lack of attention to detail by the many members who write to me. There are so many things that are easy to do, that no one seems to do. Let me start with my primary concern (and one I write about constantly), the lack of outgoing signatures. Incredibly, some emails I get aren’t even signed. A proper outgoing signature contains your name, address, phone numbers and email address. Adding one is so simple that it doesn’t bear explaining. If you aren’t using one, just click “Help” and search for outgoing signature. If you are wondering why no one is writing back, that’s why. Is your name Pat, or Leslie? You [ Read more… ]

Your hidden assets

From our daily member newsletter on July 9, 2017

Almost all of the resumes I see are from members or new member applicants. In any given week, I go through a batch of 60-80 applicants. What is surprising is how much trouble some folks go to disguising their seniority and great skills. It is my belief and I hope to make it yours as well, that the most important thing you have to sell is your wealth of experience. There are so many things in this world that only happen once or twice a year, and most of our members have seen them anywhere from 20-40 times. Like a song you keep hearing on the radio, even if you don’t sing well, you are bound to know the words [ Read more… ]

Am I qualified?

From our daily member newsletter on July 6, 2017

One of my friends used to call me “the can do” guy. (Now he calls me “Mr. Chairman.”) I know he meant it in the nicest possible way and I suppose that in many respects I am the can do guy. There really isn’t much that I won’t tackle. Perhaps it comes from my Midwest self-reliance or the fact that I worked construction in my youth. (Or perhaps it is my wasted adulthood as a sailor?) All of this leads me to believe that regardless of what it says in most job postings, I know that with enough time there are few issues that I couldn’t solve. (And, they would be lucky to have me!) However, am I really qualified [ Read more… ]

A little breathing room

From our daily member newsletter on July 5, 2017

I have often been heard to say, “Cash is a four letter word.” It is for this reason that taking a sound approach to your job search REQUIRES that you have your financial house in order. There is nothing that is more distracting than to be concerned about your finances during a search. With any luck, you have hopefully been fortunate to save a little money, and/or have equity in your home. However, regardless of where you have assets you can tap, it is sage advice to get yourself as liquid as possible. If you have equity in the house and your significant other is working, it is usually possible to refinance or get a second mortgage on their income [ Read more… ]

Don’t forget your business cards

From our daily member newsletter on June 29, 2017

I assume that most folks will not be working a full day in the office tomorrow. I know I won’t be. I just thought I would remind everyone that holiday time is networking time. Those family and friend get-togethers this time of year are great networking events. While it would probably be bad form to bring copies of your resume, there is nothing to stop you from bringing business cards and from chatting about your career with those you meet. While the family may know how to reach you, their many friends who might be attending won’t. Business cards are in some respects a gift. When you hand someone your business card, they are sort of obligated to give you [ Read more… ]

The golden rule – revisited

From our daily member newsletter on June 28, 2017

As you all know, I get a lot of email. Most of it is actually pretty routine. There are the inevitable members asking for the user name and password for our website or to have their email address changed. Each week I also get a few good news announcements. (I always enjoy being the first to know. Okay, you can call your significant other first.) It is rare that I get a note indicating that members are being unresponsive to one another. Yes, I am sure it happens a lot. And, sure, you can write it off to the fact that we have gotten to be a large organization, but frankly, I cannot and will not ever accept that as [ Read more… ]

Birds of a feather

From our daily member newsletter on June 27, 2017

We are fortunate in the financial professions to be blessed with a very high degree of transferable skills. Still, the next job for most of us isn’t going to be all that much different from our last one. While it is certainly possible that we will change industries, it is less likely that we will change the skill sets needed in our day to day work. What typically happens in any recession is that certain industries take a downward turn and many of the folks in those industries lose their jobs. It used to be that this was limited to old line industries, but as we have seen in recent years, it can even affect the stars of just last [ Read more… ]

What do companies want?

From our daily member newsletter on June 26, 2017

  I have written on many occasions about how to structure your resume. I have also written about bringing your resume through stages of development. Like any selling document it is essential that you keep it growing and fresh. Going through the birth pangs of building your resume can often feel like you are taking out your own appendix without the benefit of anesthetic. (Actually, it is a little more painful.) Still, without this important document looking its best you are going to be hard pressed to be selected out of a batch of 200+ resumes. After you have the framework easy to read (there are model resumes out on our website), and you have polished the prose, the next [ Read more… ]

Unsolicited advice

From our daily member newsletter on June 25, 2017

There was a cartoon I saw many years ago. The picture was of a man playing a piano in what was obviously western saloon. The sign above the piano read: “Don’t shoot the piano player. He’s doing the best he can.” I have often lamented that the most difficult task I face each day is getting our members to seek out the advice and counsel of other members in the process we call networking. I don’t know exactly why it is, but for some genetic reason, men don’t like unsolicited advice. And, for those of us who like to give out a lot of advice, it can be a difficult task to make a suggestion and have it actually received [ Read more… ]

The truth, as retold by ….

From our daily member newsletter on June 22, 2017

I am always impressed by the eternal truthfulness of the many members of this august body. Unfortunately, it is one of the many things about us as financial folks that gets in the way of our finding a new job. As many of you know, I spent 9 years as Chief Financial Officer of an advertising agency. I won’t say from this public platform that I worked with a bunch of liars (please keep in mind that I didn’t say this), but it often felt like those around me were lying even when it wasn’t necessary, just so they wouldn’t get out of practice. Kind of like on that old TV show “Get Smart” — Would you believe??? Anyway, the [ Read more… ]

Selling from an empty wagon

From our daily member newsletter on June 21, 2017

I often get the feeling listening to members of The FENG that they feel like they are selling from an empty wagon. Friends, it just isn’t true. What triggered tonight’s editorial was a few comments I got from one of our members about the issue of dates for your college degrees. The “product” you need to always be selling is your wealth of experience. Everyone doesn’t want the product, but those that do are willing to pay for it. In classic marketing terms, if you try to sell a product based on attributes it doesn’t have, it is considered an over promise. You are a lot better off presenting a realistic picture. We have all seen ads for the airlines [ Read more… ]

Practice makes perfect

From our daily member newsletter on June 20, 2017

Although we are all familiar with the above expression, I am not sure if everyone understands the importance of this idea to his or her search and how to get to where you need to be. The “big show” is of course an interview. When you finally get yourself in front of a hiring manager all aspects of your performance need to be polished. This is not the time to be “practicing” your elevator speech when he/she says “So, tell me about yourself.” We are fortunate within The FENG to have lots of opportunities to practice our pitch. Let’s start with our many chapter meetings. What better place is there to work on that 90-second announcement? You have a friendly [ Read more… ]

Can you hear me now?

From our daily member newsletter on June 20, 2017

I still remember with fondness the cell phone commercial where the technician is in the middle of a swamp somewhere and he is testing his cell coverage. I don’t know where he might be, but he isn’t here in Weston, Connecticut where we have limited cell coverage. (Thank goodness, Sprint, in their wisdom, has provided me with a repeater.) Despite the convenience of being able to make and receive calls anywhere (including when I am crossing Long Island Sound in my sailboat), the use of cell phones is to be approached with a great deal of caution. The fact that it really isn’t your fault that you can’t be heard will be long forgotten. All that will be remembered is [ Read more… ]

Before you click send

From our daily member newsletter on June 18, 2017

The fun never stops here at world headquarters of The FENG. I get more amusing emails probably than anyone else on the face of the earth. Let’s start with the use of “Matt’s secret decoder ring.” Thank goodness it is made out a durable electronic material. Each day about 75% of the emails I get lack an outgoing signature. Now I know that learning how to create an outgoing signature could take upwards of 15 minutes and that your time is best spent elsewhere, but it sure would help me to immediately know who you are and how to reach you. A proper outgoing signature should include your full name, street address, city, state, zip code, phone numbers and email [ Read more… ]

Reinforcing appropriate behavior

From our daily member newsletter on June 15, 2017

In one of the jobs I had early in my career I was Business Manager for the College Publishing division of CBS. It was an interesting job. All of the folks around me were well educated and always testing my knowledge and experience. They were also great teachers. One of our most popular books at that time was “Understanding Human Behavior.” I believe the author was a Jim McConnell. Anyway, to celebrate the fact that his book sold over 100,000 copies (which is a lot for a College textbook), he was invited to come to New York City. He took that occasion to speak to our organization and I was fortunate to be in attendance because I learned something that [ Read more… ]

A time of renewal

From our daily member newsletter on June 14, 2017

Although everyone thinks that spring is a time of renewal, actually (just like networking) any point in time and any excuse will do. For those of us who are in their 40’s and 50’s, periods of unemployment early in our career have probably been non-existent. The experience of being unemployed can be stressful unless you use the time to good advantage. One way of doing this is to, in part, create a new you. I’m not talking about plastic surgery but there are always things you can do that will make you into a “new” person. After you have gone through the initial steps of preparing your job campaign and networking with everyone you can think of, it may be [ Read more… ]

Awaiting a rising tide

From our daily member newsletter on June 13, 2017

Although I would never willingly admit it, over the nearly 35 years I have been sailing I have had occasion to go aground. (It is always an embarrassing situation.) One time I dragged anchor in a storm (that I can assure you was not in the forecast) and the other times I managed to wander too far out of the main channel. The tidal drop in Long Island Sound where I do most of my sailing can be as much as 8 feet. For most of my sailing life I have had boats that draw around 4-5 feet. At high tide you can easily pass over areas that are exposed at low tide. (For those of you not familiar with [ Read more… ]

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

From our daily member newsletter on June 12, 2017

So, you have actually done it. A company has put you through the wringer and forced you to interview with just about everyone at the firm. You have beaten the competition to a pulp. You are standing all alone in your victory. Now comes the moment of truth. They ask you for references. Like you didn’t know this was coming. Let’s start with the idea that it is a commonly held belief that no one gives references that will say anything bad about them. This is the high standard to which you are going to be held. So, choose your references carefully. The rub comes in when they ask you for specific kinds of references. So, in the hopes that [ Read more… ]

Catching a tiger by the tail

From our daily member newsletter on June 11, 2017

I hope we all spend a lot of time networking. (To paraphrase René Descartes, the famous French philosopher: I network, therefore I am.) So you have been hard at it. The FENG Member Directory Search feature is causing smoke to rise from your computer from over use, but incredible as it may seem, you have gotten an appointment with someone on your “A” list for an in person networking meeting. Now is not the time to slack off. All of the hard work you have put into getting this appointment will be as ashes in your mouth if you don’t prepare properly. Let’s assume you don’t know everything there is to know about this valuable individual. What should you do? [ Read more… ]

Catch me if you can

From our daily member newsletter on June 8, 2017

Several years ago, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks starred in a movie about Frank Abagnale Jr. who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor. The basic story is that over the course of several years, Carl Hanratty, played by Tom Hanks tracks down Frank Abagnale played by Leonardo DiCaprio. I often feel like Carl Hanratty, only in my case, I am trying to track down members of The FENG. As Chairman of The FENG, I often feel that I could easily become a detective at this point in my life given the skills I have acquired. I can’t believe how frequently during the day I get [ Read more… ]

Phones don’t bite

From our daily member newsletter on June 7, 2017

One of our chapter chairs called me recently, and as usual when he calls, we had a wide ranging conversation about members of The FENG, friends (sometimes these two overlap), and family matters. There generally aren’t many moments of silence since we always have so much to talk about. Since we are both networking maniacs, it is sometimes hard for us to understand why folks find it so difficult to network. Surely picking up the phone and at least calling other members of The FENG can’t be difficult. (This was the topic that we discussed at length.) Then it hit me! Some of our members must think that phones have teeth. What else could it be? Surely everyone in The [ Read more… ]

Zen and the art of job search

From our daily member newsletter on June 6, 2017

I have never actually read any of the books that begin with the title I selected for this editorial, but I think I know what they were all about. Okay, maybe I don’t. Still, the thought comes to mind upon reading one of the responses I received recently that there is one aspect of your required “job search attitude” that I should address. Our mutual purpose in trying to explain how the world works is directed toward lessening the stress you feel when you are engaged in a search. It is easy to feel alone. It is easy to feel that no one cares about you. And, it is easy to feel that everyone else is getting called back, but [ Read more… ]

The excuse you can’t cure

From our daily member newsletter on June 5, 2017

The world of job search is filled with a lot of cruel jokes. I have often argued that when the answer is no with respect to your candidacy, the best thing you can probably do is stop listening. The reason is that just about everything that follows will either not be entirely true or will be as close as words come to being an out and out lie. Those on the other side of the table often consider these statements “little white lies.” The problem with the questionable statements of fact that come at you in these situations is that they have that glimmer of truth. And, since you are at a sensitive stage in your life, you tend to [ Read more… ]

Job leads versus the job market

From our daily member newsletter on June 4, 2017

It is a true fact (as opposed to a false fact) that most people over value job leads. Perhaps I have said this before, but the real deal is networking, networking and more networking. That said I thought it might be of interest to all of you for me to share my own personal theories as to why published job leads all seem to be out of town and/or require unusual skills. Back in the bad old days before the Internet, job seekers here in the Northeast had the Sunday New York Times and the Tuesday Wall Street Journal to drool over. The Sunday New York Times had a lot of 2 line ads, which now based on the wisdom [ Read more… ]

Those lazy hazy days of summer

From our daily member newsletter on June 1, 2017

You really can’t beat summer. Although it is a brief season (at least here in the Northeast), it is one of those remarkable times during the year when there is lots to do and lots of daylight time in which to do it. The days are longer and the weather is warm enough that you don’t need much preparation to go outside, unless it is raining cats and dogs. And even then, all you need is your umbrella. Heading out to lunch is just so much easier if you work in a place like New York City where I worked for 20 years. No heavy winter coat to drag with you to a restaurant. One of the great myths of [ Read more… ]

Your inner circle of friends

From our daily member newsletter on May 31, 2017

The FENG is a circle of friends, not a job listing service. The question I would have for each of you is, have you recently worked to expand your inner circle of friends within The FENG? Regardless of when you joined our august body, and even if you went through our membership directory at that time, an incredible number of new potential friends have joined since that time. Access to our full membership directory is out there on our website for your information and use. I am often asked why the membership directories you can generate using our Member Directory Search feature are only available as Word files and not Excel files or in database form. The answer is simple. [ Read more… ]

Man is a political animal

From our daily member newsletter on May 30, 2017

One of the common complaints I hear from people about their current or prior jobs is how political the situation is or was. To me, this is like complaining about the weather. There is always going to be weather. It is my belief that you can’t really appreciate a sunny day unless you have experienced a rainy one. And so it is with politics. Some of it can get pretty unpleasant, but by and large if you engage the broader implications of it all, you can learn to enjoy it. And, I am not talking learning how to play people off against one another. What I am suggesting is that you can learn to understand the process and the good, [ Read more… ]

Take some time off

From our daily member newsletter on May 25, 2017

For those who are active in their job searches, taking time off can be very difficult. Well, this weekend you really have no choice. No one will likely be around in the afternoon tomorrow and they certainly won’t be around on Monday since it is a holiday. That said holiday weekends are great times for networking with family and friends. Ah, Memorial Day, that great kick off to summer. The key to a successful weekend, other than stocking up on food and beverages of your choosing, is to paint a smile on your face and have a good story to tell. Those who know and care about you are sensitive to your feelings and will likely observe a “don’t ask” [ Read more… ]

Corporations are reptilian

From our daily member newsletter on May 24, 2017

I hope no one will be offended by the thought that corporations are reptilian. All I mean to imply by this statement is that although corporations appear to have human elements, they actually have no feelings. We have all met and in fact we may individually have been dedicated employees, but in many respects, to have feelings about a corporation is similar to having feelings about a car, boat or a house. In and of themselves, they are not caring creatures. The “warm fuzzies” we may associate with inanimate objects is derived from their interaction and our interaction with actual people. Good times with friends, family or business associates in a particular setting are always in a human context. What [ Read more… ]

Changing industries

From our daily member newsletter on May 23, 2017

More often than not, members of our networking group prefer to change industries when they change jobs. I have to agree that changing industries isn’t such a bad idea. In fact, the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills we have learned to a totally new situation is an attractive concept. The truth unfortunately is often a little harsher. Our maximum value to any new employer is our knowledge and skills, and often times our perceived value is higher if we aren’t making any significant change. As counter intuitive as it may sound, the best approach to changing industries is talking to folks from your industry, especially those who are no longer there. The question to be answered is how [ Read more… ]

It must make sense (to them)

From our daily member newsletter on May 22, 2017

When I was in my mid-30’s, I had the great honor of being treasurer of my congregation, a job I held for 4 full years. It is probably true that I lean towards all consuming jobs. Or, perhaps I just try to do a good job even when I am not getting paid. Nonetheless, I discovered a lot about human nature performing this often times thankless task. The congregation had a very long list of “members” who were behind in their payments. So, I set about to call all of them. Sure, I tried writing to them, but I found that the only way I got any kind of response was by picking up the phone. Most folks were very [ Read more… ]

Do you know who I am?

From our daily member newsletter on May 21, 2017

There is an extended joke I heard a while back about a man who experienced a flight cancellation. As a matter of fact, he was not alone. The line was long and as the minutes turned to an hour, he was getting angrier and angrier. When he finally got to the head of the line he demanded to be rebooked immediately. When he met with resistance to this idea, he screamed at the ticket agent: “Do you know who I am?” Without missing a beat, the ticket agent grabbed her microphone and announced to the assembled crowd: “I have a man at the head of the line who doesn’t know who he is. If you recognize him, please come forward.” [ Read more… ]

Help, I’m trapped in a nut shell!

From our daily member newsletter on May 18, 2017

There is no greater challenge in this world than summing yourself up in 90 seconds or writing a proper summary for your resume. As many of you know, I was CFO of an advertising agency in the 1980’s. Initially, I used to wonder why the creative folks got paid so well. As I got more and more into who we were and what we did, it became a little more obvious how difficult it was to create the essence of a product or service in a 30 second commercial or in a print ad. Here you are a product and/or service with 20+ years of work experience. There are so many delightful aspects to who you are and what you [ Read more… ]

Everything is a story about you

From our daily member newsletter on May 17, 2017

I always find it interesting what people say about themselves. Those who deal in hiring decisions have so many hidden tools in their arsenal. I suppose the obvious manifestations of who you are come across in the body of your resume and, of course, in your 90-second announcement. What those who know how to read between the lines do next is to listen and/or read every single other word or words you say about yourself to determine who you are and how you might fit into their organization. There is a section at the bottom of many resumes that I will focus on tonight where folks really “go to heck” with themselves because they are not thinking about the context [ Read more… ]

Say what?

From our daily member newsletter on May 16, 2017

I used to be very good at multi-tasking. Now that I have gotten older, I am not as good at it. I have a lot to do every day, so when someone writes or calls I find it very helpful if they take a moment at the beginning of their communication to give me some hint how I might be most helpful to them. If I have some sense of where we are going, I am more likely to know what to listen for. I suppose it is a simple communication strategy, but it is one that is often forgotten in the normal course of human events. You see it all around you. Take resumes for example. In a normal [ Read more… ]

Asking for and accepting help

From our daily member newsletter on May 15, 2017

In our male dominated society called The FENG, one of the biggest challenges I face on a daily basis is getting members to ask for and accept help. I am sure we all know that traditionally guys don’t ask for directions at the gas station. It is much better to drive around and around totally lost. (Thank goodness for GPS, we don’t have that issue to face anymore. Although, since most GPS units have a female voice, we seem to be more comfortable taking directions from women these days, but I digress.) We have a lot of very fine traditions in The FENG. While all of us would prefer to be on the giving end of favors (kind of a [ Read more… ]

No one is out of work forever

From our daily member newsletter on May 14, 2017

One of the pearls of wisdom I heard from a friend of mine in 1991 was that no one is out of work forever, it just seems that way. When you are employed in a W-2 job, weekends and evenings are hopefully your time to relax. Snow days, holidays are also to be anticipated and enjoyed. After all, the money is still coming in whether you are at the office or not. The worst case scenario is that your work is piling up. Once you are out of work, your whole perspective changes. The early morning hours when you are awake and can’t make any phone calls, and the evenings when you would like to catch up with someone are [ Read more… ]

Can you spel?

From our daily member newsletter on May 11, 2017

Some of the notes that I get from our many learned members fill me with dismay. I often wonder, do they send notes with spelling and grammatical errors just to me, or do they provide this special service to everyone in the world? I do get a chuckle over some of them, but by and large I get concerned that the bad habits inherent in not checking their work creep over into all of the correspondence that they turn out. Some of it might even be for jobs they would give their right arms to have. It is all very easy to think that when you are writing to friends you don’t “need to be on your game.” I respectfully [ Read more… ]

Outgoing signatures (yes, again)

From our daily member newsletter on May 10, 2017

Of course it would be an understatement to tell you that I believe in the value of a FULL outgoing signature. In much the same way that I am a Fanantic FENG’er, I am also a fanatic when it comes to the substance and format of outgoing signatures. (Persnickety is another word.) I try not to beat the drum about what is or is not a FULL outgoing signature more than once or twice a week in our evening newsletter, but that’s just an honorable mention. Tonight, the ENTIRE editorial is on this important topic. Part of my “evil” plan to have all members of The FENG use an outgoing signature is that I check ALL of them against our [ Read more… ]

An over reliance on job leads

From our daily member newsletter on May 9, 2017

Part of the lecture I deliver to new members who call me is that The FENG is a networking group, not a job listing service. I then add that they shouldn’t allow the fact that we are publishing about hundreds of pages of job leads each month confuse them about our true purpose. In the beginning (when God created heaven and earth), it was my closely held belief that the existence of our job sharing would ensure that most of the good news announcements would indicate that the lucky person got the job from a posting in our evening newsletter. Alas, it has not been so. Sure, over the years I have seen some improvement in this statistic. And, I [ Read more… ]

Are you good for nothing?

From our daily member newsletter on May 8, 2017

One of the many things I am always surprised about is the degree to which most members of The FENG generalize their very specific talents. I assume that this approach is their attempt to broaden their background and make it appear more appealing to a larger audience. While it is always required to explain your work experiences in layman’s terms, it is not really desirable to cause them to lose their importance. As I have been heard to say: “If you are all things to all people, you are nothing to anyone.” The reason we get paid the “big bucks” as senior financial executives is for being extremely knowledgeable about accounting and finance. Those who seek out our services do [ Read more… ]

Selling from your own wagon

From our daily member newsletter on May 7, 2017

Although we are frequently willing to accept lower salaries and/or lesser responsibilities, the greater challenge is convincing the world at large of our willingness and overcoming their resistance. What we see as age discrimination, they see as just plain common sense in screening candidates. You may be willing, but they see their clients as being unwilling to consider over paid and over qualified candidates. The trick is to convince them that it is common sense. However, one way that doesn’t work is the frontal assault. The frontal assault is telling them that they are engaging in age discrimination. In dealing with the search community or human resources executives I have never been really successful in overcoming their inherent prejudices. I [ Read more… ]

Asking for specifics

From our daily member newsletter on May 4, 2017

One of the worst things that anyone networking can do is to ask if you know of any jobs for them. I can assure you that the most likely answer will be something to the effect that two weeks ago they came across something that was right for you, but they can’t remember who it was they heard it from. The analogy I would draw for you comes from my experience at a small staffing company back in the early 90’s before the Internet. (Yes, there was a time before instant communication!) This little company was ahead of their time I suppose. They placed senior executives of all types in temporary and permanent jobs. Their key leg up, or so [ Read more… ]

Are you over qualified?

From our daily member newsletter on May 3, 2017

I’m sure tonight’s topic will generate a lot of comments. Those of you who would like to join in on this discussion are invited to send your comments to Leads@TheFENG.org. The short answer to the question of the moment is: I hope so! If you weren’t, I’m not really sure how you were added to our membership. Our entire organization is filled with well qualified individuals who can do just about any job they would like to take. That said the primary focus of tonight’s editorial is for our members who are much older. Let’s say 55-60 plus. When you are interviewed for a possible work opportunity, please understand that the comments made by the interviewer are often a sincere [ Read more… ]

A cut in pay

From our daily member newsletter on May 2, 2017

Probably one of the most upsetting and disappointing aspects of searching for a new job when you are “well experienced” is the need to consider positions for which the compensation is considerably less than your last job. I suppose it is part of our mind set as accountants that we tend to view our gradual increases in pay over the years as hard won. I guess that’s because they probably were. The prospect of losing ground from the heights we have obtained is, at best, difficult to face. I can tell you from my personal experience that early on in my search in 1991 I passed on several reasonable opportunities because they were slightly below my former salary. If only [ Read more… ]

The power of networking

From our daily member newsletter on May 1, 2017

For those of you who have been spending any significant time surfing the job boards may I suggest you stop and turn that energy to networking? I had the great pleasure of speaking with an old friend of mine some time ago (yes, most of my friends are old, but this one is actually just a little younger than I am). Anyway, this friend has been a retained recruiter for most of his career. He has been through the good times and the bad times. One of the topics we covered today was how senior level executives tend to get their jobs. The astounding number he quoted me from a study he was sent was that only 2% of senior [ Read more… ]

Precision in your communications

From our daily member newsletter on April 30, 2017

Perhaps it all started with the telegraph. (Hey, they were charging by the word.) Or, was it the CB radio? Somewhere along the line we have all come to believe that brevity, even when not entirely correct, is somehow okay. Today’s communication formats such as the various smart phones don’t lend themselves to being complete or correct. There is even an available statement you can add to your outgoing messages from these devices that highlights the fact that it wasn’t sent from a regular computer. (I guess the expectation is that folks on the receiving end will therefore be more forgiving.) I won’t even get into Twitter. (140 characters is really constraining.) It is sad, really, that we allow these [ Read more… ]

Maintaining your focus

From our daily member newsletter on April 27, 2017

Life is made up of a lot of endless details. And, as financial people, the endless details are where we shine. I have said from time to time that eating an elephant is best done one bite at a time. (Mustard would probably also be a good idea.) Most tasks, no matter how enormous they may seem at the time, are actually finite in nature. By finite, I mean to say that if we work on them in our usual diligent manner, at some point they are finished. The approach I take to planning is based on the recognition that there are 1 day plans, 1 week plans, 1 month plans, 3 month plans and 1 year plans. There are [ Read more… ]

An executive of true mystery

From our daily member newsletter on April 26, 2017

I am always amazed and astounded how frequently the resumes I see are missing vital information. What I am not clear about is WHY the individual in question thinks that leaving off important data will benefit him or her. Let me start at the top of the list and mention missing home addresses. Yes, hard to believe, but some job seekers are apparently living in their cars. And to add to the impression that they are homeless, some of these resumes don’t even have a phone number or email address. (I’m not sure how you are supposed to reach them.) I suppose the theory is that if you don’t tell them where you live and you are applying for a [ Read more… ]

Spring has sprung

From our daily member newsletter on April 25, 2017

In the past week, it is clear that spring is finally here in Connecticut. As you all probably know, I work out of my home office, and I am fortunate that it faces a heavily wooded area. During the winter, I can see my neighbor’s property off in the distance and sort of notice when there is activity. Not so during the summer. Then, I can just see a few feet into the forest. This time of year I have the pleasure of watching the trees come to life. Every day is filled with a measure of surprise when I notice how much has happened since the day before. In addition, the squirrels are out and about chasing one another [ Read more… ]

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