EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Fending off “silly” questions

From our daily member newsletter on October 31, 2016

Here you are (minding your own business) interviewing for a highly desirable “work opportunity” and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a question is raised about your knowledge of a specific topic. If the issue being raised was on the position description, shame on you. I have to assume that you carefully read this obvious document and are clear in your mind where you have shortcomings. These areas are the proverbial “elephant sitting in the room” and are part and parcel of your preparation process. Given that you have been selected to be interviewed, one must assume that on balance you are a good fit and under active consideration. If you have a “knowledge void,” with respect to a [ Read more… ]

Force Equals Mass Times Acceleration

From our daily member newsletter on October 30, 2016

You might wonder what natural laws have to do with job search, but there is honestly a strong connection. The “mass” in this formula is you and your many talents not currently being applied to accounting and finance matters. The “acceleration” is a measure of how active you are in your job search. Are you actively networking, or have you given up? If you aren’t “fighting the good fight” the measured acceleration is obviously low. If you were untalented but working hard at finding a job, there would be more “force” being applied than if you were extremely talented and doing nothing. It has come to my attention that despite the recession having officially ended several years ago, many of [ Read more… ]

Can you hear me now?

From our daily member newsletter on October 27, 2016

One of my favorite commercials of all time was Verizon’s cell phone commercial. I actually didn’t like it, but because it is so well known I use it as a point of humor when talking to those I call and who call me when their cell phone connection fades in and out. Honestly folks, if you have to take or make an important phone call, don’t do it on a cell phone. I could be wrong, but years ago it was actually possible to interrupt those who called you. Not to say rudely interrupt, but rather to get a word in edgewise. Phone service just doesn’t seem to duplex as well as it used to. My guess is that the [ Read more… ]

The darkest hour is before dawn

From our daily member newsletter on October 26, 2016

As you can tell by the length of tonight’s newsletter, the published job market isn’t as strong as we would like it to be. That said, with 50,000+ members, I would hope we could generate more job leads for our newsletter. A few suggestions follow below. If I may paraphrase Yogi Berra, our politicians have messed up right field so bad I don’t think anyone can play it. You may substitute the word economy for right field. To mix a few metaphors tonight, as bad as the real economy may be and the job market for senior financial executives along with it, we have no choice but to play the cards we have been dealt. For those of you who [ Read more… ]

Increasing the depth of your friendships

From our daily member newsletter on October 25, 2016

Several years ago I read a book sent to me by one of our Associate members, Rich Guha. The title of the book was How to Get What You Most Want in Life. At 103 pages, even the busiest of our members honestly has the time to read this rare volume. I can assure you it is worth the time. If you want a copy the link is: http://www.amazon.com/How-What-Most-Want-Life/dp/0595662595. Although I found the book overall to be of great interest, tonight I would like to focus on Chapter 5: Making Friends & Networking. What caught my attention and interest was the following: “In the 18th century, many educated people spent hours a day writing letters to friends and talking to [ Read more… ]

Demonstrating attention to detail

From our daily member newsletter on October 24, 2016

The world today is filled with more opportunities to communicate than ever before. From email at your desk station to email by smart phone, to telephone calls. Every time you reach out and touch someone, all they know about you is what you send them. As Doug Fine has been heard to say: “Don’t make your first impression your last.” I would add to this the idea that EVERY communication that emanates from you needs to be professional. There are no casual communications possible, even in person. Like the Citizens Band radio that preceded it, those who pour out endless streams of communication feel that it is somehow okay to take short cuts. I suppose this is okay, but a [ Read more… ]

On being gracious in defeat

From our daily member newsletter on October 23, 2016

I have written many times about the fact that when the answer is no, you don’t get much honest information. There are two approaches that are typically used. The first is what I call “The excuse you can’t cure.” If you only had a CPA, and you don’t, there isn’t much that you can say. The second approach is to blame someone who “isn’t in the room.” I liked you, but there were other folks who interviewed you who didn’t and they didn’t tell me exactly why. It is a corollary of “blame shifting,” which many of you are familiar with from psychology class. The reason you only rarely get a “true” answer is that job seekers, especially us financial [ Read more… ]

Let me count the ways

From our daily member newsletter on October 20, 2016

One of the more depressing aspects of the job search process is the feeling that you aren’t making any progress. You are even worse off than a salesman selling big ticket items. While a salesman selling planes or expensive yachts may only make 5-10 sales in a year, YOU can only make one sale. And, if you haven’t made that one sale, you can easily feel like a failure. Let’s be clear, this is a terrible job market. Posted jobs have disappeared for many reasons. With the economic uncertainty we face, folks who are currently working are staying put eliminating what might be considered normal churn in the market. The search community has also been hard hit by this downturn [ Read more… ]

The wealth of talent

From our daily member newsletter on October 19, 2016

I have to tell you that I come away from most meetings of The FENG considerably impressed with the wealth of talent in the room. Perhaps it is just me, but the experience that most of our members bring to the party is truly amazing. The only problem that our members actually face is marketing their experience to others. Hey, if we were marketing experts, I assume we all would have gone into marketing. Unfortunately, we are accounting/finance types, and that coupled with our innate modesty appears to prevent us from bragging appropriately. The other not so obvious “syndrome” is that we have a wealth of talent and experiences. Yes, I know I said that already and in a positive [ Read more… ]

Knowing you’re not alone

From our daily member newsletter on October 18, 2016

They say that misery loves company. I hope all of you know that this has never been what The FENG was all about. While it is true that most of us are in that vast and over crowded arena called “middle age” and that the focus of our organization is job search related, what we share as an organization is the idea that none of us are alone. Yes, you have to do most of the “heavy lifting” yourself when it comes to managing your career, but knowing that there is help and support EVERY WHICH WAY you turn is what makes The FENG different than any other organization of which you might be a member. Several times a week [ Read more… ]

One device-many uses

From our daily member newsletter on October 17, 2016

In 1969 I was drafted into the U.S. Army. It was of course a difficult time. But, my approach to life has always been to see the humor in every situation, and I must say the Army gave me many opportunities. One of the most amazing things I was given during basic training was a little device called a P-38. For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of Army service or those who did, but memory doesn’t serve, the P-38 was a rather remarkable can opener. About an inch or so in length, and sort of like a hinge in design, it could open any can of C-Rations. But enough of simple devices. The device that actually came [ Read more… ]

Oops, I made a mistake!

From our daily member newsletter on October 16, 2016

It sure is a disappointment to find out you aren’t perfect. I don’t know about you, but I have always enjoyed the fact that typically the spreadsheets of my life tie out. I guess it goes with the territory of being a senior financial executive. Most things in our lives are measurable or can be forecast with some accuracy. Everything that is except for the people and companies we have to deal with when we are working, and especially late in our career. And so it is that after a successful career with perhaps several large corporations, we join a company that loses money and/or goes out of business. Even worse, we may do this more than once over just [ Read more… ]

Who are you and why are you writing?

From our daily member newsletter on October 13, 2016

I continue to be amazed and astounded how many emails I get every day that aren’t signed and/or that make only vague references to what they are about. “Thank you for adding Joe to our membership” isn’t really all that helpful unless I know who you are and who Joe is. I am fortunate in that I have what I call “Matt’s secret decoder ring” (The FENG membership directory) handy at all times, but it is clearly an additional step to look you up and then I may have to check my sent mail or my deleted mail to see what we were talking about. Sometimes my mystery correspondent has taken the additional step of writing to me from an [ Read more… ]

Conflicting advice

From our daily member newsletter on October 12, 2016

One thing there is a lot of in this world is advice. What makes matters worse, a lot of it is conflicting advice. Just as it is difficult to work when you have your nose to the grindstone AND your shoulder to the wheel all at the same time, one person’s advice can often be in TOTAL conflict with another person’s. And, both of these individuals may be trusted advisors. One thing that I say at a lot at our meeting here in Connecticut is to put any advice you get through your own filters. To be quite honest, I often don’t know what’s best for me. How could I know what’s best for you? In the course of our [ Read more… ]

Square pegs and round holes

From our daily member newsletter on October 11, 2016

It is important to understand that all job leads are not created equal. In fact, the very idea of a job lead is that something very specific is being sought. Often times the primary issues are repeated in a lead in paragraph and referred to as “must haves.” The question is often how seriously to take them? From a job seekers perspective (the one I always try to take) a specific job lead can attract your interest for reasons of location, industry, skill set or compensation. The fact that a job lead has caught your attention, however, doesn’t mean that your background as presented in your resume will be viewed as a reasonable fit. To use a legal analogy, this [ Read more… ]

Social media and job search

From our daily member newsletter on October 10, 2016

Anyone who wants to jump in here and correct me is more than welcome to do so, but I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of misconceptions about the value of social media in your job search. Let me be clear that I strongly recommend you have as complete a LinkedIn profile as you can. Keep your listing up to date and make sure it is completely consistent with your resume. Anything you publish about yourself can and very likely will be checked by some compulsive in the Human Resources department. A significant difference can derail you getting a perfectly good job, and you will never know what hit you. I would also strongly recommend that [ Read more… ]

Standard formats

From our daily member newsletter on October 6, 2016

As many of you know, one of my weekly occupations is reviewing new member applications. I try to keep in mind that for the most part I am seeing resumes that have just been completed out of whole cloth. In effect, these are the first result of days of writing and rewriting. Unfortunately, most are not even close to being finished, or as polished as they need to be. With my backgrounds in educational publishing, information publishing and advertising, I have a personal preference for standard formats. Although the information between the top of page one and the end of page two can be very creative, the structure really shouldn’t be. The rationale I would suggest to you is that [ Read more… ]

Self-improvement

From our daily member newsletter on October 5, 2016

Seeing difficult times as times of opportunity I suppose is a skill in and of itself. It is far too easy to see a job search as full of trials and tribulations. Of course, it is a difficult time, but it is also a time when if you are going to go through a change, it is a good time to sit and think about your future and what you need to do to be where you want to be. For most of our members it is my belief that this is a good time to bone up on your technology skills. Most of our members move from large companies to smaller firms. In these smaller firms you can be [ Read more… ]

The importance of responding to messages

From our daily member newsletter on October 4, 2016

I guess there has indeed been a total breakdown of law and order. Not only are many people ignoring their email, they are also apparently ignoring their phone calls. I don’t often make cold calls to support our consulting practice. Most of our clients in The FECG are actually members. And, all of our candidates for assignments are members, so I guess each of you in your own way have me spoiled rotten. Once last year I made over 50 phone calls to Private Equity Groups to generate assignments. I think I actually reached and spoke to only 3 people (other than administrative assistants), the rest of the time I went into voice mail. I’ve been in business with since [ Read more… ]

Rising tides

From our daily member newsletter on October 3, 2016

In chatting with members over the past few years, one hope frequently voiced has been a wish that the economy would improve. The basic theory is that a rising tide floats all boats. If I wait long enough, it won’t be all that difficult to find another job. Unfortunately, wishing won’t make it so. And, our political process is again up to its old antics of creating uncertainty, which is never good for business. My suggestion is to stop waiting for good things to happen and set about to make good things happen for yourself by rethinking what you want to accomplish with your job search and with your career over the next decade. Yes, I know a decade is [ Read more… ]

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