EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Presenting your credentials

Job search is a draining and discouraging process at times. (Or, is that most of the time?) Well, maybe not, unless you make it so.

The truth is that most of us financial types stay in jobs a lot longer than those in other disciplines like marketing or sales. In addition, most of the work we do is being Mr./Ms. Inside where others know us. The need to “explain ourselves” just isn’t part of our make-up. (Besides, do they want that check signed or not? Ah, the golden rule. He/she who has the gold or controls the gold, makes the rules.)

At the end of the movie “Good Fellas,” the wise guy who has ratted out his fellow mobsters is lamenting the fact that now he has to live like a regular guy. No more wads of money to spend, no more wild times.

Well, welcome to the world of job search. It is indeed humbling. Like it or not, at every possible occasion you need to be able to present your credentials. Yes, I know it hurts to have to “justify” yourself to those you may think are just gatekeepers, but they now have the gold (a possible job), and you’ve got to do it. Furthermore, you have to appear like you are enjoying it.

There was once a door to door salesman who came to our house to try to sell us a vacuum cleaner that used water as a filter. Apparently his sales pitch had a set sequence that began with all the things this device would do OTHER than vacuum rugs and he had to go through it step by step, feature by feature before he would show us the important part or even tell us what it cost.

At some point he took out a flood light of sorts and held it under the part of the vacuum with the water filter. Alas, by this time I was well past slap happy and started laughing because the thought ran through my mind that this guy was going to electrocute himself and I was going to have to call the company to come pick him up. (And, I don’t mean a chuckle, I mean laughing with tears rolling down my cheeks, and I couldn’t stop.)

Hopefully none of us will experience such a disastrous situation when we are presenting our credentials to someone we don’t know, but every time I do I think of that evening. I really felt bad for the guy, but he just struck me funny.

However, I had to respect his ability not to “pack up his tools and go home.” To a degree he never missed a beat. How was he able to do it? My guess is practice, practice, and more practice.

The discomfort you may feel in “doing your pitch” comes from unfamiliarity. It is a process that is new to you and you don’t necessarily “own” the many components.

Like an actor in a play, the more you rehearse your lines, the more you can make them sound natural. The more mentally prepared you are to “endure the slings and arrows” of this process, the less it will hurt.

Actually, if you really get into what you need to do and the more you study the steps and structure, it can almost be fun. (Okay, but maybe at least bearable.)

Regards, Matt

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