EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The burden of communication

From our daily member newsletter on January 31, 2017

I often hear members complain about people not reading their resume carefully enough. The subject usually comes up when members have been rejected for a job or haven’t gotten a response for a job they were convinced represented a fit. Alas, the sad truth is that WE bear the burden of properly communicating our credentials to the world at large. No one on the receiving end of your opus is OBLIGATED to read between the lines and figure out why you are a fit. A recruiter I spoke to quite some time ago, knowing our reputation for only responding when qualified, took the time once to call each individual who sent in a resume for a particular posting. (No, I [ Read more… ]

The importance of being personal

From our daily member newsletter on January 30, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I can almost always tell when I get a thinly disguised personal mailing that is actually a mass mailing of some kind. On the one hand, I am glad you are communicating with a lot of folks because you need to do that. But, there is a big difference between doing a volume of networking and doing a mass mailing. A mass mailing isn’t in any way personal. In the context of networking, mass mailing is an act of desperation or ignorance as to “how the game is played.” When was the last time you had a warm fuzzy about a letter that began “Dear Current Occupant” or “To Whom It May Concern?” With [ Read more… ]

Urban legends of job search

From our daily member newsletter on January 29, 2017

In the 20+ years that I have been Chairman of The FENG, I have heard more nonsense about job search approaches than any of you would believe. Some of the most accepted practices such as leaving off graduation dates and the proverbial “to present,” even when you have been gone for several months, are so well accepted that those who adhere to these practices don’t believe me when I tell them it simply doesn’t work. If instead of accusing some well-respected members of our august body of lying, let me instead “lower my voice” and suggest instead that they are at times using ineffective approaches in their search. Life is a continual negotiation with others. Let me characterize two very [ Read more… ]

The dreaded telephone interview

From our daily member newsletter on January 26, 2017

If going on an interview wasn’t stressful enough, having a telephone interview is even worse. More and more these days, companies are doing a telephone screening of candidates before they go to the time and expense of having someone come into the office. The good news is your resume has been pulled from the hundreds submitted. The bad news is, you are about to be ambushed. When I have a client who wants to do an initial telephone screen, I usually insist on contacting our candidates before they call. The simple reason is that many candidates list their cell phone on their resume as a primary point of contact. So, visualize this. You are driving down the road in heavy [ Read more… ]

Imparting dignity

From our daily member newsletter on January 25, 2017

Those of you who know me (and in particular our Administrative Assistants) know that I hate almost all abbreviations. It’s not that I don’t typically know what they mean. It is primarily that the longer version honestly doesn’t take up that much more space and looks a lot more important. In any case, it creates a consistency to our membership directories that I have always believed was important. As with so many things in life, it isn’t what you say, it is how you say it. Let me give you a few examples and see what you think. (Please don’t disagree with me. I am in one of my sensitive periods right now.) EVP & CFO or Executive Vice President [ Read more… ]

Dummy up

From our daily member newsletter on January 24, 2017

Most of the postings in our evening newsletter do not reveal the name of the client. There is a reason for this. The search firm wants to keep it a secret. (Duh!) There are several reasons why they tend to do this. Their first fear is that you might call their client. Now I know that none of the members of The FENG are dumb enough to do this, but it does happen once or twice a year. (With 50,000+ members we have quite a track record of good behavior.) Usually it proves to be someone other than someone from our august body who has committed this crime, but the suspicion still remains. Old habits of secrecy die hard, and [ Read more… ]

Trick questions

From our daily member newsletter on January 23, 2017

Now that the job market is going to be picking up again (from my lips to God’s ear), I thought we should turn our attention to the favorite trick questions that interviewers like to ask. In the spirit of sharing our knowledge and experience, I would ask those of you who have your favorites to send them in, hopefully with a good answer. If you don’t have a good answer to your “trick question,” send it in anyway. If need be, we will put it out to a panel of our experts. The all-time favorite is, of course, why did you leave your last job? Inquiring minds have a right to know I suppose, but if there was ever a [ Read more… ]

Developing a thick skin

From our daily member newsletter on January 22, 2017

As someone who now makes sales calls all day long, it is sometimes hard for me to remember the difficulty I initially had in picking up that 400 pound phone. Back in the dark days of 1991-1992 (the two years I was out of work), I found that my experience doing collection work as a CFO sort of gave me a baseline of mental strength to pursue my networking contacts. I was CFO of an Advertising Agency. I suppose that collecting from “clients” is a little different than collecting from other deadbeats. To that end, I developed what I referred to as the “glass bell” technique. I found that if I called often enough, had my facts in order and [ Read more… ]

Tinker Bell, fairy dust, happy thoughts and time

From our daily member newsletter on January 19, 2017

For those of you who are not familiar with the Tinker Bell story, all you need to know to understand tonight’s editorial is that the fairy dust Tinker Bell could sprinkle on you would only make you fly if were thinking happy thoughts. Let me add to this idea about thinking happy thoughts, one of the “true” facts (as opposed to false facts) about life is that there is only so much time in the world. And, one of “time’s” major failings (as a product) is that it only moves forward. In keeping with my usual theme that “wishing will make it so,” let me make a few suggestions for all of you who are looking for new “work opportunities” [ Read more… ]

The competition is fierce

From our daily member newsletter on January 18, 2017

What everyone should be clear about is that although I believe that “been there and done that” is more respected now than in most previous time periods in our great nation, you still have to “prove the null hypothesis” that you can do the job better than anyone else. The reduced lack of age discrimination only means you will have a chance at being considered. It doesn’t mean you will have a leg up on the competition. The primary prejudice against “old” people is that they aren’t up to date on the latest technology and that if they are hired for a job that is “beneath their dignity” that they will leave the moment the market picks up. To tackle [ Read more… ]

Is the glass half full?

From our daily member newsletter on January 17, 2017

We are probably all aware and have been known to ponder the enigma of: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” As good accountants, we have also probably pondered whether the glass was half full or half empty. If only “they” had a good accounting procedure, I am sure we would know. We would also know which portion had been charged to expense and which was still “hung up” on the balance sheet. (I always visualize a meat locker labeled “Balance Sheet” with sides of beef hanging inside when I hear the phrase “hung up on the balance sheet.”) Actually, tonight’s editorial is about the need for all of us to recognize, in ourselves and in those around us, [ Read more… ]

The suspension of disbelief

From our daily member newsletter on January 16, 2017

Key to the success of most movies is the suspension of disbelief. There are so many improbable events that make of the fabric of what you are viewing, that without this critical element in full force, in most cases the pleasure you experience wouldn’t be there. (My favorite phrase is “based on a true story.” Oh sure! All right, I’ll play along.) It may initially come as a surprise to you as a new member that the most valuable part of your membership in The FENG isn’t the job leads, but rather it is the networking opportunities with other members. Here too, a little suspension of disbelief is in order. (Yes, I know in good times we publish about 1,000 [ Read more… ]

Summing it all up

From our daily member newsletter on January 15, 2017

Not unlike your 90-second announcement, the space at the top of your resume is vitally important to getting folks to “listen” to the rest of your story. Try to visualize if you will, 200 resumes piled up on some poor screener’s desk. With any luck, they have been printed and collated correctly with the resume on top and email cover letter stapled behind. (Reference is usually made to cover letters only when there is interest in the candidate and there is an unanswered question on the resume.) With a strong cup of coffee (black, of course), the goal is to eliminate as many resumes as possible with what I call the “at a glance” test. Simply stated, if you don’t [ Read more… ]

More information please

From our daily member newsletter on January 12, 2017

I am more often than not surprised by the amount of time it can take for a company to develop a position description and yet at the end of the day not really be able to capture the essential elements for a particular opportunity. I suppose in part this is because senior level position descriptions are a compromise. They are partly a reflection of who is in the job currently, but they also reflect things that the individual who held the job previously wasn’t able to accomplish. And, let’s not forget the fact that the company at which these tasks are to be performed isn’t static either. As readers of the end result, and especially with regard to opportunities that [ Read more… ]

Hang on tight

From our daily member newsletter on January 11, 2017

I often receive messages in which members comment about how job search puts you on an emotional roller coaster and I thought I would address this issue in tonight’s editorial. I am not a professional psychologist, but having been out of work myself for two very long years back in 1991 and 1992 — I’ve been there. I think the first thing you need to accept if you are active in your search is that your daily routine has been interrupted. Where you go every day, how you plan your day and what you do every day is VERY different than it was in the most recent piece of time. Add to this the fact that suddenly everyone is treating [ Read more… ]

Coziness is a state of mind

From our daily member newsletter on January 10, 2017

I suppose that at times being a member of the runaway train we call The FENG would appear not to lend itself to a whole lot of warm fuzzies. Ah, if only we could return to those halcyon days when there were only 50 of us and on a good day 15 of us would gather around that small table in the Westport library and discuss jobs we heard about. Friends, although this sounds good, I don’t want to go back. (Besides, we can’t.) Sure we are a whole lot bigger these days, but like love, sharing the warmth of our friendships with more and more people is INCREASING the warm fuzzies, not the reverse. Back in those DARK days [ Read more… ]

Conflicting advice

From our daily member newsletter on January 9, 2017

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you asked a question, you got the same answer? Unfortunately it seems that every time you ask a question, sometimes even of the same person, you get different answers. Perhaps this is good. It gives you the chance, as an adult, to make your own decisions and choices. I know there are those of you out there who prefer certainty. This is part of the reason we went into Accounting. (Ah, the symmetry of it all.) But, the truth in this world is that everything in this world is someone’s OPINION. (What’s your opinion? Wrong!) When you had to ask for directions (back in the old days prior to GPS), you hoped that [ Read more… ]

Walter Mitty

From our daily member newsletter on January 8, 2017

Walter Mitty was an interesting guy. Although he did one thing in his real life, he had the opportunity to do lots of exciting things in his imaginary life. As we advance in our careers, I think all of us want the opportunity to do new and different things. It is only normal to want to change industries or change careers. And, many of us actually succeed in doing it. I am doing something very different in my second career and enjoying every minute of it. I hope that no one will read this editorial and think I am trying to discourage them. Hopes and dreams, however, have to be measured against the economic reality of your value to a [ Read more… ]

Building your inner circle of friends (part two)

From our daily member newsletter on January 5, 2017

(Those of you who missed part one will find it at: http://www.thefeng.org/mattsblog/2017/01/building-your-inner-circle-of-friends-3/) The idea that you can wipe the slate clean is an enduring and endearing idea of mankind, and one I fully support. No matter how bad you have been at networking in the past year, this week you have the opportunity to get a strong start on building and strengthening your inner circle of friends in 2017. The best analogy I can come up with tonight is not a sailing one. (I know everyone is disappointed, but I’ll try to come up with one in the next few days.) Hopefully all of you are familiar with the circus act where someone sets up plates and straws. It is [ Read more… ]

Building your inner circle of friends

From our daily member newsletter on January 4, 2017

If you are having trouble getting your job search off to a flying start in 2017, may I suggest you try increasing your inner circle of friends? The most valuable feature on our website is Member Directory Search: http://thefeng.org/membersonly/memberSearch.php All you have to do is follow the link above and sign-in to use it. Think of it as LinkedIn on turbo. The reason I say this is that some huge percentage of the folks on LinkedIn, and that includes members of The FENG, do NOT have complete directory listings. On The FENG website EVERYONE has a complete directory listing because our professional staff sees to it. Not only are listings for all new members created by our professional staff, but [ Read more… ]

When your cup runneth over

From our daily member newsletter on January 3, 2017

From time to time I have gotten messages from members who either had multiple offers outstanding or wanted me to discuss what to do when you are so blessed. Or, is it cursed? (I don’t know about you, but I hate having too many choices.) Of course, when faced with the possibility of multiple offers, you can be assured that they won’t all come to fruition on exactly the same day. Hence the conundrum. Being individuals of high integrity, there is an urge to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God” to everyone involved in the process. My first suggestion is to operate on a “need to know” basis. I know it [ Read more… ]

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