EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Imparting dignity

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 & Chief Financial Officer? Do they both mean the same thing? Sure. But, which one sounds more important and provides you with the opportunity to add a knowing nod and to puff with pride at the title you have achieved?

By the way, our networking group is The Financial Executives Networking Group. If you don’t want to say the whole thing, it is okay to refer to us as The F.E.N.G. (Not to worry. I have actually given up on trying to stop others referring to our group as FANG and I won’t be offended if you say it that way.) It is just that saying you are a member of The Financial Executives Networking Group (to me) sounds more important than saying you are a member of FANG.

Anyway, moving right back to your resume, how are you showing your university degrees? I don’t know if you will think it as strange as I do, but there are members who graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles who have it listed on their resume as just UCLA. UCLA is okay if we are discussing football, but in my mind, not on a resume.

And then there are the degrees you have achieved. Okay, another pairing: Master of Business Administration or MBA? Sure, one might argue “common usage,” but as long as there is room on the line, why not go for it?

Once you have gone through your resume and dressed things up a bit, give it a “hard read” for words that are not well understood. What I am talking about here are things that others might consider jargon. We assume that others know the importance of things we mention in passing on resumes, but in truth many of them are out of context. Let’s assume you implemented an arcane accounting system unique to your industry. In terms of difficulty, a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the most difficult. Others may not fully appreciate how difficult that was. (This is another “Rice Krispies Treats” problem.)

Another step you should take is to look for items that remove dignity from the overall picture of who you are. Things like “Employee of the year in 1993” probably should be removed. Also give careful consideration to the education section of your resume and remove any incidental courses you may have taken such as “Advanced Typing” or some such thing that brings you from the stratosphere down to where the rest of humanity lives.

Academic honors 30-40 years ago should also be removed as should one common one for CPAs – passed CPA exam on the first try. (Wow, I’m impressed!)

Just as clothes make the man, perception is everything. Your objective should be to appear to be at least as important as you really are. I hope this advice helps.

Regards, Matt

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