EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I do tend to rattle on. Some night I will tell you the FULL story about how I removed my own home heating oil tank from my property. (It is a long story with many fascinating twists and turns.)

The problem is that most folks really don’t want to hear about it. And, even those who have interest appear to be plagued with a total lack of attention span when it comes to one of my favorite stories.

I suppose I could also regale you with the story of “The midnight terror,” which very briefly is the evening we dragged anchor off of Milford, Connecticut (when I was unemployed) and almost lost the boat. It is one of my longer sailing stories, and as much as you might have some passing interest in hearing some of it, my guess is that the WHOLE story probably isn’t of much fascination to most people. Still, it did take from 11PM until 6AM the next morning. My only problem is getting the story down to 7 hours. (Every minute was important to ME.)

Call me an accountant, and I have been called worse, but the details of most stories about our careers are far too important to leave out ANY detail. That is why from time to time I see 4-10 page resumes and cover letters that are over two pages.

The phrase “enough is enough” comes to mind.

Alas, the ability of the world to concentrate on our story and absorb each and every detail as we would like to tell it just isn’t realistic. So, we have to learn how to deliver comprehensive messages in keeping with the attention span out there in the world.

My training came when I was in the advertising business. At the beginning of my career in retailing I was known for my pithy 10 page audit reports. At CBS during the 1-2 page memo craze, I learned to master that form. My great lesson in advertising was that all that could be absorbed at any one time by my boss was the amount of information you could write in block letters on the back of a business card. Not a lot of time or patience for anyone who was anything other than a man of few words.

As you are out and about in the world of seeking work opportunities, keep the many constraints on your “creativity” in mind. 2-3 pages are the acceptable maximum for a resume, and a cover letter (whether by email or hard copy) has a limit of 3/4’s of a page. I’m pretty sure there was no law passed to this effect, and this may not even be a part of English Common Law, but it is out there anyway.

Violate these laws at your own risk. The penalty is not getting selected, which is certainly a just punishment for “rattling on.”

Regards, Matt

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