EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Networking and holiday weekends

From our daily member newsletter on August 31, 2017

Tonight’s editorial will be short, but hopefully important. How can I say this? Holiday weekends are great networking events. Consider you will likely be with family and friends who actually care about you. If you are currently between assignments, you will have to initiate the conversation. Everyone will assume that you are in a sensitive mood and they will be afraid to bring it up. So, you have to bring it up. A great story to begin a positive conversation about your search is to let them know you are a member of the largest networking group of senior financial officers in the entire world! (There we go being modest again.) Share a story with them about how a member [ Read more… ]

The truth (as retold)

From our daily member newsletter on August 30, 2017

I know that many of our members are faced with the unpleasant truth that they have been out of work for a significant period of time. Having been out of work myself for almost two years, I know that this unpleasant question of “Why have you been out so long?” gets asked. Like anything else in life, if you don’t prepare a “proper” answer, you will begin to stammer. (Or, sweat!) The natural tendency of financial folks that you need to avoid is the very detailed answer. The good old “primarily due to, partially offset by” approach that we take to providing information is not only a bad idea, it is also unnecessary. As a defense attorney on TV would [ Read more… ]

Have you seen my glasses?

From our daily member newsletter on August 29, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I am always misplacing things. I work pretty hard at keeping my papers organized, but like anything else, papers can get lost. When they do, it makes me absolutely crazy. Even when I have another copy on my computer, I am obsessed to find the copy that is on my desk. Finding information on documents I also find maddening. Back in the early 70’s when I worked at B. Altman & Company as an Internal Auditor, I was just amazed at the inconsistencies in invoicing formats by the firms doing business in the same industry. I know you won’t believe this, but sometimes I can be a little impulsive. Yeah, I know, how could [ Read more… ]

Silver bullets and the tooth fairy

From our daily member newsletter on August 28, 2017

From time to time I get inquiries about the services of career consulting firms. (Please understand I am not talking about recognized and well respected outplacement firms such as Right Management and Lee Hecht Harrison, nor am I talking about a few individual Career Coaches who are known to me and to your fellow members.) For those of us over the age of 40 (and that’s just about everyone in The FENG), the specter of potential unemployment or under employment from now until the end of time can be a scary one. I understand and accept that. In addition, job search for those of us over 40 is more difficult. Not only are we over qualified for just about everything, [ Read more… ]

You’re not from around here

From our daily member newsletter on August 27, 2017

The number of qualified candidates in major metropolitan areas is always strong. The problem faced by our members in “one horse towns” is dealing with the issue of relocation when they apply for opportunities. Most of the folks I talk to who are not from major metropolitan areas feel they are at risk of being cast aside in the sorting process when they apply for jobs that aren’t close to their current location. Alas, it is probably true. It is a simple fact of life and only logical that companies would be less open to relocating folks if they have ample candidates nearby. To some degree, members living in major metropolitan areas who are open to relocation are faced with [ Read more… ]

Bestowing the gift of friendship

From our daily member newsletter on August 24, 2017

As all of you are out and about networking, I hope you are aware that one of your most important member responsibilities is to invite your new and old friends who are Senior Financial Officers to join The FENG. While it is certainly true that The FENG dominates our space. And, it may even be true that just about everyone who is a Senior Financial Officer and has a pulse is already a member. (I know it’s hard to tell sometimes since us financial folks are so low key.) That said, I hope there are some “unturned rocks” or “low hanging fruit” out there where you can find appropriate candidates to recommend. If networking is the gift that keeps on [ Read more… ]

Reasons for inaction

From our daily member newsletter on August 23, 2017

Labor Day is just around the corner. And, summer is just about over. There are, unfortunately, all kinds of events and holidays during the calendar year that can cause us to delay addressing our job search, and I thought I would use the “idea” of these dates as a prime example of the inaction it can cause in all of us, myself included. I think the fear that grips us is one of offending those we call. During the summer we can be calling networking contacts just before they are leaving on vacation or, just as bad, when they have just returned. We can be calling when folks are trying to leave early for holiday events or, as noted above, [ Read more… ]

A clear piece of communication

From our daily member newsletter on August 22, 2017

It isn’t often that I get a great resume, but I got one today. I guess I wasn’t surprised given who sent it to me. Although it was three pages, it was still crisp and concise. Perhaps it could have been shaved down to two pages, but it really didn’t bother me that it was a little longer than the “standard.” Here are a few of the things that made it near perfection: 1. It had a well written summary. There were no fluff words like “dynamic” or “born leader,” only prose that served to highlight the accomplishments that followed. 2. The names of all of the firms at which he worked appeared at the beginning of each section in [ Read more… ]

Junk mail

From our daily member newsletter on August 21, 2017

I don’t know what you consider to be junk mail. I view anything I don’t want to get in the mail (including bills) to be unwanted. (Can’t they send my bills to YOU for payment? Okay, you probably wouldn’t pay them and then my credit would be ruined. I guess I’ll have to come up with another plan.) Anyway, the same principle applies to email. We all get a lot of spam these days. It appears that asking to be taken off their list only serves to confirm your address, and you get even more junk email. Now if only I got offers for things I could actually use, or offers for stuff that REALLY was free. (Fine, this probably [ Read more… ]

Reading the tea leave

From our daily member newsletter on August 20, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard not to have my eyes glass over while reading job descriptions. It seems to me that they often put the most important information last, buried somewhere or disguised. I am, of course, referring to the EXACT city location of the job in question. Hey, they don’t want to pay for relocation and they don’t want to get too many resumes, but then they go and use phrases like “Northeast.” It is hard to make any sense of it all. Since I can’t post “Matt’s approach to writing position descriptions” on the Search Professionals website (because there isn’t one), we are probably stuck with this problem for the foreseeable future. Trust [ Read more… ]

Retained versus contingency

From our daily member newsletter on August 17, 2017

There is a great deal of fuss made out in “the world” about the difference between retained and contingency recruiters. If you want a full discussion about their differences and differing motivations, a very good source is “Rites of Passage” by John Lucht. The link to RiteSite.com appears every day in our newsletter if you would like to order this book. All recruiters handle jobs in which you might have interest. And, when they appear in our newsletter under someone’s name, you should give it your best shot by writing a proper cover letter and perhaps even customizing your resume to a degree. You see, when you are responding to a job lead handled by either group, you are in [ Read more… ]

Life is a journey

From our daily member newsletter on August 16, 2017

I have often noted to my friends who aren’t into boating that the difference between a power boater and a sail boater is that power boaters usually use their boats to go somewhere, whereas sail boaters are already there once they step onto their boat. In our goal driven, management by objectives, over achiever world, the difference in philosophy between someone who has an obsessive desire to reach a goal versus someone who lives for the journey is considerable. The truth is, of course, one can do both as long as you think about both. To me the purpose of sailing is to enjoy good times and adventures with my spouse, members of our family and our many friends. Whether [ Read more… ]

Spilling your guts

From our daily member newsletter on August 15, 2017

With all of the flap these days about integrity, I am concerned that members of The FENG, being honest financial types, will again fall into their natural propensity to tell too much about things that are no one’s business. I hope that I can trust you to blather on about all of your technical prowess and your many achievements. I also hope that you will explain at length about all matters that will enhance your candidacy for the position in question. However, when it comes to certain subjects about your past or future, it is perhaps best to “dummy up,” or at worst to say things that will be heard as direct answers. Please understand that I am not suggesting [ Read more… ]

Read any good books?

From our daily member newsletter on August 14, 2017

One of the little recognized facts about interviewing is that the most important part of what you are trying to accomplish in an interview is to make a personal connection with the interviewer. With all of the executive talent floating around these days, starting with the 40,000+ members of The FENG, your ability to distinguish yourself in those precious minutes you have with a decision maker is what is key. I would suggest to you that we tend to be nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel types of people. When we have work, we work. Sometimes for years. We tend not to network during those times, or even to read a few good books. We are just too [ Read more… ]

Give yourself a break

From our daily member newsletter on August 13, 2017

Back in 1991-1992 I was unemployed. Yes, two full years. Honestly, cash was starting to get a little tight. But more importantly, although I had a lot of free time, it was hard to enjoy it. Money, and the prospect of more, tends to focus the “let’s have some fun” part of our brains, whereas the “I don’t know if I will survive this” mindset prevents us from really enjoying our “time off” to any great degree. However, as one of my friends once said, “No one is out of work forever, it just seems that way.” Chances are those last few months in that Heck Hole you refer to as your most recent job were more than a little [ Read more… ]

Rejected out of hand

From our daily member newsletter on August 10, 2017

If there is one thing that is certain about us financial types it is that we always know the answer. Ask us a question and it isn’t long before we are well into the “primarily due to’s and partially offset by’s.” Yet, this major strength of ours and important skill set is an impediment to success at job search. Our perception of the world, much like other human beings, is colored by our experiences, and in our world job change typically hasn’t happened as frequently as it has for many other categories of workers. When I was in my mid-40’s, an art director friend of mine told me that he had already worked at 25 different advertising agencies, some of [ Read more… ]

By way of explanation

From our daily member newsletter on August 9, 2017

Whenever I sit and review candidates for assignments being handled through The FECG, I can’t help but be disappointed by many of the cover letters we get. I know that those who are applying feel they are qualified for the job in question, and being a financial guy myself, I know you could do the job. (Hey, us financial types can do anything!) Although if you have the time, it can often make sense to modify your resume for a specific opportunity, more often than not there just isn’t time. So, what to do? Well, your cover letter is a perfect place to provide explanations for a variety of obvious questions that inquiring minds need answered. Let’s start with that [ Read more… ]

Meeting the RIGHT folks

From our daily member newsletter on August 8, 2017

Being successful at getting meetings with potential decision makers who don’t have a job right now, but who might make one for you after they meet you, is why networking is the most successful approach to finding a job. Frankly, this is how most business is really done at our level. If you have only gotten interviews through ads or recruiters you are probably wondering how do those lucky dudes do it? How do they manage to get in front of the right people and sweet talk them into offering them a job? Keep in mind that you are not a pea in a pod. You are a unique accumulation of talents acquired over a number of years. If you [ Read more… ]

That strange device with the numbers

From our daily member newsletter on August 7, 2017

Although I must admit that I no longer use #2 pencils, I am still greatly addicted to using that ancient device called a phone. If you’re not sure what that is, it has a keyboard that looks a lot like a 10 key pad, but the number 1 is in the upper left hand corner of the 12 key array instead of the lower left hand corner (where it should be), like on an adding machine. (If anyone knows why it’s reversed, please write to me. I’m dying to know.) Some of you may be so old (like me) to also know phones that had rotary dials. (This is where the phrase “dial him up” comes from.) In today’s world [ Read more… ]

Time stands still

From our daily member newsletter on August 6, 2017

I can never understand why people hesitate in contacting old friends. It has been one of the blessings in my life that over the 20+ years that I have been Chairing this august body, I have been able to reconnect with almost all of the people I worked with since the 1970’s. (Yes, I am that old!) I have even reconnected with some new friends that I have only known 10-20 years. My experience has been that anyone you have ever known is DELIGHTED to hear from you. This goes for old “enemies” as well. While you may have argued at length with some of these idiots (Did I say idiots? I meant uninformed individuals.), the “discussion” was actually about [ Read more… ]

Members in need of assistance

From our daily member newsletter on August 3, 2017

I am sure I don’t need to tell all of you that The FENG is a remarkable organization. It is also unusual in its tone. If I had to come up with two reasons why things are different in The FENG than in the rest of the world, I would start with the fact that EVERYONE in The FENG was sponsored for membership. Because we are a circle of friends and not a fee for service, many of the things that we do for each other have no price associated with them. After all, what price could one place on friendship or acts of friendship, and how would someone go about coming up with a price structure. (Such are the [ Read more… ]

Damaged goods

From our daily member newsletter on August 2, 2017

There was an article in The Wall Street Journal several years ago that made the following points: 1. The unemployed are damaged goods 2. Recruiters prefer finding those who are not actively seeking new jobs 3. Networking groups are of little value While to a degree I hesitate to take exception with this esteemed periodical, I must point out that the first two issues are not news. Anyone who has read John Lucht’s book “Rites of Passage” would already know that recruiters have an inherent prejudice against those who are unemployed and are generally speaking charged with stealing someone from a competitor. That’s why they get the “big bucks.” Hence, those who are unemployed are not really of interest because [ Read more… ]

Are you serious in applying?

From our daily member newsletter on August 1, 2017

Let’s be honest. There aren’t a lot of job postings in our evening newsletter that really are a fit for your particular background, salary and location preferences. This being the case, you would think that if you saw an opportunity in our newsletter that strongly fit your background, you would take the time to do it right. Let me first suggest to you that there simply is no excuse to having a resume that isn’t well done. With all the books that have been written on the topic of resumes, yours needs to be as close to perfect as it can be. There are several popular approaches that I think are wrong. One is to leave off your home address. [ Read more… ]

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