EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Much as I hate using cliché phrases as the one above, I don’t really know if there is a better one to describe the process of self-examination that is required when faced with looking for another “work opportunity.”

(I call them work opportunities instead of jobs, because they don’t generally last long enough these days to be dignified with that “job” label.)

Of course, I should preface my comments with the very obvious fact that changing industries or professions in any job market is very difficult. There are plenty of folks who are “local candidates,” or from the required industry. Competing against them in any sense isn’t an even contest, but competing rarely is as much fun as folks make it out to be anyway, so you will just have to have at it.

As one of my college professors once said: “It isn’t American to kick a man when he is down, but name a better time.” The job search corollary to this is that many of our members have no choice in their need to reinvent themselves because their industry or area of expertise is not in demand at present.

Since this has been officially been declared cliché night, another one I would throw your way is that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In job search terms this means that your next job needs to represent some logical extension of your prior work experience.

We should accept the fact that we won’t be the exact match most folks are seeking, but we shouldn’t let that stop us from pursuing these opportunities.

What are the logical extensions to which you can branch? Well, like everything else in this world, that is hard to say. Still, being a member of The FENG does have its advantages because you have a terrific research tool at your fingertips.

Yes, I am talking about our Member Directory Search feature that you can use simply by signing into our website. (Our members come in over 40,000+ different flavors — almost like ice cream and a lot less fattening.)

In order to get from here to there, one must always start with here. (This is a cliché I just made up, so I guess it isn’t a cliché, is it?) Anyway, if you can find folks in The FENG who are just like you and find out what they are thinking, you can save yourself ingesting a whole lot of Excedrin and also save yourself a whole lot of time.

What are the logical product extensions for you? We know you are smart and well educated, but what talents have you acquired over the years that will qualify you for opportunities in other industries? Just understand it will be a hard sell because you aren’t a direct fit, but even square pegs can be driven into round holes if you use a big enough hammer.

(As I have often been heard to say, don’t force it; use a bigger hammer.)

Now that you have identified those folks who are just like you, and hopefully done a little networking, go to our website again with a list of target companies in hand and using our Member Directory Search feature do a search for members who have worked at those firms. This time your approach is to check out whether your assumptions are true or false and how you might have to adjust your resume so that it will make sense to those receiving it. (I think you can call this testing the null hypothesis.)

Striking off in new directions with a focus is a lot better than flailing wildly. Done properly you are more likely to be making the best use of your time and hopefully getting closer to your goal.

Just don’t invent yourself into a buggy whip manufacturer. There just isn’t much demand for them right now. (But if the price of gasoline goes up again, there just might be soon.)

Regards, Matt

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