EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

At a glance

From our daily member newsletter on January 31, 2018

There is a rumor out in the world that the attention span of your “average American” is getting shorter. Sad to say, but most likely very true. We see it all around us. So many things are screaming for our attention on a given day. Before the advent of computers it was quite a bit harder to respond to job postings. The gold standard was a personally written letter, and how many could a person crank out in a single day? I type 90 words a minute, and when I was in the Army I was fortunate to be in a clerical position where I had my very own typewriter. Still, I couldn’t write very many letters in a single [ Read more… ]

A gap or a cover-up?

From our daily member newsletter on January 30, 2018

Time goes by fast when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? And what greater fun is there than conducting a job search? Okay, it may not be as much fun as it appears to be to those looking in from the outside. But still, you can’t beat those lunches and phone calls with old friends, not to mention all the strangers who are strangers no longer. Unfortunately as the weeks and months go by that old standby on your resume of “2010 to present” rings less and less true, and “2010 to 2016” looks even worse. There are many issues to consider in solving this time problem on your resume. The first is that financial folks generally speaking have great difficulty [ Read more… ]

Selling life jackets to those drowning

From our daily member newsletter on January 29, 2018

Since a significant percentage of our members are in the job market, I thought I would make you aware that almost all of the job search related websites are in the business of selling life jackets to people who are drowning. And, the life jackets they sell don’t actually work. An alternate way of saying it is they are trying to pick your pocket. Job leads, in and of themselves, are almost totally and completely worthless. Heresy perhaps. Yes, someone does win the lottery every day. Yes, you should leave no stone unturned. Still, the perceived value of a job lead, especially on an Internet website, is a LOT less than you think it is. And, be aware that many [ Read more… ]

Geese and golden eggs

From our daily member newsletter on January 28, 2018

I am sure that I don’t need to repeat the fable of the goose that laid golden eggs, so I will move right into the analogy. The goose is The FENG (also a living organism) and the golden eggs are the ability to network with other members. (If networking isn’t true gold, I don’t know what is.) In order to keep our goose laying golden eggs, all we have to do is treat it well. And, that is why I always recommend being VERY selective in developing your mailing lists of your fellow members of our august body. We need to exercise due care because what might appear to save you time can easily diminish the value of our circle [ Read more… ]

I’m a complicated guy

From our daily member newsletter on January 25, 2018

I always try to tell people who ask that I am just a simple financial guy. But I guess the truth is that all of us financial types are complicated in one way or another. Unlike lawyers and doctors who (thanks to Hollywood) everyone THINKS they know what they do every day, our profession (other than our role in stealing investor’s money) is not very well known. Let’s face it, a TV show about us would probably put everyone to sleep. (Hey, I’m feeling groggy just writing about us.) When asked to do a 90 second announcement about our career, we are hard pressed to find the right words. And how could it be otherwise? What we do IS complicated [ Read more… ]

Removing mental obstacles

From our daily member newsletter on January 24, 2018

A very long time ago, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of our Hartford/Springfield chapter. I was one of two guest speakers. The other speaker was a gentleman from Robert Half who spoke about the local market. What was of particular interest to me was his perception of people who lived in the area and how those who lived in Massachusetts wouldn’t consider jobs just over the border in Connecticut and those who lived on one side of the river wouldn’t consider jobs on the other side, even though all of these possibilities were within 30 miles of their homes and traffic really wasn’t any worse in the various directions. It got me to thinking about how easy [ Read more… ]

Making networking benefit YOU

From our daily member newsletter on January 23, 2018

I am always trying to explain networking to users. Tonight I am going to try to explain networking to givers. The common misperception is that networking is a give and take. You give to others and they take. Nothing could be further from the truth. Networking as I suggest it be practiced in The FENG is a process that should benefit YOU as much as those to whom you give networking contacts. How so? Let me explain. If you are contacted by someone who has a background connection to you, your goal is to present them to someone you know will be delighted to hear from them. Not always easy to figure out, but if the person contacting you is [ Read more… ]

Sharing with the family

From our daily member newsletter on January 22, 2018

Job search can be a lonely business. There you are, in your home office from the moment you get up in the morning until just before you go to bed. Emails are going out. Letters are being sent. Appointments are being made. (And, the only time you leave the house is for this purpose.) The problem is, have you found a way to share with your family what you are doing every day and what progress you are making? Yes, I know progress is hard to measure. I hear it often from members that they tried this or that many times, but of course it hasn’t worked yet. It seems the only measure we feel comfortable as meaning anything is [ Read more… ]

E I E I O

From our daily member newsletter on January 21, 2018

I suppose I could be wrong about all of this, but I find the use of “, MBA” as part of your name to be a bad idea. Yes, I know that not everyone has an MBA, but in my opinion unless you are a CPA or a Ph.D., you need to exercise a little caution in the initials you place after your name. My sister sells commercial insurance and as I understand it, every time you take a test of some sort you get another set of initials you can use after your name. At meetings where you might be introduced, they read your name and ALL of your initials which everyone at these gatherings of fellow insurance folks [ Read more… ]

Attention to detail

From our daily member newsletter on January 18, 2018

Stop me if I am wrong, but I always thought that financial folks were known for their attention to detail. Aren’t we known as total compulsives, or did I miss something? Sad to say, but it apparently isn’t true. Most of my daily communication is from fellow financial executives and I am continually appalled at the mistakes of all kinds that I see in what they send me. I was reviewing candidates for one of my assignments for The FECG recently and I couldn’t believe how many email cover letters had no information at all, had no subject, didn’t follow directions on the file naming convention I request, or had cover letters attached that began “Dear Sir or Madam.” You’ll [ Read more… ]

Save the Nauga

From our daily member newsletter on January 17, 2018

I assume that most of you are unaware that in addition to being Chairman of The FENG, I am also president of the Save The Nauga Society. I have been actively involved in trying to save the nauga from extinction for many years. While naugas existed in most parts of the world in large numbers, over the years they have been hunted for their hides for use in making furniture. In my youth, my parents had chairs and a couch covered in material made from naugas. These cute little creatures have very tough skin and the product that is made from it is, of course, called Naugahyde. While one can’t argue with the durability of furniture covered in Naugahyde, these [ Read more… ]

They aren’t making any more of it

From our daily member newsletter on January 16, 2018

Ah, that very useful invention of mine, the day stretcher. If only it actually worked. Not only doesn’t it work, but it would also appear that there is nothing one can do about time that is lost. Once time has passed, it is gone. (When sailing, it is similar to what I call the sploosh syndrome, which I apply to anything that falls over board that doesn’t float.) It is a shame we can’t make our days longer or actually make up for lost time, but it is one of those “facts of life” that we can’t do anything about. All that is left for us to do is to make the best use of the time we have each [ Read more… ]

Selling from a full wagon

From our daily member newsletter on January 15, 2018

Although it is certainly true that it isn’t possible to sell from an empty wagon, the difficulty of selling from one that is full is greatly under rated. As senior financial professionals, and as individuals not seriously trained in sales, we frequently find ourselves in the position of have too much to sell and not enough listening skills in place early in a search process to be able to know what our “customers” want to buy. New salespersons in training typically do what is called in personal selling terms “throwing up on the customer.” All of the hard gained product knowledge is brought forth in one giant burp before the customer can squeeze a word in edgewise. Not a good [ Read more… ]

Getting back at it

From our daily member newsletter on January 14, 2018

Okay sports fans, the new year has begun. It is now January 14th and time is slipping away. At the moment this year promises to be a good one for employment. (Then again, the light at the end of the tunnel I am seeing could be a speeding locomotive.) Although you have to “do it all,” I would suggest that your area of greatest focus needs to be networking, networking, networking. (And then, if you have time, more networking.) Networking within The FENG needs to be conducted with research and careful thoughtfulness as to the time of other members. I have in recent weeks seen several inappropriate approaches. As much as I encourage members to communicate with one another, please [ Read more… ]

Geese and golden eggs

From our daily member newsletter on January 11, 2018

One of our very most important audiences are members of the search community who are registered as Friends of The FENG. When you communicate with these folks, briefly, you are expected to behave yourself. Members of The FENG are expected to only respond when reasonably qualified. What does this mean? If you wouldn’t hire you for the job in question, don’t respond. Job leads are unfortunately a beauty contest of sorts. With all the well qualified people who are out there in the world, the candidate pool is deep. Let me give you a recruiter’s perspective on how one might go through a pile of resumes. The first criteria is industry. Hopefully you have put a one line descriptor after [ Read more… ]

Knowing what’s important

From our daily member newsletter on January 10, 2018

I always find it interesting during 90-second announcements how nearly identical are the descriptions of “ideal jobs” when compared to the one a member has most recently left. Since we are all financial folks, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. As history based individuals, it is hard to have any view of the world that isn’t colored by our past experience. Add to this the fact that we KNOW what we have been doing, but are not aware of ALL the possibilities out in the world. On the flipside, some members claim to be “all things to all people,” when clearly their background only lends itself to very narrow applications. A job search needs to be viewed as a new [ Read more… ]

Let’s keep it a secret

From our daily member newsletter on January 9, 2018

Any more than someone would write “Please Broadcast Widely” at the top of their resume, putting “Confidential” is just as silly in many ways. I’m sure that this is written up somewhere as the appropriate thing to do, so I am not faulting anyone who does it, but it really is unnecessary. It is just as silly to not show your current employer and to put in something like “Major Manufacturer.” It is unfortunate, but those doing search these days have even less time for mysteries than those who were doing it before the Great Recession set in. The volume of email and paperwork that crosses one’s desk today is beyond belief. If you want to get yourself excluded from [ Read more… ]

Putting your best foot forward

From our daily member newsletter on January 8, 2018

The development of a resume can be a long and involved process. There are so many ideas that others have to share with you, and each person with whom you speak has their own perspective about what is right and what is wrong. Your resume is also in part an historical document charged with chronicling your career from formal education through most recent work assignment. Some of the nonsense, misapplied these days, centers on the idea that only the most recent 10 years are of interest to the reader. True, but that doesn’t mean leave off everything earlier. The formatting and shaping of a resume is so much easier today than it was back in 1991 when I faced my [ Read more… ]

A rose by any other name

From our daily member newsletter on January 7, 2018

Back in 1991 after I had been out of work for only a few weeks I sent out a mailing and somehow managed to get an interview with a guy who looked and talked like Frank Perdue. After we shook hands, he offered me his business card and asked for mine. I told him I didn’t have one. He then asked me if I had a name. I said yes. He asked me if I had an address. I said yes. He asked me if I had a phone number. I said yes. Well, he said, you should have a business card. Fortunately for me, he moved on with the interview. But, lesson learned, I went out the next day [ Read more… ]

Hanging on to unpleasantness

From our daily member newsletter on January 4, 2018

I don’t know if you remember “Rain Man” with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, but there was one scene where Tom Cruise either hit or yelled at Dustin Hoffman and Dustin proceeded to write it down in a notebook he carried. He was very meticulous in noting the “offense” and the date and time. In much the same way I hear stories all the time from our members about various things that have happened to them over the course of their job search. I’m sure the offending person has continued on their way without noting the damage that they have done, but the pain they have inflicted often remains as strongly felt as the day it happened. It is easy [ Read more… ]

There’s honestly no excuse

From our daily member newsletter on January 3, 2018

There was a time, I suppose, when it was really hard to get back to people. Let’s say someone sent you a smoke signal. I guess you would first have to build a fire, and a smoky one at that. If they sent you a message towards the end of the day, would you really have enough time to respond? And, if you waited until the morning, how would you know if they were still listening? If someone sent you a papyrus scroll, not only would you feel obligated to respond, you probably would have to feed and house the messenger who brought it while you prepared your own papyrus scroll. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Well, it probably was. If [ Read more… ]

Unbelievable!

From our daily member newsletter on January 2, 2018

When asked how your job search is going or your job, the best answer is “unbelievable.” Unbelievable can of course mean in reality good or bad. If things are really really bad, they are certainly unbelievable. And if you are pinching yourself to make sure you are awake, they could also be unbelievably good. You have the opportunity by saying “unbelievable” to leave others with the impression you are doing quite well. The question you may be asking is why you would do such a deceitful thing which is tantamount to lying if you are having one heck of a bad day. The reason is quite simple. No one really wants to know. It’s not that they don’t care. It [ Read more… ]

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