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 each company in your reverse chronological resume. I wasn’t born yesterday, but many of the individuals assigned to do initial screening were. Don’t assume they know the industries where you have worked. It won’t be long before no one will even remember Polaroid or Kodak. You don’t have to be a perfect industry match, but the analogy should be obvious. If it isn’t obvious, make a comment in your email cover note.
The second criteria is “location, location, location.” Very few firms these days want to get involved in relocation issues. If you aren’t local, don’t get cute and leave off your home address. If you think anyone is going to fooled, be assured they aren’t as dumb as you think they are. If you aren’t local, be sure to mention why you and your family are dying to move to (fill in the blank) in your one page cover letter. This is honestly an “elephant sitting in the room,” so don’t even try to skirt the issue. I would mention here that there are certain city pairs that are less credible than others, and you can probably guess which ones they are. The point is that if you are serious about moving, you have a tougher case to prove.
The third criteria is titles you have held with respect to the title in question. An Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer is NOT going to get hired as a Director of Financial Planning & Analysis. It is not credible that an individual at that level would be able, let alone willing to go down that far in responsibilities and be happy. Could you do the job? You’re kidding, right? Of course you could do the job. But that isn’t the question.
The fourth criteria is accomplishments and specific nuts and bolts. Every job posting has them. Some of them are less obvious than others. Sometimes it is specific software. If you have worked on similar programs, this is another issue for your email cover note. Sometimes it is the scope of the company. Again, could you learn on the job? You’re kidding, right? Of course you could, but in a “beauty contest,” you aren’t likely to be selected to do so.
I often make the point with those who are only answering job leads that none of this matters as much when you are networking. A job lead is a “fair fight,” and I have never been a big fan of fair fights. Hey, I could lose. But, that is not the topic of tonight’s editorial.
Back to the subject of geese and golden eggs. Don’t blow it for everyone else. The odds on lottery tickets are very, very low.
Let’s keep our Friends of The FENG coming back again and again.