EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

As someone who always suggested to his children that a pair of scissors would be a good tool for putting together jigsaw puzzles, perhaps I am not the right person to be constantly preaching about “qualified members only.”

Still, having the SPECIFIC experience for a particular job posting is, generally speaking, the best situation for any job applicant. The reason is that you can’t easily talk to a job posting.

When reviewing resumes against a position description, about 50% goes to location, 25% goes to industry background, and the remaining amount is a subjective judgment of your technical skills.

So, what’s a person to do if they are the puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit anywhere? Well, I would suggest you take out a pair of scissors and a few magic markers and get started on rethinking your background.

If you aren’t one of the pieces in the box, it is time for a little out of the box thinking.

Step one is to assemble anywhere from 25 to 50 position descriptions which interest YOU. Comb through the requirements for these jobs and try to assemble a condensed list that represents all of the things THEY seem to want and which YOU think you can do.

Now is the time to take all of the earlier versions of your resume and the accomplishments over which you have labored so diligently and try to paste them in under the right heading.

Here is what you will find. First, you are probably not using the right language. Yes, speaking the language of the POSTING is important. You know that funny song, you call it potato I call it potato. (Funny, it doesn’t sound right typed out. Oh well, I guess you had to be there.) Anyway, you get the point. Pick up on the current terms for what it is you know how to do. It may require you to describe things more generically. Perhaps you are using terms that are really only known to you, your old firm, or your old industry. Get with the program and say it THEIR way.

Secondly, you will most likely need to EXPAND what are really minor things you have done. But hey, if they are in demand, who are you to argue. Buggy whip manufacturing skills aren’t in demand like they used to be, but my guess is that the skills required for buggy whip manufacturing have some relationship to things that are required now.

The point is that you need to transmogrify who you see yourself to be based on your past into the person you need to be to appear qualified for jobs that are posted.

The added bonus is that by going through this process of rethinking who you are, what you can do and how you can do it, you will be better prepared for those networking calls where you are talking to those who are so thick that they can’t understand how to apply your very considerable skills.

Most of us are over qualified for just about EVERYTHING. That doesn’t mean we can’t bring great value to a situation. It just means we have to do a little more explaining.

As financial folks, we have universally applicable skills. All that is needed is to for us to learn to communicate our value in the language of our “customers.” It is never easy, but let’s face it, they will never take the time to figure it out on their own.

Regards, Matt

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