EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

One subject that comes up all the time is the importance of having an explanation as to why you are looking for another job.

I have always felt that it was a waste of your valuable time to provide an explanation in your 90 second announcement, and I still feel that way. Unless you were arrested and convicted of a crime, or fired for cause, I probably will not find any useful information in your explanation. And, if that was why you are now looking for another job, you probably won’t tell me.

What I really need to know is the nature of your credentials and how I might be able to help you.

So, I have always felt that it didn’t make any sense to bring it up. Besides, it is bound to bring up unpleasant and negative thoughts at a time in the conversation when I am still trying to get to know you. (In addition, I prefer not to be with negative people, or those who are feeling sorry for themselves.)

So, I thought I would share a few thoughts with you on “how to get the job done.”

Although it is not our style to be brief, you need to be. I know that “primarily due to, partially offset by” is closer to how we think about things. However, a simple explanation is all that is required.

In my case back in 1991, the advertising agency for which I worked was in the process of losing its largest account. My boss quit and over the next few months they hired a replacement who was charged with saving this account. He, of course, wanted his own financial guy.

As you can see, already too long a story. I now just tell folks that the agency lost its largest account and closed its doors in 3 months. I leave out all of the details about the venomous personal relationships, the back stabbing and also about how unfair it all was. Well, I guess you had to be there to understand it. (And, you wouldn’t have wanted to be.)

In any case, you get about 10 seconds and/or two sentences to get the story out. You don’t need to prove anything and you don’t want to be in the “maiden doth protest too much” situation either.

“The company hired a new president and he wanted his own team.” is more than sufficient. Story done. On to happier topics like how I can help you make your business more profitable.

“The company was acquired and all of the functions in my areas of responsibility were moved to …” (I’ll let you fill in the city so I don’t get into any trouble.) I have a lot of family in the area and chose not to move. (See, two sentences and well under the 10 second requirement.)

Sure, the truth is that it is somehow incomplete to provide a brief explanation, and I know you will feel somewhat uncomfortable the first time you provide one, but I think you will find that this is all that people really want to hear.

They need some explanation, but not much.

Regards, Matt

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