EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Please, give me a hint

From our daily member newsletter on November 14, 2017

Every once in a while I get an assignment for The FECG that draws more than its fair share of attention. I think our all time high a few years ago was an assignment that drew 225 responses. However, even when you get an assignment that draws more than say 40 responses, it can get a little difficult to see the forest for the trees. And, with all that talent to choose from, those who provide the clearest presentation of their credentials are the ones we are most likely to send to our client for consideration. To be very honest, it’s hard to justify forcing our client to “read between the lines” when you have so many better submissions. Here [ Read more… ]

Email cover notes

From our daily member newsletter on November 13, 2017

Based on the email cover notes I see, I’m not sure we have all made the transition from messages sent in envelopes to those sent by email. Personally, I have always found electronic files to be maddening, especially very highly developed Excel spreadsheets. Adopting naming conventions so that you can be clear which version of a file was the latest one, used to and still does drive me crazy at times. And, as you can imagine, I’m a pretty organized guy. Purging files from your computer can also be unnerving because when it’s gone, it’s gone. The problem in a nutshell (Help, I’m locked in a nutshell!) is that reviewing the files on your computer by opening them is like [ Read more… ]

A fear of being contacted

From our daily member newsletter on October 26, 2017

Gosh, please don’t call me. That’s the message that I seem to get from time to time when I am trying to track down candidates for the consulting assignments and full time jobs I am handling through The FECG. I have also been alerted to this fear by one of our chapter chairs who noted that folks weren’t putting their phone numbers on his meeting attendance sheet. Okay, you do have one phone number on your resume and you may even have this same number in your outgoing signature. That said, you can’t be reached there. If you are still employed, it is your home phone number. I’m sure you will find my message when you get there at the [ Read more… ]

Dear FENG Member or Current Occupant

From our daily member newsletter on September 25, 2017

In keeping with the spirit of networking that makes The FENG a remarkable organization, it is appropriate that we share our contact information. And, when other members reach out to you, it is EXPECTED that you will take the time to respond. (Yes, I know you are busy, but so am I and I need your help. It is one of those “many hands make light work” things. Besides, I am not always the right person to contact.) What makes this obligation a joy to fulfill is that most members pick and choose whom to contact and are genuinely interested in creating mutually beneficial long term relationships. However, from time to time I find members sending out what appear to [ Read more… ]

Have you seen my glasses?

From our daily member newsletter on August 29, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I am always misplacing things. I work pretty hard at keeping my papers organized, but like anything else, papers can get lost. When they do, it makes me absolutely crazy. Even when I have another copy on my computer, I am obsessed to find the copy that is on my desk. Finding information on documents I also find maddening. Back in the early 70’s when I worked at B. Altman & Company as an Internal Auditor, I was just amazed at the inconsistencies in invoicing formats by the firms doing business in the same industry. I know you won’t believe this, but sometimes I can be a little impulsive. Yeah, I know, how could [ Read more… ]

Junk mail

From our daily member newsletter on August 21, 2017

I don’t know what you consider to be junk mail. I view anything I don’t want to get in the mail (including bills) to be unwanted. (Can’t they send my bills to YOU for payment? Okay, you probably wouldn’t pay them and then my credit would be ruined. I guess I’ll have to come up with another plan.) Anyway, the same principle applies to email. We all get a lot of spam these days. It appears that asking to be taken off their list only serves to confirm your address, and you get even more junk email. Now if only I got offers for things I could actually use, or offers for stuff that REALLY was free. (Fine, this probably [ Read more… ]

Computers are here to stay

From our daily member newsletter on July 24, 2017

I sometimes get the feeling from the format of emails I get and the strange formatting of resumes I see that there are those who believe computers are just a passing phase in our society. I don’t know how to break this to those of you who have been reluctant to “get with the program,” one of the measures of you on the part of those receiving your many missives is your computer knowledge. Perhaps “back on the block” (i.e. when you were working for the big corporation), you had someone to run your email and underlings to develop spreadsheets to execute your many ideas. Well, to a large degree, those days are over for most of us. Even when [ Read more… ]

Before you click send

From our daily member newsletter on June 18, 2017

The fun never stops here at world headquarters of The FENG. I get more amusing emails probably than anyone else on the face of the earth. Let’s start with the use of “Matt’s secret decoder ring.” Thank goodness it is made out a durable electronic material. Each day about 75% of the emails I get lack an outgoing signature. Now I know that learning how to create an outgoing signature could take upwards of 15 minutes and that your time is best spent elsewhere, but it sure would help me to immediately know who you are and how to reach you. A proper outgoing signature should include your full name, street address, city, state, zip code, phone numbers and email [ Read more… ]

Catch me if you can

From our daily member newsletter on June 8, 2017

Several years ago, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks starred in a movie about Frank Abagnale Jr. who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor. The basic story is that over the course of several years, Carl Hanratty, played by Tom Hanks tracks down Frank Abagnale played by Leonardo DiCaprio. I often feel like Carl Hanratty, only in my case, I am trying to track down members of The FENG. As Chairman of The FENG, I often feel that I could easily become a detective at this point in my life given the skills I have acquired. I can’t believe how frequently during the day I get [ Read more… ]

Precision in your communications

From our daily member newsletter on April 30, 2017

Perhaps it all started with the telegraph. (Hey, they were charging by the word.) Or, was it the CB radio? Somewhere along the line we have all come to believe that brevity, even when not entirely correct, is somehow okay. Today’s communication formats such as the various smart phones don’t lend themselves to being complete or correct. There is even an available statement you can add to your outgoing messages from these devices that highlights the fact that it wasn’t sent from a regular computer. (I guess the expectation is that folks on the receiving end will therefore be more forgiving.) I won’t even get into Twitter. (140 characters is really constraining.) It is sad, really, that we allow these [ Read more… ]

A fair fight

From our daily member newsletter on April 18, 2017

One of the most over rated things in this world is a fair fight. I suppose the belief in a fair fight is to a very large degree all part of the American Western heritage of the gunfighter. Two men armed with six-shooters (the great equalizer) standing 20 paces apart face each other in the street. Is it fair to draw first, and if it is, under what conditions? What if you aren’t as fast as the other guy or as good a shot? What exactly are the rules? Is the use of secret weapons in war unfair? And, does this mean we can’t use hidden advantages? I don’t know about you, but I am generally inclined to bring a [ Read more… ]

Don’t call me, I’ll call you

From our daily member newsletter on April 16, 2017

I have been trying to do a better job of keeping up with my email these days. I must admit that from time to time I have fallen very far behind. (My personal record is 600 or 800 unanswered after one of my vacations, but that was a long time ago.) Sure, I know all of you can appreciate how much email I get and are forgiving if I fall behind, but I sort of feel that I have made a commitment and I should make every effort to get back to those who need my help on a timely basis. Having been out of work myself for almost two years back in 1991-1992, I know how it feels. I [ Read more… ]

Too smart for our own good

From our daily member newsletter on April 11, 2017

One of the problems with being a senior financial executive is that we have all the answers. We have, for good or bad, “been there and done that.” Frankly, it is hard to conceal that knowledge and experience in an interview. Call it “overqualified” or whatever name you like, but it is difficult to imagine ANY job that at this stage in your career represents a huge challenge. Most likely, it will only occupy a portion of the many skills you have acquired over the years. There are so many things that only happen once or twice a year, and if you have 20+ years of experience, you have likely seen them 30 times or more. So, what’s a person [ Read more… ]

Setting expectations

From our daily member newsletter on April 3, 2017

One of the very important issues facing us as an organization is the “care and feeding” of our many friends in the search community. (And, there aren’t many left.) While studies have shown that only about 15% of the jobs in this country are handled by recruiters, to me they are still an important audience for us to treat with respect. And yes, they have feelings too. (I will let you guess how the other 85% are filled. Okay, I’ll tell you: Networking, networking and more networking.) Our first rule as an organization is that any job posted in our newsletter is to be responded by “qualified members only” and at no time, even if you are SO smart that [ Read more… ]

Details, details, details

From our daily member newsletter on March 28, 2017

One of the most annoying things about us financial types (at least to non-financial types) is the long-winded and seemingly endless explanations we provide when discussing complicated situations. Although we are mistakenly thought to always “cut to the chase” or go right to “the bottom line,” when it comes to communicating about important matters, no detail no matter how small or insignificant (to others) can be left out if in our minds it provides a link of logic important to the “moral” of our story. Nowhere is this more true than the saga of how we lost our last job or when asked to discuss our career progression. In the case of why we left our last job, it is [ Read more… ]

Why bother?

From our daily member newsletter on March 21, 2017

I was working on two assignments for The FECG a few weeks ago and I couldn’t help but notice the frequency with which some members consistently failed to provide a meaningful cover letter with their resume. (Just so you know, assignments marketed by our consulting practice are only presented to members of The FENG for their consideration.) I have often been heard to say that “your resume stands alone.” It’s true. But, sometimes we need a little more information. When a member’s candidacy is marginal, that email cover note can really make the difference. When I say marginal I am not talking about the general qualifications of the individual in question, but rather his/her suitability for the particular assignment we [ Read more… ]

The fine line

From our daily member newsletter on February 6, 2017

To call or not to call, that is the question. To write or not to write, that is the question. When is enough, enough? (Or perhaps you should just show up in person and demand to see someone?) At what point do you move from showing your persistence and tenacity to just being a pest? Well, the truth is, I don’t know. I do operate on the principle that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. It comes from my many years as Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency trying to collect bills from our clients. How often I heard the story: “I was just about to put your check in the mail.” Oh sure, now that I called. [ Read more… ]

Local candidates only

From our daily member newsletter on November 29, 2007

I know how disheartening it can be to get to the bottom of a job posting and see those deathless words: “Local candidates only” Still, the facts are that there are always lots of qualified folks applying for any great job and at least in major metropolitan areas there is no need for a company to move someone. In addition to the availability of local talent, a not so obvious issue is the difficulty of meeting and getting to know a candidate from outside the area. If we are talking “East Coast/West Coast”, the three hour time difference can make it difficult to connect. With this as a backdrop, if you see a job posting that is a good fit [ Read more… ]

Creating actionable messages

From our daily member newsletter on November 14, 2007

I’m a pretty organized guy. If I weren’t, it would be possible to get all the things done in a day that I try to accomplish. (I have even gotten all my e-mail up to date!)   Still, a few times a day I get an e-mail from someone with incomplete information.   Earlier in the day I wrote to a new member applicant and asked them to send me a resume with their educational information. Not a smart thing to leave off your resume, but okay, these things happen. He was also lacking a sponsor as far as I knew, so I mentioned that as well.   The note back read in part: “Attached is a revised resume and, [ Read more… ]

Common courtesy

From our daily member newsletter on November 11, 2007

There are some who would argue that in this day and age of e-mail, the world has become a more impersonal place than in those halcyon days of yesteryear.   Please say it isn’t so. In this e-mail age, it has become SO easy to be personal, that I can’t for the life of me fathom why anyone wouldn’t take the time to say thank you to anyone and everyone who sends them a message.   I like to think that I have 27,000 friends. (I hope all of you feel the same way.) Although all of you need to be patient with me from time to time because I fall behind in my e-mail, I make every attempt to [ Read more… ]

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