EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

A time of renewal

From our daily member newsletter on July 7, 2019

Although everyone thinks that spring is a time of renewal, actually (just like networking) any point in time and any excuse will do. For those of us who are in their 40’s and 50’s, periods of unemployment early in our career have probably been non-existent. The experience of being unemployed can be stressful unless you use the time to good advantage. One way of doing this is to, in part, create a new you. I’m not talking about plastic surgery, but there are always things you can do that will make you into a “new” person. After you have gone through the initial steps of preparing your job campaign and networking with everyone you can think of, it may be [ Read more… ]

Paint on a smile

From our daily member newsletter on July 2, 2019

With the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend, a great opportunity will be presenting itself to you in the form of gatherings of those who know you (and presumably love you). In order to enjoy the greatest benefit, you need to paint on a smile. I don’t care if you have been out of work 3 or more years or if you are losing your job in July, being down in the dumps or coming off as a “sad sack” won’t help your cause. In the opening scene in Patton, you may recall that George C. Scott explained why America wasn’t going to lose the war. Very briefly, Americans love a winner and won’t tolerate a loser. No matter what [ Read more… ]

Qualified members only

From our daily member newsletter on July 1, 2019

What is a qualified member? With many members out of work these days, and search firms with assignments in short supply, I thought I would take the time tonight to restate our approach to leads posted in our newsletter. Those leads which include “please use my name in contacting” and generally speaking leads for positions being handled by retainer based search firms, are not for distribution outside of our network. Recruiters are always afraid they will lose control of a search by having it broadcast too widely. Confidentiality and professionalism is vital on our part to keep recruiters as allies in our respective searches. Each member is asked to abide by these guidelines. With regard to “please use my name” [ Read more… ]

Talking on the phone

From our daily member newsletter on June 30, 2019

In speaking with members of The FENG over the years, it is clear that everyone would enjoy hearing a few words of wisdom on making phone calls. Of course, everyone knows how to push the buttons on the phone, but apparently not everyone is having as much fun doing it as they should. Over the years I have developed a telephone style that works for me. But regardless of your personal style, I think I can provide you with a few principles that will ring true for you as well. The first principle is knowing something about who you are calling and the second is having that person knowing why you are calling. Knowledge on both sides is helpful. For [ Read more… ]

Variations on a theme

From our daily member newsletter on June 27, 2019

For those of you who used to watch Sesame Street back in the 70’s, there was a great skit where one of the Muppets wanted a piece of pie and a glass of milk. Although there was no pie, the Muppet in need of that particular food item kept trying different variations such as a glass of water and a piece of pie, or a cup of coffee and a piece of pie, etc. Basically, nothing he tried got him a piece of pie. As is always the case, many members and many folks who advise members on the structure of their resumes are trying as many variations as the Muppets on what is by its nature a tried and [ Read more… ]

Selling The FENG

From our daily member newsletter on June 26, 2019

I need everyone’s help. No, The FENG isn’t for sale in the retailing sense. That said, it is vitally important that each us every day and in every way, make the “outside world” aware of our unique organization. I have on several occasions since the beginning of the year done a promotion to the search community. We have approximately 4,000+ registered Friends of The FENG. I always get back nice notes when I do these promotions and usually for a few weeks we see an increase in postings in our newsletter. Still, it is not enough. If you are being considered for a job through a search firm, I would ask you to direct them to our website and have [ Read more… ]

Losing a few pounds

From our daily member newsletter on June 25, 2019

I don’t know about you, but I have always wished I were a few pounds lighter. That said, no one should suggest to me that this is the reason I can’t find a job. (As long as my clothes fit.) Gray hair shouldn’t be on their list. Nor should someone suggest surgery to look better. (This one is particularly outrageous!) Additional bad advice is eliminating all references to any job you had over 15 years ago or removing your dates of graduation from college. I always pray that all of the above will be relegated to urban legend, but I continue to be proven wrong. Who are these people that dare to dish out such outrageous trash? Friends, as my [ Read more… ]

It must make sense (to them)

From our daily member newsletter on June 24, 2019

When I was in my mid 30’s, I had the great honor of being treasurer of my congregation, a job I held for 4 full years. It is probably true that I lean towards all-consuming jobs. Or, perhaps I just try to do a good job even when I am not getting paid. Nonetheless, I discovered a lot about human nature performing this often times thankless task. The congregation had a very long list of “members” who were behind in their payments. So, I set about to call all of them. Sure, I tried writing to them, but I found that the only way I got any kind of response was by picking up the phone. Most folks were very [ Read more… ]

The beginning of the rainbow

From our daily member newsletter on June 23, 2019

I know there are still a few unbelievers out there. Yes, they walk among us. Believe it or not, networking is the ticket. If you are waiting to be called and invited to the dance, think again. It isn’t going to happen. Let me suggest to you that The FENG membership database is the pot of gold at the beginning of the rainbow. I am fully aware of the fact that everyone else in the world is looking for the pot of gold at the END of the rainbow, but the networking contacts you can make through a series of searches of our database are only a beginning, and not an end in and of themselves. Our membership directory contains [ Read more… ]

Sharing job leads – a core value

From our daily member newsletter on May 23, 2019

I was in Chicago several years ago and had the great pleasure of having breakfast with Brad Hughes, one of our “Founding Great Grandfathers.” According to legend (and I can say that since The FENG is over 25 years old), Brad was one of the very few folks who ALWAYS brought job leads to pass around at our meeting at the Westport library. We were a grand total of about 15 people on a good day back then, but everyone followed Brad’s fine example and made an effort to find and share job leads. Again, according to legend, there was one job at a leather goods manufacturer that ALL of us interviewed for and there were several others that at [ Read more… ]

A curious requirement

From our daily member newsletter on May 22, 2019

We don’t get as many members applying without sponsors as we used to, but we still get a few. For those who are qualified for membership, each Monday morning after I have finished my new member review for the weekend and sent out our new member announcement, Judith Rudikoff, one of our Administrative Assistants, sends them each a note inviting them to pick up that 400 pound phone and call her. Sad to say, not all of them do. The idea behind having a sponsor is that we are NOT a job listing service. Sure, we publish about 600 pages of job leads a month, but I hope no one confuses that with our true mission of being a networking [ Read more… ]

Getting value from chapter meetings

From our daily member newsletter on May 21, 2019

As I am sure you know, Bruce Lynn and I run a chapter meeting here in Connecticut every month. Marty Latman runs two each month in New Jersey. I am always a little disappointed at the number of people who aren’t properly prepared. I am not criticizing the quality of 90-second announcements or the improvements that might be needed to the resumes I see. Rather, I am commenting on the number of folks who don’t come with the basic tools to be successful at our very important “meet and greets.” First and most important, bring enough copies of your resume for EVERYONE attending. In most cases, this means about 15-25 copies. If your chapter get together is larger, bring more. [ Read more… ]

The sploosh syndrome

From our daily member newsletter on May 20, 2019

Here in Connecticut spring has arrived and with it the beginning of the boating season. We are looking forward to taking our boat out for the first time in the next week or so! Great fun. Anyway, as I begin each season, I sit myself down and remind myself of the ease with which tools are lost over the side. As you settle into outfitting the boat for the season, bringing down the gear and reinstalling things, it is easy to forget. The motion of the boat is a little unfamiliar and there is a lot of confusion. It is also usually still a little cold and often very windy. Being out on the water is an experience that is [ Read more… ]

A reliable used car

From our daily member newsletter on May 19, 2019

Let’s face it, those who “move the iron” — even the new stuff, have a difficult job. But those who sell used cars have it the worst. The phrase “like a used car salesman” is very much part of the American lexicon. It implies the worst of the sales profession. No matter what vehicle you purchase, at the end of the day you feel as if you have been taken advantage of. Not quite as true with new cars. First, there is that new car smell. You sure can’t beat it. Then you have the fact that if you really want to, you can order the car from the factory with exactly the features you want. Basically you pick out [ Read more… ]

Operators are standing by

From our daily member newsletter on May 16, 2019

A few years ago, I got a lovely note from one of our alumni members lamenting the fact that he rarely gets any phone calls from his fellow members requesting networking assistance. Even though he was feeling unloved, he asked me not to mention his name for fear that all of you would call him to make him feel better. In his note, he assured me that although he rarely gets phone calls from his fellow members, when he does, he drops whatever he is doing and gives the individual who is calling his full time and attention for as long as that person needs it. Hey, if he has to work late to make up the time, he was [ Read more… ]

Reading your own resume

From our daily member newsletter on May 15, 2019

It is always a good idea to read your own resume. Sadly, I find that many people don’t. The typographical errors are bad enough. For example, in a recent batch I reviewed for one of our assignments for The FECG, one member even had an obvious error in how he spelled his own name. (Yes, you can’t make this stuff up.) More subtle perhaps are the kinds of things that just make you look plain silly. Starting right at the top, let’s talk about the summary that many of you rightly include as part of your opus. Like a good 90 second announcement, this part of your resume can do you a lot of good or a lot of damage. [ Read more… ]

Telephone sales

From our daily member newsletter on May 8, 2019

If getting up in front of a large group and doing your elevator pitch isn’t bad enough, giving it over the phone is worse. At least in front of a group, large or small, you have some visual feedback as to whether or not it is going over well. Add to this that many folks call you from cell phones with “CB radio” quality connections (i.e. you can’t talk unless they stop), and you have a communication challenge of the first order. There are several suggestions I have heard over the years and some that I use that I will share with you tonight. The first thing to keep in mind is that you never know when an important call [ Read more… ]

A “no wind” situation

From our daily member newsletter on May 7, 2019

As all of you know, one of my passions in this world is sailing. I not only own a sailboat, but I also do a lot of reading about sailing. From time to time I read historical novels about the world of sailors in centuries past. The interesting thing is that many of the issues and concerns of sailors haven’t changed a whole lot. One of the concepts applicable to job search is the problems associated with being becalmed. (This is sometimes referred to as a “no wind” situation.) When the wind is blowing strongly there is always so much you can do. You are moving. You may be scared out of your mind surfing down the face of a [ Read more… ]

What are your sizzle points?

From our daily member newsletter on May 6, 2019

Very few among us are professional sales folks. It is for this reason that some of the more subtle elements of interviewing can easily go by us. When you decide to make a purchase you often have to justify it to others. When you do, you will find yourself repeating things the salesperson told you about the product. Much as you may cringe at the thought that you need to have a slogan or theme song, you almost do. The question I would have for you is how can you make yourself memorable? How can you communicate what we could call your sizzle points? In all of the interviewing that you do, except your interview with the final and ultimate [ Read more… ]

Individual responsibility

From our daily member newsletter on May 5, 2019

One of the themes that I like to present from time to time is the idea that each of us can make a difference. For those of us who live in these United States, it is all very easy to fall into the accepted American concept that everything in this world is actually someone else’s fault. Hence we have the tendency in this country to sue anyone and everyone who might have wronged us. It has created a nice living for the contingency lawyers in this country, but has done little for the American sense of pride and individual responsibility for ourselves and others. Here in our little society we call The FENG we have a unique opportunity to do [ Read more… ]

One step at a time

From our daily member newsletter on May 1, 2019

Taking life one step at a time is never easy. There is something about tasks undone that are just plain hard to take. Still, eating an elephant is best done one bite at a time. For those embarking on a job search, the number of things that need to be done can seem daunting. There are resumes to be written, networking lists to be developed, and knowledge to be acquired. Unfortunately there is no one best way to get started. A lot depends on your current state and what “improvements” you need to make to ensure your campaign is successful. I am a big fan of starting in the middle and working your way out to the sides. If you [ Read more… ]

Are you selling the right stuff?

From our daily member newsletter on April 30, 2019

I don’t know how many of you are aware of it, but The FENG began its life as an organization of VERY senior financial professionals. In the beginning our original core group was over 50 and a few of those folks were even older. The idea was that senior financial professionals needed more help in finding a new job than those in their 30’s. Unfortunately, this is still true. Call it age discrimination, over qualified, or any of the other direct names you want, the effect is the same. Not even some of the softer words help. The simple fact is that a senior financial professional is going to have a harder time of it than someone more junior. There [ Read more… ]

The quest for personal relationships

From our daily member newsletter on April 29, 2019

Over the many years that folks moved off the farm and the security of their local communities to the “big city,” a rather significant shift took place in American society. Please understand that I am an accountant by trade and not an historian, but I believe that 90% of all Americans lived on farms at the beginning of the last century and now only about 5% do. As the automobile put Americans on the road and many of us moved to new places (I’m originally from Chicago, but lived in Indiana for many years before moving to Connecticut), the powerful sense of community that is so important to us as human beings was severely impacted. I suppose it didn’t disappear [ Read more… ]

The Energizer bunny

From our daily member newsletter on April 28, 2019

Probably one of the hardest things to do during a job search is keeping yourself energized. If you are conducting your job search from home, it can be even more difficult. The thing to recognize is that conducting a job search is in some respects painful for us financial types. We don’t get to do spreadsheets (which we adore), and all we get to do is write letters and make phone calls. Sure, making phone calls to collect past due invoices is a lot of fun. But, making networking phone calls, now that’s painful. So, faced with not needing to sharpen our #2 pencils, it can be difficult to get going in the morning. After all, what is there to [ Read more… ]

The pot of gold

From our daily member newsletter on March 21, 2019

I often get the feeling from talking with members about their job search, that many of you are reluctant to use our Member Directory Search feature to full advantage as part of your job search. I only wish I understood why. The FENG membership directory is honestly the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It is a gold mine to all who delve into its many mysteries. It is a research tool and a resource that probably has no equal in the civilized world. (There I go again understating the value of our membership directory.) All other professions can eat their hearts out. Members of The FENG have agreed to open their good offices to one another, [ Read more… ]

You’ve been looking how long?

From our daily member newsletter on March 20, 2019

During the interviewing process we frequently get asked questions for which there is no good answer. I have my favorites of course, but having been out of work myself for almost 2 years back in 1991, the one I will address tonight is “Why have you been out of work so long?” (What a silly question. It’s because I haven’t found a job!) Now back in 1991 it was generally accepted that the country was in a recession. Still, after almost two years, it was a question that came up in interviews. And, it can come across as a tough question even when it begins as it does today with “I know the job market isn’t very good, but how [ Read more… ]

Catch 22

From our daily member newsletter on March 5, 2019

In one of my recent editorials I “beat the drum” about being overly specific on your resume. Generally speaking, one must be very careful about the use of “jargon” on a resume. Arcane and sometimes what we assume are well known computer programs like SAP are not so well known by those reading resumes. In the book Catch 22 (if memory serves) there was mention of the fact that the world is always looking for specialists, and indeed they are. For some opportunities, the knowledge of programs like PeopleSoft, or even QuickBooks for smaller companies is EXACTLY what gets you the job. As it has been said, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. (If you don’t have it, cover it [ Read more… ]

Do the “experts” know anything?

From our daily member newsletter on February 5, 2019

I have observed over my life that most of the people identified as experts are wrong a very high percentage of the time. In much the same way that a clock that has stopped is right twice a day, some acknowledged experts are identified by the media as genius only because they inadvertently made a correct guess at just the right time. Sometimes they have even been right despite themselves, but that never gets discussed. In addition, I hope you have also observed that the same talking heads who were wrong also have an explanation as to why they were wrong. It is all very amusing. Overcoming unconscious age bias is extremely difficult. Overcoming blatant age discrimination is even harder. [ Read more… ]

Talking on the phone

From our daily member newsletter on November 29, 2018

Most of us in the financial community find talking on the telephone to be one of the more challenging things we do. I believe the primary reason is that most of our work is accomplished in written form. When we do present our work to the boss or to our peers, it is usually done face to face and to a very large degree, we set the agenda. In other words, we know the topics and the typical questions that are going to be asked and we are prepared for them. It is for this reason that working the phone can be difficult for us. (Actually, it is probably difficult for everyone!) If you think about the communications aspects of [ Read more… ]

The wind in your sails-not

From our daily member newsletter on November 15, 2018

A long time ago I read a book by Dodge Morgan. Those non-sailors among us will probably not recognize his name, but in his 50’s, Dodge decided to sail solo around the world on a sloop especially designed for him. (I also bought the video of his voyage and heard him speak about his trip, but we won’t get into that.) The area around the equator is referred to by sailors as the doldrums. Ships making passages around the world could be assured of spending an inordinate amount of time trying to cross this part of the ocean. This is in contrast to the southern ocean where the wind blows almost non-stop all year around because there are no land [ Read more… ]

Weather forecasting

From our daily member newsletter on November 14, 2018

Ever the wise sailor, I always (well, almost always) check the weather forecast before heading down to the boat to go out for the day. This may or may not be a valuable activity. My wife jokes that in her next life she wants to be a weather forecaster. They never have to be right and they still get paid. I have to agree that they are frequently wrong, and sometimes I have taken their prognostications to heart and they have caused me to miss a perfectly good sailing day. (As you may know, the sailing season is very short – it is less than 52 weeks per year, so I hate to miss even one day.) There is also [ Read more… ]

Reinventing yourself

From our daily member newsletter on November 13, 2018

Much as I hate using cliché phrases as the one above, I don’t really know if there is a better one to describe the process of self-examination that is required when faced with looking for another “work opportunity.” (I call them work opportunities instead of jobs, because they don’t generally last long enough these days to be dignified with that “job” label.) Of course, I should preface my comments with the very obvious fact that changing industries or professions in any job market is very difficult. There are plenty of folks who are “local candidates,” or from the “required” industry. Competing against them in any sense isn’t an even contest, but competing rarely is as much fun as folks make [ Read more… ]

Watching each other’s back

From our daily member newsletter on November 8, 2018

I don’t know if you have noticed, but all of the job leads from The FECG include a sentence that says “You may forward this to other members of The FENG if you are aware of their background and/or interest in this kind of opportunity.” I wish all the job leads in our newsletter had this sentence. If only our eyes weren’t so bad, and the job leads for our particular areas of expertise so few and far between, I suppose all members could be expected to read the newsletter for themselves and catch all the opportunities that were a fit for them. However, we really do need other members watching out for us. Yes, all of us are responsible [ Read more… ]

Walter Mitty and other matters

From our daily member newsletter on October 31, 2018

Walter Mitty was an interesting guy. Although he did one thing in his real life, he had the opportunity to do lots of exciting things in his imaginary life. As we advance in our careers, I think all of us want the opportunity to do new and different things. It is only normal to want to change industries or change careers. And, many of us actually succeed in doing it. For example, I am doing something very different in my second career. I hope that no one will read this editorial and think I am trying to discourage anyone. Hopes and dreams, however, have to be measured against the economic reality of your value to a potential employer. I don’t [ Read more… ]

The official change of seasons

From our daily member newsletter on October 25, 2018

As the days of fall begin to arrive in the Northeast and the trees begin to change colors, it is all very beautiful. (Today it was outstanding!) However, I know that inevitably the week will come when I will finish decommissioning the boat for the season. (That was this week. I pulled the sails off the boat on Tuesday with help from Bruce Lynn. Today I finished most of my winterizing because a storm is forecast for the weekend.) For those of you who are long standing members of The FENG, you know that in the Bud household, or at least in my mind, the year is divided into only two seasons: summer when I can go sailing, and winter [ Read more… ]

What do you do exactly? And, who are you?

From our daily member newsletter on October 17, 2018

The process of self-assessment is never easy. It is sort of like taking out your own appendix, but without anesthetic. As senior financial folks, it is often the case that we don’t have to engage ourselves in the game of “What is it we do? And, who are we?” until very late in our careers. Unlike the denizens of other professions, we tend to stay at jobs a long time and until we hit middle age, many of us have never known a day out of work. As many of you may be aware, I was Chief Financial Officer of an advertising agency for almost a decade. While I could take a few moments to wax eloquent about the difficulty [ Read more… ]

Change – The only constant

From our daily member newsletter on October 14, 2018

I’m not sure why human beings resist change. It is truly the only constant in our world. For almost 6 years I worked for The Thomson Corporation, a company that was really into change. I used to joke that we reorganized every week even when it wasn’t really necessary, just to keep in practice. Is all change healthy? Probably not. But resisting change is somewhat like spitting into the wind. (And as an avid sailor I am well qualified to explain the unhappy results of doing that!) Getting unstuck on the way to your next success requires thinking about your career in new and different ways and that is what tonight’s editorial is all about – envisioning change in terms [ Read more… ]

Geese and golden eggs

From our daily member newsletter on October 11, 2018

Since we have many new members each year AND many members who may be active again from time to time, I thought it might be a good idea if I wrote about our “qualified members only” approach to responding to job leads and why it works for you. First, let’s understand that posted jobs are only a small portion of the total job market. Most estimates place job leads from search firms and corporations at about 15% of all jobs that are filled. The rest of the jobs are filled by networking. Given the state of the economy right now, my sense is that search firms who are still operating and finding assignments are easily overwhelmed by the volume of [ Read more… ]

Digesting the newsletter

From our daily member newsletter on September 12, 2018

I have to admit that reading the newsletter most nights is like drinking water from a fire hose. The newsletter goes out to many audiences. Like the 6 blind men standing around the elephant, each of those audiences has different needs. This being the case, I will try to suggest a few approaches that are universal. First of all, please know that I love trees. However, if you really want to get the most information out of our newsletter, you honestly need to print it. Back in the bad old days when I got a lot of interoffice mail, I used to read it over the garbage pail. It is a simple fact that, at a glance, you can glean [ Read more… ]

Questions you would rather not answer

From our daily member newsletter on August 16, 2018

There is nothing worse in the world of job search than to have an obvious issue in your background that is difficult to explain. I have often suggested to members that on some topics we discuss there is no right answer. When there is no good answer to something in your background, what do you do? While I am the official spinmeister of The FENG, there are some problems that people raise with me for which every answer is a loser in some ways. When you are faced with one of these kinds of issues, I would suggest that the best defense is not just to have the best possible answer ready, but also to be the one to bring [ Read more… ]

Don’t call me late for lunch

From our daily member newsletter on August 15, 2018

I don’t know if all of you have noticed, but our new member announcement has a field called “Greeting to use.” It is there because I think it is important in establishing networking connections to be able to call people by the name they find most “comfortable.” As I have often said, you can call me anything you like as long as it isn’t late for lunch. Most people who have names that can be abbreviated in various ways will tell you that they don’t really care if you call them William or Bill or even Will for that matter. That said, when you call them on the phone and they say “Bill here,” you now know their preference. If [ Read more… ]

Taking your temperature too frequently

From our daily member newsletter on August 14, 2018

I don’t know if any of you feel as I do, but when I have a cold or the flu, it is at once annoying and thoughtful that those who care about us are constantly checking up on us. Thank goodness I’m not sick very often, but when I am I prefer to be left alone during “the cure.” Human beings vary, of course. Some of us are hypochondriacs, and some of us are foolish to the point of going out when we are sick. The human experience, as in most things, runs the gamut. So, like I said, if those who care about you “discover” that you are a little under the weather, the constant phone calls or the [ Read more… ]

Do you have allergies?

From our daily member newsletter on August 13, 2018

For those of you with allergies, you know only too well that once you have a reaction to something, for some period of time even small amounts of that substance will set you off. As I understand it, what happens is that an allergic reaction triggers elevated histamine levels in your body. If you stay away from whatever it is you are allergic to, gradually your histamine levels decline and although you are still allergic, it takes more of it to set you off. (Now I know I shouldn’t stray too far from my usual sailing analogies, but I couldn’t think of one that was appropriate to this topic.) We have all heard of the straw that broke the camel’s [ Read more… ]

Law and order

From our daily member newsletter on August 6, 2018

Over the years I have been asked many times how large The FENG could get before “law and order” breaks down. By law and order breaking down I am talking about a point in time when we can no longer count on our members to treat each other with respect. Respect comes in many forms. We all take a leap of faith when we post job opportunities. Are members really going to follow “qualified members only?” Will I be embarrassed when I next speak to the recruiter I have coaxed to post with our network? Just as important, will we reach a point in time when networking phone calls no longer get returned? Or worse yet, when calls offering assistance [ Read more… ]

Good news announcements

From our daily member newsletter on July 30, 2018

I’m not sure if everyone understands the importance of our Good News Announcements, so I thought I would share with you tonight some of my thoughts as to why they are so important. Since the very beginning of our newsletter, the Good News Announcements have always appeared at the very beginning. We were a small group of individuals back in 1997, perhaps a 100 or so hardy souls, and we DID actually know each other. So, the good news announcements were particularly exciting. As the group has grown, it is less and less likely that you will actually know the person making the announcement. And, although it may appear to be “always about you,” good news announcements are really about [ Read more… ]

No right answers

From our daily member newsletter on July 8, 2018

In my continuing “joys of sailing” series, I thought I would talk about docks around Long Island Sound. Although one can drag anchor, one rarely drags dock. (A little sailing joke for you.) Sure, it is a rather arcane topic, but hopefully it is one that you can use to amaze and astound your friends. You would think that docking arrangements everywhere would be pretty much the same. After all, you have a boat, you have water, and you need to tie it up for the night. Well, you would be very wrong. The truth is that just about every place you go is a little different. Some marinas have pilings you have to snag on your way in. (And [ Read more… ]

Human interaction

From our daily member newsletter on July 5, 2018

Since we have so many new members each year, I thought I would write something tonight about the mission of The FENG and how we accomplish our objectives for one another. Sailors are a naturally friendly lot. (Yes, another sailing analogy!) As one of the other couples my wife and I met at a marina pointed out, it would be considered more than a little strange to go to a motel or hotel and start introducing yourself to other people and ask them if they wanted to join you and your wife for dinner at some restaurant. Yet, sailors do it all the time. When you “blow in” from another harbor you have so many stories to tell and they [ Read more… ]

Job leads at meetings

From our daily member newsletter on July 2, 2018

At the beginning of time here in Connecticut, we spent most of our meeting gathered around the table discussing job leads. The idea of a 90-second announcement followed by fellow attendees suggesting who to call in our august body for networking had not yet been invented. Since people over value job leads, I thought I would provide my perspective on this important topic. I don’t claim to know everything. And, I would never stop our chapter chairs from trying things at their meetings. Who knows, they might be right and I might be wrong, but in my humble opinion, job lead information is best shared in writing. There are several reasons for this. First, speech is the slowest form of [ Read more… ]

Lost at sea

From our daily member newsletter on July 1, 2018

It has only been since about the time of the American Revolution that sailors have had the technology available to find their exact location on the face of the earth. Although determining your latitude was possible (those are the lines that run around the middle of the earth like the equator), knowing your longitude, or how far East or West you were, was simply not possible. What sailors did before that time was sail down to the appropriate latitude and then sail East or West and hope they didn’t arrive at a landfall in the middle of the night or in a storm. Alas, this happened all the time and many lives were lost. If you would like to learn [ Read more… ]

A sharp pencil

From our daily member newsletter on June 28, 2018

There is no more powerful tool than a sharp pencil. (The only equally powerful tool is The FENG’s Member Directory Search feature.) I long ago declared war on unnecessary words. Why? Because they are unnecessary. Duh! The normal space allotment for a resume is two pages. Okay, if you have to go to three I might be able to live with it, but generally two is the limit. It is not much space to describe the accomplishments of a lifetime, but you are making a mistake if you think it is necessary to describe each and every thing you have ever done. If you are as old as the hills (or dirt itself) like most of us, there are adventure [ Read more… ]

If you met yourself

From our daily member newsletter on June 27, 2018

Have you ever wondered who is that guy/gal in the mirror? I’m sure we all stare at that familiar face from time to time, but the real question is who are you and what do you do best? You would think that if you just took a few minutes and read your own resume, you could solve this one, but you would be wrong. Although it is possible you know yourself well enough to come up with an appropriate answer, for most people it would be a good idea to ask those who know you best what they think it is you do. The answers might surprise you. Early in my career when I worked for “the big corporation” I [ Read more… ]

Taking a step back

From our daily member newsletter on June 26, 2018

Let’s be honest, even though the unemployment figures suggest a strong job market, things are still challenging for members of our “well experienced” membership. This always being the case, many of our members consider opportunities that are well below their previous levels of responsibility and compensation. I would welcome the thoughts of others on this topic, so please do send in your ideas. Anything you would like published should be sent to Leads@TheFENG.org. Be sure to be clear if you want your name used. There are many issues that go along with what is happening. However, I would ask that we not delve into the issues of age discrimination. It has always been there and will always be there. I [ Read more… ]

Why bother saying thank you?

From our daily member newsletter on June 25, 2018

For those of you who are sailing fans and/or history buffs and saw the movie Master & Commander: The Far Side of The World, there was a scene where Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany were having a heated argument about the merits of flogging. The comment made by the captain was that the good doctor didn’t understand what held their little wooden world together. Please understand that I am not recommending we flog members of The FENG who fail to say thank you, but the analogy is that those who don’t say thank you apparently don’t understand what holds our little electronic world together. NO ONE ever hears thank you enough. All of you are very kind to me and [ Read more… ]

The luxury of discouragement

From our daily member newsletter on June 24, 2018

I suppose that feeling sorry for yourself feels pretty good. The problem is that it doesn’t do you any good and doesn’t benefit you in any way, shape or form. In this era of long job searches, it is easy to fall into this pattern of self abuse. Frankly, I don’t encourage it. While the light at the end of the tunnel may in fact be a speeding locomotive, when it hits us, we won’t know it anyway! So, why not put on a happy face and struggle as best you can? The truth is that every minute you spend focused on bemoaning that which you cannot change, is a minute you could be doing something productive. Yes, I know [ Read more… ]

Reading, an important skill

From our daily member newsletter on June 19, 2018

I think that anyone conducting a job search would agree that to be really effective and have any chance, one must know how to read. Like anything else, reading skills exist at many levels. The purpose of tonight’s editorial is to clarify the nature of the job leads in our evening newsletter for those of you who are new to our organization, and also for those of you who think you know. It is also to ask you to read them carefully! All job leads in our newsletter are personal. They don’t appear by magic. They appear because SOMEONE in our membership took the time to send it in, and in many cases took the time to BUILD A RELATIONSHIP. [ Read more… ]

Points of difference

From our daily member newsletter on June 10, 2018

If I may paraphrase a line from the somewhat forgettable movie “My Cousin Vinny,” this is no time to blend. (With Marisa Tomei and Joe Pesci) The essence of a job search is identifying and communicating that which is unique about you to the rest of the world. It is of course normal for human beings to want to communicate “I am just like you and therefore we should be friends.” It is a reflex action to try to find areas of common interest with those you meet. (Oh, you’re from Chicago? I stopped there once.) Just about anything and everything that will provide a “warm fuzzy” should be tried. That said, the time when this is inappropriate is our [ Read more… ]

Making introductions

From our daily member newsletter on May 3, 2018

Everyone knows a few important people who they believe will at some point be helpful to us in our search for that perfect job. The problem how to keep your name in front of them so when that perfect job comes to their attention you will be top of mind. You certainly don’t want to waste their time and you certainly don’t want to be annoying. A frequent question asked is how often you should float your resume in front of specific recruiters. The most common answer I have heard is about every 3 months. As a benchmark, 3 months is probably about right for those you know, although depending on who it is and how well you really know [ Read more… ]

The cup is at 50%

From our daily member newsletter on May 2, 2018

There is nothing more important to an effective job search than a positive attitude. Sure, building an effective resume, a pithy 90-second announcement and a library of cover letters is always a good idea, the fact remains that positively focused dogged determination tends to win the day more often than all of these same factors coupled with being down in the dumps. If you allow yourself to think that the world is raining on your parade or that you have been singled out for punishment by the gods, you are going to be in worse shape than if you do nothing at all. Think about the fact that all communications come from your brain. (Duh, where else could they come [ Read more… ]

The elephant sitting in the room

From our daily member newsletter on May 1, 2018

If you went to an interview with a broken arm, I’m pretty sure you would feel the need to explain. Honestly, sitting there with your arm in a cast, it is hard to imagine a productive discussion taking place until you tell your interviewer how it happened. Was it a skiing accident? Did you trip and fall? Inquiring minds want to know. On a smaller scale, all of us from time to time don’t seem to see that elephant sitting in the room. The truth is that even if you are only engaging in an email exchange, there can still be that huge creature waiting for some remark by you to explain its existence and reason for being there. For [ Read more… ]

When is enough, enough?

From our daily member newsletter on April 19, 2018

The story goes that if a frog is thrown into a pot of boiling water he will have the good sense to jump out. On the other hand, if you put a frog in cold water and slowly turn up the heat, he will boil to death. (Please don’t try this at home. I like frogs. I am sure you can verify the veracity of this proposition on the Internet somewhere.) There are similar effects in the world for things like allergies. You can tolerate many things to which you are theoretically allergic, however, once you hit some predetermined level, you begin sneezing and your tolerance for the whatever you are allergic to is temporarily greatly lowered and you will [ Read more… ]

Managing our growth

From our daily member newsletter on March 8, 2018

By a significant margin, we are now the largest networking group of senior financial executives in the entire world. Not only that, but by any measure, we are more connected with each other on a national basis than any other organization as well. And, our reputation is well known. We no longer are a “secret society.” Over the “next piece of time” our goal as an organization is to manage our growth and strengthen the ties that bind all of us together and to our many audiences. The first step each of you can take on a daily or weekly basis is to be in touch with your fellow members. I hope that you will take seriously my request that [ Read more… ]

Maintaining your self-esteem

From our daily member newsletter on February 15, 2018

Maintaining your self-esteem during a job search can be difficult at times, especially if your search has been going on for any length of time. So much of who we perceive ourselves to be comes from the reflection of our personalities upon those with whom we are engaged on a daily basis. Cut off from an office environment where folks were bringing us checks to sign, we tend to lose sight of the fact that we haven’t changed. All that has changed is that we don’t see as many folks every day to give us that kind of reinforcement. There is a great importance to visualizing success. In brief, it takes just as much energy to think negatively as it [ Read more… ]

Helping out the competition

From our daily member newsletter on February 8, 2018

Over the years that I have been writing editorials, I have devoted a lot of time to discussing the basics of job search. Why? Because I often can’t believe what folks send us for assignments being handled by The FECG. In a world of more candidates than there are jobs, people who screen resumes often develop arbitrary rules to eliminate candidates. By arbitrary, I mean to imply that they often don’t take the time to look beyond embarrassing errors in spelling, grammar and resume formats or fonts that make your opus hard to read to seek out your “true value.” As I have said many times, the burden of communication is on you. Let me be clear. Your sloppiness or [ Read more… ]

A few observations

From our daily member newsletter on February 7, 2018

I hope you all don’t mind, but I am going to ramble a bit tonight about some very important job search issues. The most important issue I am going to cover is outgoing signatures. If you don’t know what one is, you are already in a lot of trouble. I am considering hitting the delete key on any message I receive from a member of The FENG that doesn’t have an outgoing signature. It would cut my required correspondence to 20%. Yes, about 80% of the messages I get don’t have one. If you do have an outgoing signature, let me make the point that one should appear even on replies. I realize that Microsoft in their wisdom believes this [ Read more… ]

Homogeneous groups and pitfalls

From our daily member newsletter on February 6, 2018

Is there a possible pitfall in sticking with a homogeneous group of unemployed people? First of all, I would never suggest to anyone that they should solely and exclusively network within The FENG. What I have suggested and do strongly suggest is that you START with our networking group and use it to springboard your way to presidents and general managers who might need a “been there, done that” senior financial officer. Just as every great journey starts with a single step, so too does success at networking start with a few successes. Us shy financial types need to experience a positive result to keep on coming back for the inevitable beatings that will come our way as we network [ Read more… ]

I never met a job I didn’t like

From our daily member newsletter on February 5, 2018

Will Rogers is remembered as saying: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I only wish everyone reviewing job possibilities would keep in mind the job search equivalent as stated above. Most jobs, upon initial examination, are bound to have more than a few flaws. Let’s face it, if it was an easy job, they wouldn’t need a well experienced financial officer like you to solve the huge mess they have gotten themselves into. Let me point out that it is the height of stupidity to say “no” to a job that hasn’t even been offered to you. Perhaps the commute is too far, or the money is too low or the job responsibilities aren’t broad enough. However, it [ Read more… ]

Dropping in a little artillery

From our daily member newsletter on February 4, 2018

The truth is that even friends sometimes don’t get back to you when you call. Ever wonder why? So, if friends have trouble returning calls, is it possible that strangers might be even more reluctant to return phone calls? I guess the real question is not why folks don’t return phone calls, but what steps can we take as master networkers to improve our results? What factors do you suspect are at work? Let’s be generous and accept the fact that the world of work is a busy place and the individuals we are trying to reach are those folks who control what I like to call work opportunities. Let us also accept the fact that speech is the slowest [ Read more… ]

A week for housekeeping

From our daily member newsletter on December 26, 2017

If there is a single week during the entire year when it is hard to network, it has to be the week between Christmas and New Year’s. The phone doesn’t ring much and there isn’t even much email. While I will try to take a little time off this week, I will also be spending some time organizing and reorganizing my office. These are things I honestly can’t do very well during the rest of the year. While you may not be able to do much networking, you can PREPARE to do a little networking. If you find yourself with some time on your hands this week, take a minute and visit our absolutely spectacular Member Directory Search feature and [ Read more… ]

When the newsletter thins

From our daily member newsletter on November 30, 2017

I realize that on days when the newsletter thins, there is the temptation to “click and shoot” all of the remotely possible postings that appear. Please don’t. One of the core values of The FENG is that we don’t respond to postings unless we are a good fit. Very simply put, if you wouldn’t hire you for the job, resist the temptation to buy a lottery ticket and submit your credentials. The thing to keep in mind when there are lots of folks out of work is that any posting that has specific requirements (beyond your having a pulse) is going to get lots and lots of appropriate responses. The role of the recruiter is to identify those candidates who [ Read more… ]

The illusion of trust

From our daily member newsletter on November 29, 2017

It is always difficult to explain why you trust someone. In our daily encounters, out in the world we come across all kinds of folks. Most of the individuals we do business with on a daily basis don’t have to be our friends, and the nature of the exchanges we have with them don’t even require that we trust them. As an example: purchasing gas. As long as we can bring ourselves to trust the gas station attendant not to pour the gas into the back seat of our car, there isn’t really much at risk. And, since we probably put this exchange on our credit card, there is no possibility that the value received isn’t the amount we paid. [ Read more… ]

Are you skipping ahead to the leads?

From our daily member newsletter on November 28, 2017

I sometimes wish I didn’t publish job leads at all. I know this is shocking for someone who is sending out a newsletter full of job leads, but it is the truth. Our newsletter contains a wealth of information as do our membership directories. For those of you determined to never learn anything about the job search process, I would suggest you conduct a passive job search and only read the leads. For the rest of you, may I suggest that you read my editorial, the Good News Announcements and Members in Need of Assistance, as well as the additional editorial material that I include in every newsletter and then IF you have time, read the job leads. (By the [ Read more… ]

What happened?

From our daily member newsletter on November 27, 2017

One of the most difficult questions one is almost required to answer is why we left our last job. Being a little bit of a wise guy, my inclination is to say “They stopped paying me.” Or, in the alternate, “When they changed the locks on my office and had security escort me out to the street, I thought it best not to come back.” Okay, you can’t really use these lines in an interview, unless of course you are really good at comedy. The problem with the question is that it is at once a silly question, an unfair question, and a difficult question, especially for us financial types who are used to providing incredible detail in any situation [ Read more… ]

Money is important

From our daily member newsletter on November 26, 2017

When it comes to deciding if someone is a fit for a particular position, industry experience and candidates current locations are often the first criteria that employers consider when weeding out applicants. After these first two issues appear to be satisfactory, the next point of focus is your recent work history. What have you done in the last ten years that is applicable to the job in question? Much of this kind of information can be quickly gleaned from a resume and is often followed up by a telephone interview. Whether the call is from a contingency or retained recruiter, or even from a corporate recruiter, the last point on the check list is usually money. Let’s be honest, money [ Read more… ]

Thanksgiving

From our daily member newsletter on November 21, 2017

Over the next few days, the instant communications that dominate our lives in the form of phone calls, emails and texts should dissipate a bit. I hope you will take the time for a little thoughtful contemplation. Although Thursday will most likely be totally tied up with family and friends, the rest of the weekend should allow you some time to clean your desk, finish that book that has been sitting on your night table, and who knows what else you might think of to relax. (Don’t get involved in any Black Friday shopping.) When it gets really quiet, take a few hours to think about your life and where it is going. After all, it won’t be too long [ Read more… ]

Paint a smile on your face

From our daily member newsletter on November 20, 2017

As we all blast out of our day to day lives to attend or host Thanksgiving celebrations later this week, keep in mind that whether or not you REALLY are down on your luck, it never helps to let others know it. While there are those who I greatly respect who out of the kindness of their hearts work at soup kitchens for the poor, as a general rule “woe is me” is not a good networking approach. As a member of The FENG, you are anything but down on your luck. You are part of the largest networking group for senior financial executives in the ENTIRE world. And if that doesn’t make you proud, I don’t know what might. [ Read more… ]

Mastering technology

From our daily member newsletter on November 19, 2017

This is probably just a lucky guess on my part, but I have the very real sense that the high technology tools we have to conduct a job search are here to stay. (To quote Larry King, “High technology, what will they think of next?”) Friends, Al Gore invented the Internet a long time ago. And, even if the Federal Government declares it to be a public utility, chances are good that you would benefit significantly by developing a mastery of its many intricacies. And, to bring you back to the beginning of time itself, I’ve had a computer in my office since the early 1980’s! Should I mention cell phones? It is honestly high time that all of you [ Read more… ]

Weather forecasting

From our daily member newsletter on November 16, 2017

Ever the wise sailor, I always (well, almost always) check the weather forecast before heading down to the boat to go out for the day. This may or may not be a valuable activity. My wife jokes that in her next life she wants to be a weather forecaster. They never have to be right and they still get paid. I have to agree that they are frequently wrong, and sometimes I have taken their prognostications to heart and they have caused me to miss a perfectly good sailing day. (As you may know, the sailing season is very short – it is less than 52 weeks per year, so I hate to miss even one day.) There is also [ Read more… ]

What makes The FENG unusual?

From our daily member newsletter on November 15, 2017

Several years ago I spent an evening out with an old friend of mine who previously had been in the search business. He is a very special friend. We first met in 1977 when I was Business Manager for CBS College Publishing and we have been close friends ever since. Since he lived nearby, our families also had the opportunity to bond as well. He was instrumental in my career development in that he made a point of getting me invited to leadership meetings that I am sure I would not otherwise have attended. When I was out of work in 1991 and 1992 he was in the outplacement business and as a courtesy provided me with a place to [ Read more… ]

I’ll call him back

From our daily member newsletter on October 29, 2017

Just to prove to you how old I am, there used to be a show on TV called “The Millionaire.” (The show was in black and white. Need I say more?) It seems there was this wealthy man who wanted to give away some of his money and each week he would send this poor sap out into the world to hand someone a check for, you guessed it, a million dollars. Hard to believe the difficulties he ran into just trying to get folks to believe that there wasn’t a catch. I think about that show every time I get a phone call or email. What if the sinister purpose of the message I have just received is actually [ Read more… ]

90-second announcements

From our daily member newsletter on October 23, 2017

From time to time I get requests for information on how to do a proper 90-second announcement. So, I thought tonight I would share a few thoughts with you on this linguistic challenge. Since my wife is a speech pathologist by trade, I can tell you with great authority that speech is the slowest form of communication. Smoke signals may be a tad slower, but they aren’t in common usage these days. And, with the drought we have had in many parts of the country, they probably aren’t a good idea anyway these days, not to mention the fact that they are hard to use at networking gatherings. Of course, you want to begin your 90-second announcement with your name. [ Read more… ]

Accepting help

From our daily member newsletter on October 22, 2017

One of the less well recognized phobias in this world is the fear of accepting help from others. Perhaps it is primarily a guy thing and it explains why we never used to ask for directions at the gas station, but when it comes to job search it is another one of the many things that “get in the way” of very capable individuals finding work opportunities. (I don’t know if anything lasts long enough these days that we can dignify them with the word jobs.) With the new reality in the world we need to be more and more attuned to our own personal information networks for opportunities that fit our background, and that means reaching out to others [ Read more… ]

This is no time to blend

From our daily member newsletter on October 15, 2017

If you haven’t seen the movie “My Cousin Vinny,” you may not really understand where this line comes from. If this is the case, please accept my apology for this reference out of left field. It is an old movie, and it wasn’t a great one. As opposed to the marketing and sales folks I have met over the years who never miss an opportunity to brag about what they have done, by and large the financial types I have known in great contrast are only brought kicking and screaming into the spotlight for their 90-seconds of fame. Sure, “I was there,” they might say, “but I was only part of a team.” While this may be true, the team [ Read more… ]

Keeping your chin up

From our daily member newsletter on September 28, 2017

There are lots of good reasons to keep you chin up. Of course, the most important reason is that it is easier to hit! Okay, I am just kidding with you. But seriously, some members have been active in their search for so long, that I fear many of them are beginning to believe things that have been told to them like: If only you had a CPA. If only you hadn’t been with one company for so long. If only you hadn’t done so much job-hopping. If only you weren’t so over qualified. (We rarely hear that we are UNDER qualified.) The “if only” list is too long to publish. (If only it were shorter.) The fear I have [ Read more… ]

Does anyone have job leads to share?

From our daily member newsletter on September 26, 2017

There was a time in the not too distant past when our evening newsletter on Sunday evening ran to over 120 pages. The newsletters during the week were typically 50-75 pages. Lately our newsletter is typically 25 pages or less. Back in the “good old days,” we only had 15,000-20,000 members. Now we have over 40,000. With the job market supposedly improving, I would hope we could muster more published pages of job leads if we all took the time to send in appropriate items to Leads@TheFENG.org. The FENG is primarily an organization of CFOs, Controllers and Treasurers. Although we have members with many other related titles, the thing that unites us is that we are all senior level executives. [ Read more… ]

The sounds of silence

From our daily member newsletter on September 18, 2017

If losing your job wasn’t bad enough, the reluctance of business associates at your former company, as well as those who serviced your company as attorneys, accountants or recruiters to return your phone calls can be particularly disheartening. Actually, if you gave it some thought, you wouldn’t be all that shocked or surprised that they don’t. Let’s understand that in most cases when you leave a company everyone involved is typically sworn to secrecy. The “story” as to why you have left may even have been agreed to in writing, the violation of which could very well be cause for legal action by you. Since secrecy is normally the case, is it any wonder that no one at the firm [ Read more… ]

Making a pest of yourself

From our daily member newsletter on September 10, 2017

As I am sure all of you know, one of your responsibilities as a member is, to the best of your ability, to only respond to job postings when you are reasonably qualified. The greatest majority of job postings in our newsletter come your way through the good offices of your fellow members. If they are posted under my name, they are the result of our organization’s great reputation. (Your esteemed Chairman, in his role as official silver tongued devil of The FENG, may also have very recently extolled the significant benefits of becoming a “Friend of The FENG” upon these very fortunate members of the search community. Just as “birds of a feather flock together,” recruiters tend to specialize. [ Read more… ]

The proper placement of obstacles

From our daily member newsletter on September 7, 2017

As we go around the table at our meeting here in Connecticut, I am always surprised by the time devoted in 90 second announcements to where folks won’t move and what kinds of jobs they won’t take. I have always been of the philosophy that I will go anywhere to talk to anyone about anything. Okay, fine, there are limits, but I try not to set them before hand and create reasons why others shouldn’t talk to me. By keeping an open mind as to what the “correct answer” might be I hope that I receive more information than I might otherwise. Changing jobs can be a traumatic time. (Actually any change can be traumatic.) Because of the stress involved [ Read more… ]

The fall networking season

From our daily member newsletter on September 6, 2017

As you all know, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of the season we call summer. So much for lazy days at the beach and relaxing vacations. It is time to get back to work. If you are “between assignments” it is also the unofficial beginning of the fall networking season. Yes, I know that there will be football games on TV, but it is also the season of getting out and about, making new friends and hopefully finding a source of income. (We used to call them jobs, but I don’t want to get carried away with myself.) While it is probably best that you didn’t call anyone on Tuesday and even maybe today, tomorrow is a good day [ Read more… ]

Silver bullets and the tooth fairy

From our daily member newsletter on August 28, 2017

From time to time I get inquiries about the services of career consulting firms. (Please understand I am not talking about recognized and well respected outplacement firms such as Right Management and Lee Hecht Harrison, nor am I talking about a few individual Career Coaches who are known to me and to your fellow members.) For those of us over the age of 40 (and that’s just about everyone in The FENG), the specter of potential unemployment or under employment from now until the end of time can be a scary one. I understand and accept that. In addition, job search for those of us over 40 is more difficult. Not only are we over qualified for just about everything, [ Read more… ]

Bestowing the gift of friendship

From our daily member newsletter on August 24, 2017

As all of you are out and about networking, I hope you are aware that one of your most important member responsibilities is to invite your new and old friends who are Senior Financial Officers to join The FENG. While it is certainly true that The FENG dominates our space. And, it may even be true that just about everyone who is a Senior Financial Officer and has a pulse is already a member. (I know it’s hard to tell sometimes since us financial folks are so low key.) That said, I hope there are some “unturned rocks” or “low hanging fruit” out there where you can find appropriate candidates to recommend. If networking is the gift that keeps on [ Read more… ]

Reasons for inaction

From our daily member newsletter on August 23, 2017

Labor Day is just around the corner. And, summer is just about over. There are, unfortunately, all kinds of events and holidays during the calendar year that can cause us to delay addressing our job search, and I thought I would use the “idea” of these dates as a prime example of the inaction it can cause in all of us, myself included. I think the fear that grips us is one of offending those we call. During the summer we can be calling networking contacts just before they are leaving on vacation or, just as bad, when they have just returned. We can be calling when folks are trying to leave early for holiday events or, as noted above, [ Read more… ]

A clear piece of communication

From our daily member newsletter on August 22, 2017

It isn’t often that I get a great resume, but I got one today. I guess I wasn’t surprised given who sent it to me. Although it was three pages, it was still crisp and concise. Perhaps it could have been shaved down to two pages, but it really didn’t bother me that it was a little longer than the “standard.” Here are a few of the things that made it near perfection: 1. It had a well written summary. There were no fluff words like “dynamic” or “born leader,” only prose that served to highlight the accomplishments that followed. 2. The names of all of the firms at which he worked appeared at the beginning of each section in [ Read more… ]

Life is a journey

From our daily member newsletter on August 16, 2017

I have often noted to my friends who aren’t into boating that the difference between a power boater and a sail boater is that power boaters usually use their boats to go somewhere, whereas sail boaters are already there once they step onto their boat. In our goal driven, management by objectives, over achiever world, the difference in philosophy between someone who has an obsessive desire to reach a goal versus someone who lives for the journey is considerable. The truth is, of course, one can do both as long as you think about both. To me the purpose of sailing is to enjoy good times and adventures with my spouse, members of our family and our many friends. Whether [ Read more… ]

Give yourself a break

From our daily member newsletter on August 13, 2017

Back in 1991-1992 I was unemployed. Yes, two full years. Honestly, cash was starting to get a little tight. But more importantly, although I had a lot of free time, it was hard to enjoy it. Money, and the prospect of more, tends to focus the “let’s have some fun” part of our brains, whereas the “I don’t know if I will survive this” mindset prevents us from really enjoying our “time off” to any great degree. However, as one of my friends once said, “No one is out of work forever, it just seems that way.” Chances are those last few months in that Heck Hole you refer to as your most recent job were more than a little [ Read more… ]

Rejected out of hand

From our daily member newsletter on August 10, 2017

If there is one thing that is certain about us financial types it is that we always know the answer. Ask us a question and it isn’t long before we are well into the “primarily due to’s and partially offset by’s.” Yet, this major strength of ours and important skill set is an impediment to success at job search. Our perception of the world, much like other human beings, is colored by our experiences, and in our world job change typically hasn’t happened as frequently as it has for many other categories of workers. When I was in my mid-40’s, an art director friend of mine told me that he had already worked at 25 different advertising agencies, some of [ Read more… ]

By way of explanation

From our daily member newsletter on August 9, 2017

Whenever I sit and review candidates for assignments being handled through The FECG, I can’t help but be disappointed by many of the cover letters we get. I know that those who are applying feel they are qualified for the job in question, and being a financial guy myself, I know you could do the job. (Hey, us financial types can do anything!) Although if you have the time, it can often make sense to modify your resume for a specific opportunity, more often than not there just isn’t time. So, what to do? Well, your cover letter is a perfect place to provide explanations for a variety of obvious questions that inquiring minds need answered. Let’s start with that [ Read more… ]

Meeting the RIGHT folks

From our daily member newsletter on August 8, 2017

Being successful at getting meetings with potential decision makers who don’t have a job right now, but who might make one for you after they meet you, is why networking is the most successful approach to finding a job. Frankly, this is how most business is really done at our level. If you have only gotten interviews through ads or recruiters you are probably wondering how do those lucky dudes do it? How do they manage to get in front of the right people and sweet talk them into offering them a job? Keep in mind that you are not a pea in a pod. You are a unique accumulation of talents acquired over a number of years. If you [ Read more… ]

That strange device with the numbers

From our daily member newsletter on August 7, 2017

Although I must admit that I no longer use #2 pencils, I am still greatly addicted to using that ancient device called a phone. If you’re not sure what that is, it has a keyboard that looks a lot like a 10 key pad, but the number 1 is in the upper left hand corner of the 12 key array instead of the lower left hand corner (where it should be), like on an adding machine. (If anyone knows why it’s reversed, please write to me. I’m dying to know.) Some of you may be so old (like me) to also know phones that had rotary dials. (This is where the phrase “dial him up” comes from.) In today’s world [ Read more… ]

Time stands still

From our daily member newsletter on August 6, 2017

I can never understand why people hesitate in contacting old friends. It has been one of the blessings in my life that over the 20+ years that I have been Chairing this august body, I have been able to reconnect with almost all of the people I worked with since the 1970’s. (Yes, I am that old!) I have even reconnected with some new friends that I have only known 10-20 years. My experience has been that anyone you have ever known is DELIGHTED to hear from you. This goes for old “enemies” as well. While you may have argued at length with some of these idiots (Did I say idiots? I meant uninformed individuals.), the “discussion” was actually about [ Read more… ]

You sure can rattle on

From our daily member newsletter on July 27, 2017

Breathing is a very important activity. And, during an interview, you should be doing a lot of it. The guideline we begin our lives with is the ever popular 90 second announcement. I hope that all of you have mastered this art form. The 90 second announcement is an important tool in your job search because you have so many opportunities to speak briefly with others and impart some wisdom about who you are and what you do. It is also the world’s best answer to that question that begins most interviews: Tell me about yourself. So, find lots of opportunities to practice your 90 second announcement. Primarily due to, partially offset by. Is there any question that we can [ Read more… ]

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