EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

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… ]

Reinforcing appropriate behavior

From our daily member newsletter on June 15, 2017

In one of the jobs I had early in my career I was Business Manager for the College Publishing division of CBS. It was an interesting job. All of the folks around me were well educated and always testing my knowledge and experience. They were also great teachers. One of our most popular books at that time was “Understanding Human Behavior.” I believe the author was a Jim McConnell. Anyway, to celebrate the fact that his book sold over 100,000 copies (which is a lot for a College textbook), he was invited to come to New York City. He took that occasion to speak to our organization and I was fortunate to be in attendance because I learned something that [ Read more… ]

Awaiting a rising tide

From our daily member newsletter on June 13, 2017

Although I would never willingly admit it, over the nearly 35 years I have been sailing I have had occasion to go aground. (It is always an embarrassing situation.) One time I dragged anchor in a storm (that I can assure you was not in the forecast) and the other times I managed to wander too far out of the main channel. The tidal drop in Long Island Sound where I do most of my sailing can be as much as 8 feet. For most of my sailing life I have had boats that draw around 4-5 feet. At high tide you can easily pass over areas that are exposed at low tide. (For those of you not familiar with [ Read more… ]

The excuse you can’t cure

From our daily member newsletter on June 5, 2017

The world of job search is filled with a lot of cruel jokes. I have often argued that when the answer is no with respect to your candidacy, the best thing you can probably do is stop listening. The reason is that just about everything that follows will either not be entirely true or will be as close as words come to being an out and out lie. Those on the other side of the table often consider these statements “little white lies.” The problem with the questionable statements of fact that come at you in these situations is that they have that glimmer of truth. And, since you are at a sensitive stage in your life, you tend to [ Read more… ]

Those lazy hazy days of summer

From our daily member newsletter on June 1, 2017

You really can’t beat summer. Although it is a brief season (at least here in the Northeast), it is one of those remarkable times during the year when there is lots to do and lots of daylight time in which to do it. The days are longer and the weather is warm enough that you don’t need much preparation to go outside, unless it is raining cats and dogs. And even then, all you need is your umbrella. Heading out to lunch is just so much easier if you work in a place like New York City where I worked for 20 years. No heavy winter coat to drag with you to a restaurant. One of the great myths of [ Read more… ]

An over reliance on job leads

From our daily member newsletter on May 9, 2017

Part of the lecture I deliver to new members who call me is that The FENG is a networking group, not a job listing service. I then add that they shouldn’t allow the fact that we are publishing about hundreds of pages of job leads each month confuse them about our true purpose. In the beginning (when God created heaven and earth), it was my closely held belief that the existence of our job sharing would ensure that most of the good news announcements would indicate that the lucky person got the job from a posting in our evening newsletter. Alas, it has not been so. Sure, over the years I have seen some improvement in this statistic. And, I [ Read more… ]

Are you good for nothing?

From our daily member newsletter on May 8, 2017

One of the many things I am always surprised about is the degree to which most members of The FENG generalize their very specific talents. I assume that this approach is their attempt to broaden their background and make it appear more appealing to a larger audience. While it is always required to explain your work experiences in layman’s terms, it is not really desirable to cause them to lose their importance. As I have been heard to say: “If you are all things to all people, you are nothing to anyone.” The reason we get paid the “big bucks” as senior financial executives is for being extremely knowledgeable about accounting and finance. Those who seek out our services do [ Read more… ]

Selling from your own wagon

From our daily member newsletter on May 7, 2017

Although we are frequently willing to accept lower salaries and/or lesser responsibilities, the greater challenge is convincing the world at large of our willingness and overcoming their resistance. What we see as age discrimination, they see as just plain common sense in screening candidates. You may be willing, but they see their clients as being unwilling to consider over paid and over qualified candidates. The trick is to convince them that it is common sense. However, one way that doesn’t work is the frontal assault. The frontal assault is telling them that they are engaging in age discrimination. In dealing with the search community or human resources executives I have never been really successful in overcoming their inherent prejudices. I [ Read more… ]

Asking for specifics

From our daily member newsletter on May 4, 2017

One of the worst things that anyone networking can do is to ask if you know of any jobs for them. I can assure you that the most likely answer will be something to the effect that two weeks ago they came across something that was right for you, but they can’t remember who it was they heard it from. The analogy I would draw for you comes from my experience at a small staffing company back in the early 90’s before the Internet. (Yes, there was a time before instant communication!) This little company was ahead of their time I suppose. They placed senior executives of all types in temporary and permanent jobs. Their key leg up, or so [ Read more… ]

Are you over qualified?

From our daily member newsletter on May 3, 2017

I’m sure tonight’s topic will generate a lot of comments. Those of you who would like to join in on this discussion are invited to send your comments to Leads@TheFENG.org. The short answer to the question of the moment is: I hope so! If you weren’t, I’m not really sure how you were added to our membership. Our entire organization is filled with well qualified individuals who can do just about any job they would like to take. That said the primary focus of tonight’s editorial is for our members who are much older. Let’s say 55-60 plus. When you are interviewed for a possible work opportunity, please understand that the comments made by the interviewer are often a sincere [ Read more… ]

A cut in pay

From our daily member newsletter on May 2, 2017

Probably one of the most upsetting and disappointing aspects of searching for a new job when you are “well experienced” is the need to consider positions for which the compensation is considerably less than your last job. I suppose it is part of our mind set as accountants that we tend to view our gradual increases in pay over the years as hard won. I guess that’s because they probably were. The prospect of losing ground from the heights we have obtained is, at best, difficult to face. I can tell you from my personal experience that early on in my search in 1991 I passed on several reasonable opportunities because they were slightly below my former salary. If only [ Read more… ]

The power of networking

From our daily member newsletter on May 1, 2017

For those of you who have been spending any significant time surfing the job boards may I suggest you stop and turn that energy to networking? I had the great pleasure of speaking with an old friend of mine some time ago (yes, most of my friends are old, but this one is actually just a little younger than I am). Anyway, this friend has been a retained recruiter for most of his career. He has been through the good times and the bad times. One of the topics we covered today was how senior level executives tend to get their jobs. The astounding number he quoted me from a study he was sent was that only 2% of senior [ 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… ]

Maintaining your focus

From our daily member newsletter on April 27, 2017

Life is made up of a lot of endless details. And, as financial people, the endless details are where we shine. I have said from time to time that eating an elephant is best done one bite at a time. (Mustard would probably also be a good idea.) Most tasks, no matter how enormous they may seem at the time, are actually finite in nature. By finite, I mean to say that if we work on them in our usual diligent manner, at some point they are finished. The approach I take to planning is based on the recognition that there are 1 day plans, 1 week plans, 1 month plans, 3 month plans and 1 year plans. There are [ Read more… ]

An executive of true mystery

From our daily member newsletter on April 26, 2017

I am always amazed and astounded how frequently the resumes I see are missing vital information. What I am not clear about is WHY the individual in question thinks that leaving off important data will benefit him or her. Let me start at the top of the list and mention missing home addresses. Yes, hard to believe, but some job seekers are apparently living in their cars. And to add to the impression that they are homeless, some of these resumes don’t even have a phone number or email address. (I’m not sure how you are supposed to reach them.) I suppose the theory is that if you don’t tell them where you live and you are applying for a [ Read more… ]

Spring has sprung

From our daily member newsletter on April 25, 2017

In the past week, it is clear that spring is finally here in Connecticut. As you all probably know, I work out of my home office, and I am fortunate that it faces a heavily wooded area. During the winter, I can see my neighbor’s property off in the distance and sort of notice when there is activity. Not so during the summer. Then, I can just see a few feet into the forest. This time of year I have the pleasure of watching the trees come to life. Every day is filled with a measure of surprise when I notice how much has happened since the day before. In addition, the squirrels are out and about chasing one another [ Read more… ]

Why do boaters wave at each other?

From our daily member newsletter on April 24, 2017

I don’t know about you, but there are lots of things in this world that I wonder about. At one time I wondered about why the sky was blue, but that was before Google. I guess there are lots of things we don’t need to wonder about anymore. We can just look them up. The above topic wasn’t one I was actually wondering about earlier this week, but I got a note from one of our members and, knowing I was an avid sailor, he thought he would give me the answer. I have always known that sailors/boaters wave at each other. I just thought it was a cute tradition. And, you don’t have to be out on the water [ Read more… ]

Sharing our knowledge

From our daily member newsletter on April 23, 2017

From time to time, I write an editorial that generates very thoughtful responses from our members. I hope that all of you appreciate those individuals who write in as much as I do. It is an important part of The FENG, that we each take the time to share our knowledge with one another on topics large and small. There are so many ways to share our knowledge. If you are bashful and not interested in communicating with a large audience, there are local meetings and those weekly new member listings where you can pick up the phone and TAKE THE TIME to share what you have learned with one individual at a time. That is as important as writing [ Read more… ]

There are evil doers

From our daily member newsletter on April 20, 2017

The executive search business isn’t what it used to be, but then what is? I hate to bore those who already know the primary difference between recruiters, but I hesitate to assume. Retained recruiters typically have an exclusive right to find a particular candidate for a firm and they get paid whether they find an acceptable candidate or not. The only problem is that since they have been paid, they sort of have to keep working on it. Contingency recruiters don’t have an exclusive and will typically present what candidates they can find and then quit looking. Please understand that there is nothing inherently evil with either type of firm. If you want to learn more about the differences between [ Read more… ]

Stress reduction in networking

From our daily member newsletter on April 19, 2017

I suppose it is hard to believe, but those on the receiving of networking calls actually experience more stress than you do. Yes, I know that picking up that 400 pound phone isn’t easy, but neither is responding to phone calls from those who have been trained in the NFL approach to networking. (That’s where someone tackles you and won’t let you up until you give them 3 names.) Is it any wonder that your phone call or visit can strike fear in their hearts? The stress comes from the fear of disappointing you and/or disappointing the friend who sent you their way by appearing not to be able to help you. If you want the process to work as [ 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… ]

25 words or less

From our daily member newsletter on April 17, 2017

The resume format is sure constraining. If only the world was willing to listen to us rattle on. Unfortunately, they aren’t. The “standard” acceptable resume format is either two or three pages. Anything more tells the reader that you don’t know how to communicate. Perhaps I should also mention that narrow margins and smaller fonts are not the solution. If you want anyone to be able to absorb that opus of yours in the 15 seconds they allot to reading it, I would suggest that you take out a very sharp electronic pencil and have at it. As the sign in the restaurant says: Good food takes time. Yours will be ready in a minute. Good writing and good communication [ 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… ]

Your real audience

From our daily member newsletter on April 13, 2017

One of my favorite “sayings from the Chairman” is: I try to make things so easy that anyone can do it. That way if I try hard, I can too! KISS or “keep it simple stupid” is one of the most often violated principles of job search and part of the reason that we fail to communicate our true value. Yes, I know that many of us have arcane skills. But you need to keep in mind that the burden of communication is on you. How often have I heard “but it was all right there in my resume.” Oh, if that simple statement were REALLY true. Sure, it was there all right, but it was buried in a less [ Read more… ]

Telephone sales

From our daily member newsletter on April 12, 2017

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… ]

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… ]

Your allotted time

From our daily member newsletter on April 10, 2017

I do tend to rattle on. Some night I will tell you the FULL story about how I removed my own home heating oil tank from my property. (It is a long story with many fascinating twists and turns.) The problem is that most folks really don’t want to hear about it. And, even those who have interest appear to be plagued with a total lack of attention span when it comes to one of my favorite stories. I suppose I could also regale you with the story of “The midnight terror,” which very briefly is the evening we dragged anchor off of Milford, Connecticut (when I was unemployed) and almost lost the boat. It is one of my longer [ Read more… ]

The ability to communicate

From our daily member newsletter on April 9, 2017

The changes that have taken place in the past 15 years in our ability to communicate are truly remarkable. What with personal computers, email, cell phones, voice mail, iPads and iPhones you can use just about from anywhere, you would think that those of us engaged in business pursuits would make the effort to master all of these many technologies, or in true managerial fashion, find someone who could set them up for us. But, you would be wrong. Hard to know where to start, but let me begin with email, my own personal favorite communication tool. Do you think it is possible that there are people out there who don’t know that there is a shift key? It must [ Read more… ]

A beautiful mind

From our daily member newsletter on April 6, 2017

Several years ago in the movie “A beautiful mind” about John Nash, the mathematical genius, one of the things that made him brilliant was that he could see patterns in numbers and words that no one else could see. Detecting hidden patterns or reading between the lines is one of the skills that a good researcher learns to develop. When examining data, looking beyond the obvious can create value when at first there appears to be none. Let me start with the evening newsletter, that mountain of data that comes to you 5 days a week. On the surface, there are our routine sections – the evening editorial, good news announcements, members in need of assistance, and job leads. One [ Read more… ]

Individual responsibility

From our daily member newsletter on April 5, 2017

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… ]

Just in time budgeting

From our daily member newsletter on April 4, 2017

One of the many concepts I learned when I worked for a large corporation (that will go nameless) was “just in time budgeting.” When I worked for this firm I thought it was a bad idea, but as life has gone by, I have come to appreciate some of its finer qualities and applicability. You see, they never seemed to get around to finishing the annual budget process at this firm, so, each month’s actual was just assumed to be “budget.” The beauty of the approach, of course, was that there were never any variances. No variances, and therefore, nothing to explain. The applicability to job search is the whole concept of the unnecessary expectations we set for ourselves. What [ 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… ]

Miles of bad advice

From our daily member newsletter on April 2, 2017

If there is any one thing that is consistent among senior executives who are in the job market for the first time in many years, it is their inability to distinguish between good and bad advice. The simple story is that if you hear it from me, Doug Fine or Bruce Lynn it is good advice. If you hear it from someone else, please exercise a little common sense. (Just kidding. I would ask you to apply common sense to the things we suggest as well. They may not be right for you.) Stop me if I am wrong, but none of you were born yesterday. To become a member of our little circle of friends you generally have to [ Read more… ]

The hidden job market

From our daily member newsletter on March 30, 2017

For those of you who I have not convinced about the value of networking, I thought I would share my own thoughts about something I have observed about the world and why I think it is so. I would welcome differing opinions from our members and/or your own observations. Please send them to Leads@TheFENG.org and Leslie will publish them under our “Notes from Members” column. During my various job campaigns since I started working in 1971 I always noticed a decided lack of published job leads in either Fairfield County Connecticut, where I live, or in New York City, a place to which I was willing to commute. (Please note that my career began well before the Internet, and that [ Read more… ]

Reinventing yourself

From our daily member newsletter on March 29, 2017

During every recession, there are typically specific industries that experience more declines than others. One of the truths about the job market is that in any piece of time, one or more industries are usually singled out “for punishment” and lots of folks in those industries lose their jobs all at the same time. For those of us who remember the dot.com bust, pre-bust if you weren’t working for a dot.com you were considered stupid. Post-bust, having been at one proved you were stupid. As they say, you can’t have it both ways. Not much you as an individual can do about industry cycles. If you were a mortgage industry financial professional, it is pretty clear that a large number [ 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… ]

Fool’s gold, job leads & networking

From our daily member newsletter on March 27, 2017

A long time ago I received an email from one of our members comparing and contrasting the job leads he was getting from various sources. The quick story is that he was a subscriber to two paid services in addition to our newsletter. What I found disappointing was his closing comment which began by saying how much he appreciated our newsletter and the job leads contained in it but ended with the comment that when he found a job he would be sure to make a contribution. While I would be the first one to understand that it is difficult to fully understand the value of job leads you see posted in various places, I would hope that members of [ Read more… ]

Stepping back up

From our daily member newsletter on March 26, 2017

So, what have you been doing to pass the time the past few years? Is it possible you have had a job where you were underemployed? Let me start you out with the idea that you never have to apologize for working, even when you have been working at jobs that pay a LOT less than your previous earnings. There is this little problem about putting food on the table and keeping your kids in school that, like hanging in the morning, tends to focus the mind. If you have been fortunate enough to find a full time job or even a string of temporary assignments, you are miles ahead of many of your peers. There are always some folks [ Read more… ]

The grass is not always greener

From our daily member newsletter on March 23, 2017

Out of the frying pan, into the fire. We sure have a lot of expressions relating to the very simple problem of thinking that life would be better if we were only somewhere else. I’ll add another: You can’t go home again. I can assure you that the dream job you once had contained blemishes that you have now forgotten. It would always appear to me to be worth a shot not making the same mistake again (whatever it might have been) in the selection of your next job. When jobs are scarce, and they may be in your segment, I strongly recommend taking whatever you can find. It is always better to be working. And, as any good sailor [ Read more… ]

Home is where the heart is

From our daily member newsletter on March 22, 2017

As many of you know, in 1991 and 1992, I was unemployed. (Yes, two long years!) Hard to say exactly why it took so long to find another job, but suffice to say that it was a recession and after 9 years in the Advertising business (which was in the dumper) and no recent experience in Publishing (my other background which was also in the dumper), there weren’t a lot of job possibilities. One of the things I took off the table immediately was moving. Sure, I was born in Chicago and had lived in Northern Indiana when I was growing up, but for nearly 25 years I had been living in Norwalk, Connecticut. It is arguable if moving would [ 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 renewal of old friendships

From our daily member newsletter on March 20, 2017

I never cease to be amazed how time stands still with respect to old friends. Several years ago one of my fraternity brothers was digging through some old photos in his basement and found a box from college. This prompted him to go to our national organization and get an email list. And so, the renewal process began for friendships that dated back 40 years! At the time it was pretty exciting for me to hear about the lives of individuals I lived in such close quarters with for 4 formative years. And, I took the time to immediately call several of these old friends. (Yes, I have known them for a long time, and I guess all of us [ Read more… ]

The golden rule

From our daily member newsletter on March 19, 2017

If there is any complaint I hear more than any other, it is that those we send messages to about jobs opportunities are not responsive. Sometimes even when a company or recruiter has taken the time to interview one of our members, weeks and weeks later all that is heard is silence. If this disappointment and/or anger truly reflect how we feel about the “outside world,” it makes me wonder why it is that I hear rumors from time to time that MEMBERS are being unresponsive to one another. Here within our little society called The FENG we have the opportunity to receive many benefits from building relationships with each other. Access to 40,000 folks from every industry, from every [ Read more… ]

Hard of seeing

From our daily member newsletter on March 16, 2017

There are a lot of maladies that go along with getting old. The one that tends to bother me the most these days is that I don’t see as well as I used to. Please don’t get alarmed. My eyes aren’t deteriorating from a medical standpoint. No, the problem is reading small type and handwritten name badges. I hope that all of you go to as many networking meetings as possible. It is important to be out and about. The more you present your credentials, the more likely you will either meet Santa Claus (the person who connects you to a great job) or you will at least become very comfortable in presenting your credentials to complete strangers. At a [ Read more… ]

The sound of one hand clapping

From our daily member newsletter on March 15, 2017

Some time ago a member wrote to me lamenting that although he was responding to a great number of opportunities, no one was contacting him about his credentials. It is a sad fact of life that the way job search works with regard to posted jobs is that it is atypical if anyone even acknowledges the receipt of your resume. Unfortunately, with the number of responses, and the lack of clerical help at most firms, even that simple courtesy is much too time consuming. The approach most firms use is to try to hide who they are. They don’t mention the name of their search firm or if they are a corporation, the name of the company. The Internet allows [ Read more… ]

Paying back favors

From our daily member newsletter on March 14, 2017

One of the worst feelings you can have when you are networking is that you are drawing down favors from everyone you contact and you honestly have no way of repaying their many courtesies. Unfortunately, this is not your imagination. True networking is, of course, a give and take. Hopefully you are in this networking thing for the long term. If you are, let me put your mind at ease. For those of you who remember the original Godfather movie, you may remember the scene before the wedding where Don Corleone is lecturing the undertaker about never having allowed himself to be put in his debt. While none of you will, hopefully, ever ask one of your networking contacts to [ Read more… ]

Picking the pennies up off the floor

From our daily member newsletter on March 13, 2017

I am often asked how one should budget one’s time when conducting a job search. The easy answer is that it depends. I would suggest to you that the primary element of your search is, of course, networking, networking and more networking. The reason I say this is, it works best. That said, just as the odds of winning the lottery on any given day are very low, and in my case nonexistent since I don’t buy lottery tickets, someone does win the lottery every single day. Let me start you out with the idea that initially you need to devote yourself to creating a competent resume and a competent 90-second announcement. Both of these items are tools you need [ Read more… ]

First, get the job offer

From our daily member newsletter on March 12, 2017

I often have been heard to joke that when I was in the Advertising business I worked with people who lied even when it wasn’t necessary. Their reason was simple. They didn’t want to get out of practice. In much the same way, you as a job applicant need to “stay the course” even when you may know very shortly into the process that the job in question is not of interest for whatever reason or reasons. I suppose it would be more polite (and members of The FENG tend to be VERY polite) to just drop out of the process, but I would suggest to you in the strongest of terms that, like my “friends” in the Advertising business, [ Read more… ]

Just call me Superman

From our daily member newsletter on March 9, 2017

Job descriptions, especially the ones that go on for pages and pages, have to make you smile. That said, with my many years of experience in the Advertising business, I am a big fan of long copy. Long copy sells. In the context of position descriptions posted in our newsletter I believe it gives our members sufficient information so that they can disqualify themselves if they honestly aren’t a fit. The longer the job description, the more likely you will get a good sense of the REAL responsibilities of the job. Most of the ones that catch your eye, I have no doubt that you can do. The more appropriate question to keep in mind is do you have a [ Read more… ]

The race to the finish line

From our daily member newsletter on March 8, 2017

Stop me if I am wrong, but I guess many folks find job search a painful process. Perhaps it is the lack of a steady paycheck, or the uncertainty, or the rejection. Just like beating your head against a wall, it sure feels good when you can stop. (Is this why we are having so much fun or what?) Perhaps that is why a few times a week I get a message from one of our members to stop their evening newsletter because next week they are going to be starting a new job. Next week? (Sure you don’t want to overlap a few days?) Is the newsletter an unpleasant reminder of the pain of job search? Or, is it [ Read more… ]

I know you’re busy

From our daily member newsletter on March 7, 2017

I know we live in a world of email, text messages and Twitter, but I often times wonder if others realize what their messages look like on the receiving end? I have to assume that many of the people who write to me are very busy, too busy to take a minute and read their communications and see if they are going to make any sense to someone not knowledgeable about what they might be talking. The problem goes well beyond the issue of “outgoing signatures” which I mention on a frequent basis. (If you don’t know what an outgoing signature is, you should suspect immediately that this editorial is about you. Please don’t write to me and ask. That [ Read more… ]

Reducing the clutter

From our daily member newsletter on March 6, 2017

Since 1997 when I first became Chairman of The FENG, I have probably reviewed well over 150,000 resumes. (Gosh, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.) I would tell you that the biggest problem I see in resumes is the incredible clutter. Although some of the resumes I get are 3 or 4 pages, most of the time the author has squeezed all they would like to say on 2 pages. The “tricks” they generally use are narrow margins and VERY tiny fonts. (I would swear some of them are less than 8 point type.) While I am a big fan of writing to your heart’s content to create enough material to edit, your best friend is a sharp pencil. The [ Read more… ]

Is the phone ancient technology?

From our daily member newsletter on March 5, 2017

The long history of telephone use in this country is pretty obvious. And, unlike all the bad jokes I have seen over the years about “young folks” today never having known a time when ….. (you fill in the blank), I have to say that I am amazed and astounded most days by the lack of knowledge by those I call as to how these darn things work. I recently took an old phone out to the driveway and smashed it with a sledgehammer to see what was inside. Yes, I know I could have used a screw driver and taken it apart carefully, but I was in one of those “dark moods.” Anyway, the truth be told, there was [ Read more… ]

Silver bullets

From our daily member newsletter on March 2, 2017

Except for the Lone Ranger, none of us actually has silver bullets in our gun. I am frequently taken to task by members on the topic of networking. I suppose that to a very large degree I am guilty of touting networking as the ultimate silver bullet to the exclusion of all other methods. I guess I didn’t realize that I was presenting networking as a “be all end all.” It is, but I didn’t realize I was doing it. The real truth is that you have to “do it all.” Back in 1991, I had a very dear friend who ran the Drake Beam office in Stamford. Although I didn’t actually get outplacement, he invited me to use a [ Read more… ]

Beware the open microphone

From our daily member newsletter on March 1, 2017

How often have we seen a speaker tap a microphone and say: Is this on? At least the person in question is preparing to speak. On the other hand, how often have we heard news reports about politicians saying things they shouldn’t have been saying (or thinking), not realizing that the microphone in front of them was on? Our modern world is full of opportunities to embarrass ourselves, big time. I suppose in ancient times, the worst that could happen to an orator was to be over heard by one or two people before he was ready. If he was standing in front of a crowd of listeners, he knew it. The problem in today’s world is not just oral [ Read more… ]

A compelling summary

From our daily member newsletter on February 28, 2017

There is no more important space on your resume than that first section after your name. Alas, I rarely see it used to good effect. Although cover letters allow you to “cover” matters perhaps not easily “covered” in your resume, more often than not your cover letter isn’t sent to the decision maker. In a very real sense, your resume stands alone and needs to be done in such a way that it gets the job done. If you agree that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, that first section sets the stage for what follows. By taking the time to really focus on your value added, the summary section can allow you to [ Read more… ]

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

From our daily member newsletter on February 27, 2017

One of the most disconcerting aspects of looking for a job is that you often get the feeling that people aren’t treating you with as much respect as you deserve. I could be wrong, but I think that those of us who have been senior level financial executives may have a tougher time dealing with this problem than others. All during the time we are working there is a line of supplicants outside of our office. (Oh, Matt, please send my vendor a check. Please Matt, won’t you take a minute and approve my expense report. Matt, I really need more money in my budget for next year.) Then, boom, you are out of work and there just aren’t as [ Read more… ]

Just give me the middle line

From our daily member newsletter on February 26, 2017

According to Google, double entry accounting was developed around 1300AD. Shortly thereafter, someone came up with the expression: “Just give me the bottom line.” No one ever talks about the middle line. I have often wondered about that. Haven’t you? I don’t know about you, but as good accountants and Chief Financial Officers I thought our goal was to prepare comparable financial statements. Documents that not only were accurate and reflective of the organizations we were helping run, but also consistent in format month after month so that our “customers,” all of those non-financial types, would know where to look for the information they required. (I know I prided myself on those year after year matching binders with matching tabs.) [ Read more… ]

Networking is easy

From our daily member newsletter on February 23, 2017

I am never surprised when a member tells me that he isn’t good at networking. As financial professionals, we tend to “come with the woodwork.” In any major corporation, the accounting department is usually where you will find most of the longest service employees. And, it is not only our staff that tends to stay, but us too. As you may know, I was in the advertising business for 9 years. I had occasion to chat with a friend of mine who was an art director at another agency. Although I had only worked at 3 firms when I was 46, he at the same age had worked at 25 different agencies, some of them twice. The need to develop [ Read more… ]

Saying thanks

From our daily member newsletter on February 22, 2017

One of the gag gifts that my wife got once was a “Stress Busters” calendar. Since she couldn’t find a place for it on her desk at work, she gave it to me. (I suppose it was one step away from the garbage pail.) Since I got it after the start of the year, I was able to fast forward through some of the dumbest suggestions for relieving stress known to mankind. That is until I got to one that read: “Make a list of everyone who has made a positive contribution to your life, and send each one of them a greeting card to let them know how they have made an impact. You’ll feel good as you write [ Read more… ]

Who am I anyway?

From our daily member newsletter on February 21, 2017

Since 1991 (when I was out of work for the first time in my career), I can’t begin to even estimate how many 90-second announcements I have heard. I also can’t tell you how many I have given. It is an interesting process to be sure. When I was in the Army back in 1969, the “Who am I” question was always answered by some description of what you did when you were “back on the block.” Since many of us didn’t want to “own” what we were at that moment in time, it was logical and comfortable to refer back to civilian life. In college, the “Who am I” question was usually answered in the present. You were your [ Read more… ]

If you are going to bother

From our daily member newsletter on February 20, 2017

I have often been heard to say that job leads have no value. That’s why we share them. It’s not that they have NO value, it is just that their value is limited to you as an individual (you have to be a perfect fit) and that their shelf life is extraordinarily short. I would also argue that to a very great degree, your resume stands alone. By this I mean that it provides the primary tool by which you are going to be evaluated. Others may disagree, but I read resumes first and cover letters second. If you are going to win the day, the key elements in the requirements shown in any job posting should be on your [ Read more… ]

Networking-The NFL approach

From our daily member newsletter on February 19, 2017

A lot has been written over the years and in this newsletter about the do’s and don’ts of networking. In his book, Rites of Passage, John Lucht talks about the NFL approach to networking where you block and tackle your networking contacts and hold them down until they come up with at least 3 names. I hope that those of us in The FENG never take this approach, especially when it comes to other members. Still, with 40,000+ members, some of our approaches to “networking FENG style” need to be repeated. There was an article in the New York Times a long time ago that several members called to my attention. The title was “Hiring? You’re Everyone’s Best Friend.” It [ Read more… ]

Enlightened self interest

From our daily member newsletter on February 16, 2017

Given that the newsletter is still a little short these days, I thought I would repeat and expand on some thoughts I have had over the years as to why we share job leads. If I may quote from our website: The basic purpose of our group is to give individuals who have been Chief Financial Officers, Controllers, and Vice Presidents of Finance, Treasury, Tax, or Mergers & Acquisition, an opportunity to share job leads with their fellow financial executives. We make every attempt to provide leads that are useful by inviting members of our network to participate in leads in which we are ACTIVE candidates. While at first blush this approach may appear counterintuitive, the value of any lead [ Read more… ]

Impacting the lives of others

From our daily member newsletter on February 15, 2017

Over the course of our own lives, we are often unaware of things we have said and done that have positively affected the lives of those we know. A moment of caring. A word of advice. Sometimes just listening when that is needed. For the person on the receiving end, it just may be something that they will replay in their minds for the rest of their lives. One of my closely held beliefs is that everyone wants to help, but not everyone knows how to go about it. Part of what we do in our little society called The FENG is teaching each other how to accomplish this very important mission. What I hope we all be able to [ Read more… ]

Facilitating communication

From our daily member newsletter on February 14, 2017

I don’t know how many of you go for humorous movies. There aren’t too many good ones, but when there is a good one, the part I enjoy the most is “the running gag.” In the movie Airplane, for example, Lloyd Bridges playing the part of McCroskey starts by saying: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue!” He then continues variations on this theme throughout the movie. Here at world headquarters the running gag is “This calls for Matt’s secret decoder ring!” You see a lot of folks are apparently unaware of the importance of providing their name anywhere in the messages they send. In addition, there just is no substitute for providing your phone number, [ Read more… ]

The clock is always ticking

From our daily member newsletter on February 13, 2017

As accounting professionals we always remember to ask: “What is the deadline?” The problem is that when it comes to job search, a deadline is often not indicated. I am sensitive to this little quirk that is apparently hard wired in the minds of my many friends, and for this reason, job leads posted by The FECG always include a deadline. How long do you generally have to respond to a posting? I would say the window for most jobs is between 15 minutes to 48 hours. A lot depends on where it has been posted and the nature of the response address. If it is a temporary mailbox on Hotmail or Yahoo, I would lean toward 15 minutes. No, [ Read more… ]

Maintaining a positive attitude

From our daily member newsletter on February 12, 2017

Having a positive attitude at ALL times is the most important thing you can do in life. And, not just when you are job searching. But is it really possible to maintain a positive attitude ALL the time? Well, I suppose not, but it never hurts to try. If you are having trouble from time to time maintaining that winning smile of yours, DON’T call anyone or see anyone that hour or that day. My Grandmother used to say: “The worm that lives in the horseradish thinks the whole world is horseradish.” The analogy for your search is that if you only call others and meet with others when you are able to maintain a positive persona, they will come [ Read more… ]

90 second announcements

From our daily member newsletter on February 9, 2017

One of the more difficult conventions to master of our many traditions is the 90 second announcement. Still, once you have mastered it, it can pay big dividends because it is the perfect answer to “so, tell me about yourself.” Let’s start out with my favorite mantra: Speech is the slowest form of communication. (As you know, I’m married to a speech pathologist, so I really do know these things.) You honestly can’t cover a lot of details in 90 seconds so you have to pick and choose what you want to say. And, how you say it is also important. Body language and delivery is every bit as important as the words themselves. Your first objective is to get [ Read more… ]

The easy button

From our daily member newsletter on February 8, 2017

Staples, the office supply company, had an “Easy Button” that they sold in their stores several years ago. (I think they still carry it.) I worked on an assignment for Staples a few years ago and although we didn’t place anyone with them, their Human Resources contact sent me an Easy Button as a gift. (WOW!) The TV commercial they ran at the time featured people in various difficult work situations lifting up a cover plate and finding an “Easy Button.” Apparently, whatever the task, this easy button got the job done for you. Since I have had one on my desk, I have found it really does work! (Yeah, right.) Now, if only they could invent an “Easy Button” [ Read more… ]

The excuse you can’t cure

From our daily member newsletter on February 7, 2017

If you really need to get someone you are interviewing off the phone or out of your office, there is no better approach than to use what I call “The excuse you can’t cure.” In the annals of job search, there is no better tool. No one gets mad. No one screams. No one hits you. (This is especially important.) The beauty of “The excuse you can’t cure.” is that the victim doesn’t feel a thing. In fact, he/she usually accepts the problem as his or her own, not yours. This tool plays itself out with comments such as “If only you had a CPA.” Well, if you don’t have one, you certainly aren’t going to get one by tomorrow. [ 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… ]

Networking-A navigation problem

From our daily member newsletter on February 5, 2017

Acting as captain and primary navigator for a sailboat as I do is challenging at times. Back in the old days before I had a Loran or a GPS unit, life was much more difficult. Step one in navigation is to get out a chart of your local area that hopefully has both your starting point and your end point. On Long Island Sound, although you can sometimes draw a straight line between where you are and your destination, more often than not you need to do a little zigzagging to avoid the rocks. (Just so you know it is always a good idea to avoid rocks.) Since space is limited tonight, we will avoid the problem of your destination [ Read more… ]

Guns blazing

From our daily member newsletter on February 2, 2017

Have you ever had the feeling that the world was against you? How can I tell you this? It is. To be a member of our august body you need to have at least 20 years of work experience. You also need to have held a senior level title and earned at least $120k per year. Most of our members have a lot more experience and have earned a lot more. You would think this would be a good thing, but you would be wrong. Okay, if you are at the lower end of our membership in terms of age and/or compensation, many of my remarks are not entirely correct. But, if you are in your late 40’s, early 50’s [ Read more… ]

Acquiring knowledge

From our daily member newsletter on February 1, 2017

One of the things you learn pretty quickly in sailing is that “Mighty Mouse” is not going to come to your rescue if you get into trouble. Sure, there is a “AAA” type of service for boats, but the risks out on the water and the timelines for help getting to you are always significant. In the early days of our sailing as a family, we certainly had our share of misadventures. And, although we do more and go further than we used to, the tall tales I tell tend to have happier endings. Over the 35+ years I have been sailing, I have acquired a wealth of knowledge and I am at all times delighted to share what I [ Read more… ]

The burden of communication

From our daily member newsletter on January 31, 2017

I often hear members complain about people not reading their resume carefully enough. The subject usually comes up when members have been rejected for a job or haven’t gotten a response for a job they were convinced represented a fit. Alas, the sad truth is that WE bear the burden of properly communicating our credentials to the world at large. No one on the receiving end of your opus is OBLIGATED to read between the lines and figure out why you are a fit. A recruiter I spoke to quite some time ago, knowing our reputation for only responding when qualified, took the time once to call each individual who sent in a resume for a particular posting. (No, I [ Read more… ]

The importance of being personal

From our daily member newsletter on January 30, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I can almost always tell when I get a thinly disguised personal mailing that is actually a mass mailing of some kind. On the one hand, I am glad you are communicating with a lot of folks because you need to do that. But, there is a big difference between doing a volume of networking and doing a mass mailing. A mass mailing isn’t in any way personal. In the context of networking, mass mailing is an act of desperation or ignorance as to “how the game is played.” When was the last time you had a warm fuzzy about a letter that began “Dear Current Occupant” or “To Whom It May Concern?” With [ Read more… ]

Urban legends of job search

From our daily member newsletter on January 29, 2017

In the 20+ years that I have been Chairman of The FENG, I have heard more nonsense about job search approaches than any of you would believe. Some of the most accepted practices such as leaving off graduation dates and the proverbial “to present,” even when you have been gone for several months, are so well accepted that those who adhere to these practices don’t believe me when I tell them it simply doesn’t work. If instead of accusing some well-respected members of our august body of lying, let me instead “lower my voice” and suggest instead that they are at times using ineffective approaches in their search. Life is a continual negotiation with others. Let me characterize two very [ Read more… ]

The dreaded telephone interview

From our daily member newsletter on January 26, 2017

If going on an interview wasn’t stressful enough, having a telephone interview is even worse. More and more these days, companies are doing a telephone screening of candidates before they go to the time and expense of having someone come into the office. The good news is your resume has been pulled from the hundreds submitted. The bad news is, you are about to be ambushed. When I have a client who wants to do an initial telephone screen, I usually insist on contacting our candidates before they call. The simple reason is that many candidates list their cell phone on their resume as a primary point of contact. So, visualize this. You are driving down the road in heavy [ Read more… ]

Imparting dignity

From our daily member newsletter on January 25, 2017

Those of you who know me (and in particular our Administrative Assistants) know that I hate almost all abbreviations. It’s not that I don’t typically know what they mean. It is primarily that the longer version honestly doesn’t take up that much more space and looks a lot more important. In any case, it creates a consistency to our membership directories that I have always believed was important. As with so many things in life, it isn’t what you say, it is how you say it. Let me give you a few examples and see what you think. (Please don’t disagree with me. I am in one of my sensitive periods right now.) EVP & CFO or Executive Vice President [ Read more… ]

Dummy up

From our daily member newsletter on January 24, 2017

Most of the postings in our evening newsletter do not reveal the name of the client. There is a reason for this. The search firm wants to keep it a secret. (Duh!) There are several reasons why they tend to do this. Their first fear is that you might call their client. Now I know that none of the members of The FENG are dumb enough to do this, but it does happen once or twice a year. (With 50,000+ members we have quite a track record of good behavior.) Usually it proves to be someone other than someone from our august body who has committed this crime, but the suspicion still remains. Old habits of secrecy die hard, and [ Read more… ]

Trick questions

From our daily member newsletter on January 23, 2017

Now that the job market is going to be picking up again (from my lips to God’s ear), I thought we should turn our attention to the favorite trick questions that interviewers like to ask. In the spirit of sharing our knowledge and experience, I would ask those of you who have your favorites to send them in, hopefully with a good answer. If you don’t have a good answer to your “trick question,” send it in anyway. If need be, we will put it out to a panel of our experts. The all-time favorite is, of course, why did you leave your last job? Inquiring minds have a right to know I suppose, but if there was ever a [ Read more… ]

Developing a thick skin

From our daily member newsletter on January 22, 2017

As someone who now makes sales calls all day long, it is sometimes hard for me to remember the difficulty I initially had in picking up that 400 pound phone. Back in the dark days of 1991-1992 (the two years I was out of work), I found that my experience doing collection work as a CFO sort of gave me a baseline of mental strength to pursue my networking contacts. I was CFO of an Advertising Agency. I suppose that collecting from “clients” is a little different than collecting from other deadbeats. To that end, I developed what I referred to as the “glass bell” technique. I found that if I called often enough, had my facts in order and [ Read more… ]

Tinker Bell, fairy dust, happy thoughts and time

From our daily member newsletter on January 19, 2017

For those of you who are not familiar with the Tinker Bell story, all you need to know to understand tonight’s editorial is that the fairy dust Tinker Bell could sprinkle on you would only make you fly if were thinking happy thoughts. Let me add to this idea about thinking happy thoughts, one of the “true” facts (as opposed to false facts) about life is that there is only so much time in the world. And, one of “time’s” major failings (as a product) is that it only moves forward. In keeping with my usual theme that “wishing will make it so,” let me make a few suggestions for all of you who are looking for new “work opportunities” [ Read more… ]

The competition is fierce

From our daily member newsletter on January 18, 2017

What everyone should be clear about is that although I believe that “been there and done that” is more respected now than in most previous time periods in our great nation, you still have to “prove the null hypothesis” that you can do the job better than anyone else. The reduced lack of age discrimination only means you will have a chance at being considered. It doesn’t mean you will have a leg up on the competition. The primary prejudice against “old” people is that they aren’t up to date on the latest technology and that if they are hired for a job that is “beneath their dignity” that they will leave the moment the market picks up. To tackle [ Read more… ]

OUR SPONSORS: