EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The competition is fierce

From our daily member newsletter on November 7, 2017

No one ever said it would be easy. And, when it comes to finding a job after the age of 40, it can easily become a demoralizing situation. For those of us who are even older, like in our 50’s or 60’s, it can be extremely difficult. Let me start you out with the idea that you are no longer the least expensive product out on the market. You bring a wealth of experience to the party, and those on the other side of the desk feel obligated to pay more to you than for someone earlier in their career should they decide to hire you. It’s true, of course, that they should pay more, but what is often missed [ Read more… ]

Handling compensation negotiations

From our daily member newsletter on October 17, 2017

Money makes the world go around, or so they say. If this is the case, can there be any more delicate subject to bring up with a potential employer than your potential salary? There was a comment I heard on “Streets of San Francisco” many years ago that is applicable here: “First liar never stands a chance.” As applicable to salary negotiations, it is always better to let the potential employer put something on the table before you try to improve upon it. It is just good negotiating to find out the relevant range before saying anything. The danger of presenting your salary demands too early in the process is considerable. The acceptable price of anything someone might want to [ Read more… ]

Hidden customer objections

From our daily member newsletter on October 11, 2017

It is a sad fact of interviewing that often times those sitting on the other side of the table hesitate asking questions that you would gladly answer. The kinds of questions I am talking about are things that might be grounds for a lawsuit because they skirt the edge of age discrimination or one of the other laws out there to “protect us.” While it is your decision whether or not to answer questions you know are illegal, the real problem with questions of this nature is that when they are the “elephant sitting in the room,” very little real communication takes place between you and the interviewer unless you get them out of the way. If you had a [ Read more… ]

Phone interviews

From our daily member newsletter on September 27, 2017

Probably one of the most difficult interviews to pull off well is a telephone interview. Let’s start off with the idea that the lack of face to face contact prevents you from seeing if the words and ideas you are presenting are playing well. A live audience is always better. Is the person on the other end of the phone nodding in agreement? Are they rolling their eyes? Even for someone who spends as much time on the phone as I do, it is often hard to tell. Sitting during a telephone interview is probably not a good idea because your conversation will tend to lack energy. This is at least one of the things you can solve. If you [ Read more… ]

Spilling your guts

From our daily member newsletter on August 15, 2017

With all of the flap these days about integrity, I am concerned that members of The FENG, being honest financial types, will again fall into their natural propensity to tell too much about things that are no one’s business. I hope that I can trust you to blather on about all of your technical prowess and your many achievements. I also hope that you will explain at length about all matters that will enhance your candidacy for the position in question. However, when it comes to certain subjects about your past or future, it is perhaps best to “dummy up,” or at worst to say things that will be heard as direct answers. Please understand that I am not suggesting [ Read more… ]

Read any good books?

From our daily member newsletter on August 14, 2017

One of the little recognized facts about interviewing is that the most important part of what you are trying to accomplish in an interview is to make a personal connection with the interviewer. With all of the executive talent floating around these days, starting with the 40,000+ members of The FENG, your ability to distinguish yourself in those precious minutes you have with a decision maker is what is key. I would suggest to you that we tend to be nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel types of people. When we have work, we work. Sometimes for years. We tend not to network during those times, or even to read a few good books. We are just too [ 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… ]

Always take the high road

From our daily member newsletter on July 31, 2017

America is a great place, isn’t it? Everything is always someone else’s fault. I guess this is why Americans are so quick to sue. After all, we can’t take the blame for that which has happened to us. There were significant mitigating factors. Primarily due to, partially offset by. I’m sure you are familiar with the approach. All right, perhaps I shouldn’t have made those disparaging remarks about the way the boss dressed and how he always came in late, but I only mentioned it to most of his staff. And, I was only kidding. Actually, I am only kidding here. But, I thought I would make the point that it is human nature to come up with some explanation [ 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… ]

All things to all people

From our daily member newsletter on July 16, 2017

It is a truth in this world that we get paid the most for doing something that is at the high end of our skill set. For example, you would be willing to pay big bucks to a skilled surgeon to take out your appendix, but you would probably not be willing to let me take out your appendix at any price. Hence, the price you would be willing to pay me would probably be less than zero. Actually, I couldn’t even get the job. If this is all true, then why is it that in the writing of our resumes we try to present ourselves as the ultimate solution to all problems? We may narrow the niche to finance, [ Read more… ]

Am I qualified?

From our daily member newsletter on July 6, 2017

One of my friends used to call me “the can do” guy. (Now he calls me “Mr. Chairman.”) I know he meant it in the nicest possible way and I suppose that in many respects I am the can do guy. There really isn’t much that I won’t tackle. Perhaps it comes from my Midwest self-reliance or the fact that I worked construction in my youth. (Or perhaps it is my wasted adulthood as a sailor?) All of this leads me to believe that regardless of what it says in most job postings, I know that with enough time there are few issues that I couldn’t solve. (And, they would be lucky to have me!) However, am I really qualified [ Read more… ]

What do companies want?

From our daily member newsletter on June 26, 2017

  I have written on many occasions about how to structure your resume. I have also written about bringing your resume through stages of development. Like any selling document it is essential that you keep it growing and fresh. Going through the birth pangs of building your resume can often feel like you are taking out your own appendix without the benefit of anesthetic. (Actually, it is a little more painful.) Still, without this important document looking its best you are going to be hard pressed to be selected out of a batch of 200+ resumes. After you have the framework easy to read (there are model resumes out on our website), and you have polished the prose, the next [ Read more… ]

The truth, as retold by ….

From our daily member newsletter on June 22, 2017

I am always impressed by the eternal truthfulness of the many members of this august body. Unfortunately, it is one of the many things about us as financial folks that gets in the way of our finding a new job. As many of you know, I spent 9 years as Chief Financial Officer of an advertising agency. I won’t say from this public platform that I worked with a bunch of liars (please keep in mind that I didn’t say this), but it often felt like those around me were lying even when it wasn’t necessary, just so they wouldn’t get out of practice. Kind of like on that old TV show “Get Smart” — Would you believe??? Anyway, the [ Read more… ]

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

From our daily member newsletter on June 12, 2017

So, you have actually done it. A company has put you through the wringer and forced you to interview with just about everyone at the firm. You have beaten the competition to a pulp. You are standing all alone in your victory. Now comes the moment of truth. They ask you for references. Like you didn’t know this was coming. Let’s start with the idea that it is a commonly held belief that no one gives references that will say anything bad about them. This is the high standard to which you are going to be held. So, choose your references carefully. The rub comes in when they ask you for specific kinds of references. So, in the hopes that [ Read more… ]

Phones don’t bite

From our daily member newsletter on June 7, 2017

One of our chapter chairs called me recently, and as usual when he calls, we had a wide ranging conversation about members of The FENG, friends (sometimes these two overlap), and family matters. There generally aren’t many moments of silence since we always have so much to talk about. Since we are both networking maniacs, it is sometimes hard for us to understand why folks find it so difficult to network. Surely picking up the phone and at least calling other members of The FENG can’t be difficult. (This was the topic that we discussed at length.) Then it hit me! Some of our members must think that phones have teeth. What else could it be? Surely everyone in The [ Read more… ]

Job leads versus the job market

From our daily member newsletter on June 4, 2017

It is a true fact (as opposed to a false fact) that most people over value job leads. Perhaps I have said this before, but the real deal is networking, networking and more networking. That said I thought it might be of interest to all of you for me to share my own personal theories as to why published job leads all seem to be out of town and/or require unusual skills. Back in the bad old days before the Internet, job seekers here in the Northeast had the Sunday New York Times and the Tuesday Wall Street Journal to drool over. The Sunday New York Times had a lot of 2 line ads, which now based on the wisdom [ Read more… ]

It must make sense (to them)

From our daily member newsletter on May 22, 2017

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… ]

Do you know who I am?

From our daily member newsletter on May 21, 2017

There is an extended joke I heard a while back about a man who experienced a flight cancellation. As a matter of fact, he was not alone. The line was long and as the minutes turned to an hour, he was getting angrier and angrier. When he finally got to the head of the line he demanded to be rebooked immediately. When he met with resistance to this idea, he screamed at the ticket agent: “Do you know who I am?” Without missing a beat, the ticket agent grabbed her microphone and announced to the assembled crowd: “I have a man at the head of the line who doesn’t know who he is. If you recognize him, please come forward.” [ Read more… ]

Help, I’m trapped in a nut shell!

From our daily member newsletter on May 18, 2017

There is no greater challenge in this world than summing yourself up in 90 seconds or writing a proper summary for your resume. As many of you know, I was CFO of an advertising agency in the 1980’s. Initially, I used to wonder why the creative folks got paid so well. As I got more and more into who we were and what we did, it became a little more obvious how difficult it was to create the essence of a product or service in a 30 second commercial or in a print ad. Here you are a product and/or service with 20+ years of work experience. There are so many delightful aspects to who you are and what you [ 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… ]

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… ]

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… ]

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