EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Selling from your own wagon

From our daily member newsletter on April 30, 2008

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 April 29, 2008

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 April 28, 2008

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 April 27, 2008

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 April 24, 2008

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 today (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 executives got [ Read more… ]

Precision in your communications

From our daily member newsletter on April 23, 2008

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 BlackBerry don’t lend themselves to being complete or correct. There is even apparently an available statement you can add to your outgoing messages from this device that highlights the fact that it wasn’t sent from a regular computer. (I guess folks on the receiving end will be more forgiving.) It is sad, really, that we allow these things to affect our common sense. While I applaude the fact that I can send messages by [ Read more… ]

Maintaining your focus

From our daily member newsletter on April 22, 2008

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. (A spicey 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 a recognition that there are 1 day plans, 1 week plans, 1 month plans, 3 month plans and 1 year plans. [ Read more… ]

An executive of true mystery

From our daily member newsletter on April 21, 2008

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 20, 2008

In the past week, it is clear that spring is 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 and [ Read more… ]

Why do boaters wave at each other?

From our daily member newsletter on April 17, 2008

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 15, 2008

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 14, 2008

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 13, 2008

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 they tackle 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… ]

Getting up early

From our daily member newsletter on April 10, 2008

The FENG rocks. As you can see by the consistent enormous size of our evening newsletter, we are THE source to find senior financial executives. Unfortunately it is one of those good news/bad news jokes. While it is all very good that our newsletter is enormous and that the jobs in the newsletter appear to be high paying, I hope that none of you will forget the fact that we are a NETWORKING group and not a job listing service. My fear, and this is the bad news, is that some members may feel that they can engage in a “passive” job search and all they have to do is answer enough postings and presto — they will have a [ Read more… ]

A fair fight

From our daily member newsletter on April 9, 2008

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 8, 2008

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… ]

Donít call me, Iíll call you

From our daily member newsletter on April 7, 2008

I have been trying to do a better job of keeping up with my e-mail 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.) Sure, I know all of you 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 couldn’t help but be struck by the requests [ Read more… ]

Telephone sales

From our daily member newsletter on April 6, 2008

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… ]

Your real audience

From our daily member newsletter on April 3, 2008

Your real audience 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 [ Read more… ]

Too smart for our own good

From our daily member newsletter on April 2, 2008

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 1, 2008

I do tend to rattle on. Some night I will tell you the FULL story about how I removed my own oil tank from my property. Just don’t tell Dianne Weinstock (Norm’s wife) that I told you, because she still teases me about it. (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, [ Read more… ]

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