EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Reading, an important skill

From our daily member newsletter on June 30, 2008

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

Attention to detail

From our daily member newsletter on June 29, 2008

I am at all times amazed and astounded at the lack of attention to detail by the many members who write to me. There are so many things that are easy to do, that no one seems to do. Let me start with my primary concern (and one I write about constantly), the lack of outgoing signatures. Incredibly, some e-mails I get aren’t even signed. A proper outgoing signature contains your name, address, phone numbers and e-mail address. Adding one is so simple that it doesn’t bear explaining. If you aren’t using one, just click “Help” and search for outgoing signature. If you are wondering why no one is writing back, that’s why. Is your name Pat, or Leslie? You [ Read more… ]

Your hidden assets

From our daily member newsletter on June 26, 2008

Almost all of the resumes I see are from members or new member applicants. Today I just finished the latest batch of 75 applicants. What is surprising is how much trouble some folks go to disguising their seniority and great skills. It is my belief and I hope to make it yours as well, that the most important thing you have to sell is your wealth of experience. There are so many things in this world that only happen once or twice a year, and most of our members have seen them anywhere from 20-40 times. Like a song you keep hearing on the radio, even if you don’t sing well, you are bound to know the words and can [ Read more… ]

A little breathing room

From our daily member newsletter on June 25, 2008

I have often been heard to say, “Cash is a four letter word.” It is for this reason that taking a sound approach to you job search REQUIRES that you have your financial house in order. There is nothing that is more distracting than to be concerned about your finances during a search. With any luck, you have hopefully been fortunate to save a little money, and/or have equity in your home. However, regardless of where you have assets you can tap, it is sage advice to get yourself as liquid as possible. If you have equity in the house and your significant other is working, it is usually possible to refinance or get a second mortgage on their income [ Read more… ]

Am I qualified?

From our daily member newsletter on June 24, 2008

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 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 for [ Read more… ]

The golden rule ñ revisited

From our daily member newsletter on June 23, 2008

As you all know, I get a lot of e-mail. Most of it is actually pretty routine. There are 20-30 directory updates every day. There are also the inevitable members asking for the user name and password for our website. Each day I also get a few good news announcements. (I always enjoy being the first to know. Okay, you can call your significant other first.) It is rare that I get a note indicating that members are being unresponsive to one another. Yes, I am sure it happens a lot. And, sure, you can write it off to the fact that we have gotten to be a large organization, but frankly, I cannot and will not ever accept that [ Read more… ]

Birds of a feather

From our daily member newsletter on June 22, 2008

We are fortunate in the financial professions to be blessed with a very high degree of transferable skills. Still, the next job for most of us isn’t going to be all that much different from our last one. While it is certainly possible that we will change industries, it is less likely that we will change the skill sets needed in our day to day work. What typically happens in any recession (Did I say we are in a recession? Not me!) is that certain industries take a downward turn and many of the folks in those industries lose their jobs. It used to be that this was limited to old line industries, but as we have seen in recent [ Read more… ]

What do companies want?

From our daily member newsletter on June 19, 2008

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 stage [ Read more… ]

Unsolicited advice

From our daily member newsletter on June 18, 2008

There was a cartoon I saw many years ago. The picture was of a man playing a piano in what was obviously western saloon. The sign above the piano read: “Don’t shoot the piano player. He’s doing the best he can.” I have often lamented that the most difficult task I face each day is getting our members to seek out the advice and counsel of other members in the process we call networking. I don’t know exactly why it is, but for some genetic reason, men don’t like unsolicited advice. And, for those of us who like to give out a lot of advice, it can be a difficult task to make a suggestion and have it actually received [ Read more… ]

The truth, as retold by Ö.

From our daily member newsletter on June 17, 2008

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… ]

Selling from an empty wagon

From our daily member newsletter on June 16, 2008

I often get the feeling listening to members of The FENG that they feel like they are selling from an empty wagon. Friends, it just isn’t true. What triggered tonight’s editorial was a few comments I got from one of our members about the issue of dates for your college degrees. The “product” you need to always be selling is your wealth of experience. Everyone doesn’t want the product, but those that do are willing to pay for it. In classic marketing terms, if you try to sell a product based on attributes it doesn’t have, it is considered an over promise. You are a lot better off presenting a realistic picture. We have all seen ads for the airlines [ Read more… ]

Use Caution When Throwing Darts

From our daily member newsletter on June 15, 2008

From Doug Fine, Co-Chairman, The FENG, Doug writes: When my firm, The FECG, LLC posts job assignments in the nightly newsletter – both for consulting and for “permanent” positions, I frequently find the same member applying for several different opportunities during the same week or several week period. Often these openings are vastly different in terms of title, responsibility and even compensation level. Perhaps they are even in very different industries. In some cases there may be two opportunities from the same client where many of the same people apply for both jobs when one is clearly a much higher level position. I would use the analogy of throwing darts – lots of darts – and hoping a couple actually [ Read more… ]

Practice makes perfect

From our daily member newsletter on June 12, 2008

Although we are all familiar with the above expression, I am not sure if everyone understands the importance of this idea to his or her search and how to get to where you need to be. The “big show” is of course an interview. When you finally get yourself in front of a hiring manager all aspects of your performance need to be polished. This is not the time to be “practicing” your elevator speech when he/she says “So, tell me about your self.” We are fortunate within The FENG to have lots of opportunities to practice our pitch. Let’s start with our many chapter meetings. What better place is there to work on that 90-second announcement? You have a [ Read more… ]

Can you hear me now?

From our daily member newsletter on June 11, 2008

I still remember with fondness the cell phone commercial where the technician is in the middle of a swamp somewhere and he is testing his cell coverage. I don’t know where he might be, but he isn’t here in Weston, Connecticut where we have no cell coverage. (If you have called my cell phone and I haven’t gotten back to you for a few days, that is why. We have no coverage and I don’t leave it on.) Despite the convenience of being able to make and receive calls anywhere (including when I am crossing Long Island Sound in my sailboat), the use of cell phones is to be approached with a great deal of caution. The fact that it [ Read more… ]

Before you click send

From our daily member newsletter on June 10, 2008

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

Reinforcing appropriate behavior

From our daily member newsletter on June 9, 2008

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… ]

A time of renewal

From our daily member newsletter on June 8, 2008

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

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

From our daily member newsletter on June 5, 2008

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… ]

Catching a tiger by the tail

From our daily member newsletter on June 4, 2008

We all, I hope, spend a lot of time networking. (To paraphrase René Descartes, the famous French philosopher: I network, therefore I am.) So, you have been hard at it. The FENG electronic membership directory is now a little tattered from over use, but incredible as it may seem, you have gotten an appointment with someone on your “A” list for an in person networking meeting. Now is not the time to slack off. All of the hard work you have put into getting this appointment will be as ashes in your mouth if you don’t prepare properly. Let’s assume you don’t know everything there is to know about this valuable individual. What should you do? Step one is to [ Read more… ]

Catch me if you can

From our daily member newsletter on June 3, 2008

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

Phones donít bite

From our daily member newsletter on June 2, 2008

Norm stopped by one afternoon recently, and as we usually do when he stops by, 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 today.) Then it hit me! Some of our members must think that phones have teeth. What else could it be? Surely everyone [ Read more… ]

Zen and the art of job search

From our daily member newsletter on June 1, 2008

I have never actually read any of the books that begin with the title I selected for this editorial, but I think I know what they were all about. Okay, maybe I don’t. Still, the thought comes to mind upon reading one of the responses I received recently that there is one aspect of your required “job search attitude” that I should address. Our mutual purpose in trying to explain how the world works is directed toward lessening the stress you feel when you are engaged in a search. It is easy to feel alone. It is easy to feel that no one cares about you. And, it is easy to feel that everyone else is getting called back, but [ Read more… ]

OUR SPONSORS:

cfo