EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

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, but generally speaking, in our attempt to make our very specific background universally applicable we tend to water down those things that the world might very well be willing to pay the most to have us do.

The problem we are trying to address in the wrong way is changing industries. Let’s face it; most members are in fact trying to change industries. Over the years, banking, telecommunications, Internet companies all have downsized. What is worse, no new hiring is going to take place for some time. So, what are you supposed to do?

Accounting and finance problems are to a very large degree universally applicable. If you put your thinking cap on and examine what it is you were doing in that industry currently in decline you can find the analogies that work.

A good place to start is by talking to folks from your industry to see what they have discovered about “the outside world.” Ask the question. Where are they thinking of applying their skills and what industries or companies are appropriate. Listen, you may not be able to get a job in those industries or companies, but it will go a long way toward getting your thinking focused on the REAL skills that you provide.

Being all things to all people is the same thing as being nothing to anybody.

Identify the skills you have with the most market value to the outside world and put your best face on them in the context in which they happened. It will make them more understandable to the folks reading your resume.

Long lists that cover the gamut from soup to nuts will only serve to mask the very specific skill sets and solutions you can provide to a potential employer.

Focus, focus, focus is the answer to the problem. Jobs for generalists don’t pay as well.

Regards, Matt

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