EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I once got a note from one of our members listing several websites with job listings. The question was which ones to sign up for given that some of them had fees associated with them.

I will now talk out of both sides of my mouth, so pay attention.

Here in The FENG evening newsletter, we make every effort to ensure that the recruiters who post with us contact us as soon as they get a position description by making it free for them to have access to our vast audience. From our members’ perspective, I call it my “first bite of the apple” program. One of our Administrative Assistants reviews every newsletter after it is published and writes to any recruiter who didn’t provide a “proper” posting. Those that send in sketchy leads or who post with just an email address are sent a disciplinary note under my name. In this way we are hoping that over time the quality of the leads you see are as good as they can be.

You should also note that since we do outbound email, no job posted in our newsletter has been “hanging around.” Job leads only appear once. Everything in every newsletter is new, so it pays to read the entire newsletter from beginning to end.

All of the other posting boards you may become aware of leave their jobs postings up far longer than I believe is appropriate. The total number of leads on their site is a point of pride. Sure, they may tell you the date a lead was posted, but it is still there and you can come to believe it is an available job. Why else would they leave it up?

Has no one ever heard of Internet time? My belief system tells me that job leads have a shelf life measured in hours or at best days, certainly not weeks.

Furthermore, and this is the main point I would like to make, answering job ads from whatever source is conducting a passive job search. While it is indeed possible that you will find a job in this job market solely by answering job leads you find on various posting boards, the odds are honestly extremely low. You will send out a lot of emails, and you may hear back on a few of them, but you are playing a waiting game that most people shouldn’t be prepared to play.

For any publicly known job there are 100’s and 100’s of qualified candidates. And, the beauty of the Internet is that the availability of these “work opportunities” is well distributed. Every man, woman and child on the face of the earth can easily become aware of them. While you may feel that particular jobs are a “perfect fit” for your background, let me assure you that there are more than a few other human beings for whom these golden opportunities are also a perfect fit.

That said someone does win the lottery every day. You could be one of the lucky few. I will keep my fingers crossed for you. It will do you about as much good as anything else. Please accept the fact that as a member of this august body you are by definition over qualified, previously more highly compensated and most likely bring too many years of work experience to the party for most jobs. (This is called having 3 strikes against you before you even get started.)

The true value of all job leads is the opportunity they present for you to examine your credentials against “work opportunities” you think are a fit for your background. Are you selling your skills using current terminology? Are you highlighting areas of your career that are in demand at the moment?

I would be the first to admit that answering job leads is a lot less painful way to look for a job than the hard work involved in networking. While networking may be more painful and a lot more personally difficult than answering job leads, it is a lot more potentially productive for your long term career. (Let’s face it, just picking up that 400 pound phone IS enough to kill you.)

Smart networking is not a “random walk down Wall Street.” It is a targeted contacting of people who know you or know of you and what you can do. It is the inverse of what retained search people do on a daily basis.

So, take the easy way out if you like, but I cannot assure you of ultimate victory if that is the only road you take. Each of you has at your electronic finger tips the world’s best power tool when it comes to networking – The FENG membership directory and our very powerful Member Directory Search feature to access it.

Sign in and use it. The willingness of members to take your calls is what makes The FENG a world class organization with a sterling reputation.

Trust me, there is nothing passive about it.

Regards, Matt

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