EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I just don’t think that I will ever see in my lifetime a job specification that calls for a minimum of 30 years of work experience. If you ever see one, I do hope you will send it my way so I can frame it.

For those of us who are “well experienced,” it can be a difficult decision applying for a job that only calls for 8-10 years of experience. As in the age old question of “How many men does it take to turn in a light bulb?”, at what point can someone early in their career be considered for a job as a Chief Financial Officer or Controller. And if this is all the company feels is required, is it indeed a senior level job?

The short and long answer is, I don’t know. But, the only way you are ever going to find out is to apply for the job and get to talk to them.

For a job posting that calls for less than 10-15 years of experience, you need to understand that they may or may not seriously consider someone with a substantial number of years in the workforce. However, if you think the job is one you would honestly consider, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t apply for it. Just keep in mind you will need to do more than a little selling beyond your sterling credentials. But, at least you have their primary “customer objection” well in hand.

I would ask you not to go crazy on me and remove your graduation dates and your early work history just to get in the door. If you do that, you may as well stamp “TOO OLD” right at the top of your resume. For those who read resumes for a living, it is only too obvious that you have done this. What I would suggest instead is at all times to focus on selling your value, and your value is “been there and done that.”

What is the salary range for the job? If they have been nice enough to provide this vital information, you will at least know if you should give it a shot. For someone well experienced, they might actually pay 10-15% more. If a salary isn’t stated, my experience has been that a lesser experience requirement is a signal that they don’t want to pay all that much. Their reasoning is that someone early in their career won’t demand as high a salary.

So now the question is, how badly do you want the job? My advice is that it is always better to be working. You will have time to sell the value of your credentials if you don’t beat them over the head with your exact age in your cover note.

An email cover note and the summary at the top of your resume are two communication elements that are like your 90-second announcement. They should be designed to get the recipient interested in your background, but they are not the total sales pitch.

Let me assume that your interest is that, other than the experience requirement, the job fits your background very closely. If it is manufacturing and that is what you do, you theoretically bring so much to the party that it should be hard to dismiss you out of hand.

Compelling documents are the only ones that will get you in the door.

When I say you should take a position description seriously, I mean you need to understand what you are up against. If it isn’t practical to tone down your resume to fit the job specification, don’t apply. It honestly won’t work.

I call this looking for love in all the wrong places.

Regards, Matt

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