EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

As I mention from time to time, The FENG is a NETWORKING group. It isn’t a job board.

Just as Kermit the Frog found out that it isn’t easy being green, no one ever said it was going to be easy being a member of The FENG.

Membership in our little society comes with a price. Sure, your cash contributions are helpful in keeping our website lights on and our administrative staff paid, but the real price I hope all members are willing to pay is in always having their “good offices” open to other members, no matter how busy they are.

Many members are afraid to ask for favors. Let me put you at ease. Please know that in The FENG, you are permitted to draw down as many favors as it takes to find another “work opportunity.” The “quid pro quo” is that you are expected to pay back each favor you receive, not to the person who did you the favor (because that is often difficult), but instead to anyone and everyone who contacts you from our august body.

The greatest gift that you can bestow on another person or that someone can bestow on you is an act of friendship. Favors large and small are all that is required. I’m not asking you to put a fellow member’s children through college. Rather, I am suggesting that you give them the tools to do it on their own. Sometimes all you can do for someone who contacts you is to offer a kind word, and on days when that person is feeling down, you may have hit upon the perfect gift. Other times, you may have the light go on above your head and come up with an appropriate networking contact who just may “connect the dots” for someone’s career.

I have been touting our Member Directory Search feature as a tool of the first order. However, absent the willingness of you as an individual member to read emails you are sent and to answer phone calls you receive, your name being in one of our membership directories would be totally useless.

Streets run both ways, so let me suggest a few rules of engagement. If you are the one being contacted, please make an effort to acknowledge any communication from another member within 2 or 3 business days. By acknowledging a communication, I am not suggesting that you solve it within this time frame, only that you let them know you got it. You may actually be busy with your own life, and I understand that. However, ignoring it can be perceived as rude, and you know what a sensitive guy I am. Fortunately, other members are more thick skinned.

On the other side of the communication, please know that the burden of creating an effective message is the senders. As a Chief Financial Officer or a Controller, and these are our core skill sets, I believe in only providing actionable data to a decision maker. So, it may sound forward and make you appear like you are looking for a job (and I assume you are), but I recommend attaching a copy of your resume. It will relieve the person you are hoping will call you back or take your call of asking for a copy and then having to reschedule your call. And, it will save you and the member you are calling lots of time. “Reading” your resume to someone over the phone isn’t very efficient or effective. Reading a resume is easy.

An email communication should always precede a phone call. Sure, you run the risk that now that they know why you are calling that they will avoid you, but take the risk. Your email cover note, which I hope you have been practicing by answering ads, needs to be short. Allow yourself one printed page including your FULL outgoing signature. Don’t repeat everything in your resume. That’s why you are attaching it. Let them know why you picked them. Was it based on companies where they worked? Was it based on location? Don’t leave this issue a mystery. Make sure you make clear in your subject line that you are a member of The FENG.

After you have established “the connection” you can move on to how you hope they can help you. Anyone who asks: “Do you know about any open jobs?” should be given a smack upside the head. No one ever knows about any open jobs except for two weeks ago, and if you had only called then, it would have been perfect for you. (They love to torture you.) No, the question you want to ask is if they know any appropriate networking contacts for you. (I will leave it to you to fully dimension the parameters of what that would look like.)

It should go without saying, but I will mention it anyway, that in addition to attaching your resume, and in addition to being clear as to your networking requirements, you are expected to be selective in who you contact from our membership database. Your goal is to make them feel special. If you do, they will make you feel special.

Those who FULLY participate in what The FENG is all about are considered Fanatic FENG’ers.

And, if you really want to go to heck with yourself and perhaps pay a few favors in advance of your needing them, contact your Chapter or Special Interest Group chair and volunteer to help.

Who knows, we might even make a go of this FENG thing.

Regards, Matt

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