EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

As a breed, us financial types are such a precise group of individuals. It is at once our greatest strength from a work prospective, and in the context of job search, one of our greatest failings.

The fear, as I understand it, is that we might be offered some opportunity that is somehow outside of our parameters. By our nature we tend to view the world in a very detailed and narrow manner. Were this not the case, we would not be capable of spending hours looking for that penny by which our accounts are out of balance. (After all, it could be a $1,000,000 one way and $999,999.99 the other way! You just don’t know.)

Let’s understand that most communications related to job search are brief. I would also ask you to accept the fact that detailed instructions, typically out of any context, are especially hard to follow and remember.

During a 90-second elevator speech, to indicate that you are only looking within 50 miles of Stamford, Connecticut, but you would consider Westchester if it is near a major highway exit, and that New York City is a possibility as long as it isn’t too far from Grand Central Station, is going to leave me with my head spinning. Please, I am only an accountant! It also chews into your valuable time and dilutes your message.

As a bashful financial type, I would be reluctant to present a possible networking connection to you after the meeting for fear of your rejecting my suggestion. (Hey, I’m a sensitive guy!)

Although I know your plan was to clarify, the actual result was to create a barrier to our communication.

Just to highlight how silly locations issues actually are, what if I knew about a job with a base salary of $1,000,000 in Tampa? Would you consider it? Of course you would! So, to a degree your geographic restrictions are arbitrary and may not end up being conditions you are willing to “live and die for.” So, why bring them up?

The same thing is true of email messages you send out in response to job postings. Most ask you to indicate your compensation requirements. If you are going to bother responding, don’t put demands in writing that are so far over the top as to exclude you from a job you might consider under SOME circumstances.

The point is for you to leave your options open to consider any and all possibilities. You can always say no. It is enough for your listener or reader to absorb your background credentials. Don’t put obstacles in their path until AFTER they have offered you the job or at least an interview.

For those of us who adhere to “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” it may feel as if we are being a little dishonest not explaining in advance. But when it comes to job search you need to understand and appreciate that just about any detailed restrictions you stipulate in your communications MAY leave the wrong impression as to your real flexibility.

Give yourself the opportunity to consider and carefully evaluate each and every possibility that can come your way. Who knows? There may not be a barrier on your side after all. Don’t make there appear to be one from my perspective.

Regards, Matt

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