EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Talking on the phone

From our daily member newsletter on June 30, 2019

In speaking with members of The FENG over the years, it is clear that everyone would enjoy hearing a few words of wisdom on making phone calls. Of course, everyone knows how to push the buttons on the phone, but apparently not everyone is having as much fun doing it as they should. Over the years I have developed a telephone style that works for me. But regardless of your personal style, I think I can provide you with a few principles that will ring true for you as well. The first principle is knowing something about who you are calling and the second is having that person knowing why you are calling. Knowledge on both sides is helpful. For [ Read more… ]

Variations on a theme

From our daily member newsletter on June 27, 2019

For those of you who used to watch Sesame Street back in the 70’s, there was a great skit where one of the Muppets wanted a piece of pie and a glass of milk. Although there was no pie, the Muppet in need of that particular food item kept trying different variations such as a glass of water and a piece of pie, or a cup of coffee and a piece of pie, etc. Basically, nothing he tried got him a piece of pie. As is always the case, many members and many folks who advise members on the structure of their resumes are trying as many variations as the Muppets on what is by its nature a tried and [ Read more… ]

Selling The FENG

From our daily member newsletter on June 26, 2019

I need everyone’s help. No, The FENG isn’t for sale in the retailing sense. That said, it is vitally important that each us every day and in every way, make the “outside world” aware of our unique organization. I have on several occasions since the beginning of the year done a promotion to the search community. We have approximately 4,000+ registered Friends of The FENG. I always get back nice notes when I do these promotions and usually for a few weeks we see an increase in postings in our newsletter. Still, it is not enough. If you are being considered for a job through a search firm, I would ask you to direct them to our website and have [ Read more… ]

Losing a few pounds

From our daily member newsletter on June 25, 2019

I don’t know about you, but I have always wished I were a few pounds lighter. That said, no one should suggest to me that this is the reason I can’t find a job. (As long as my clothes fit.) Gray hair shouldn’t be on their list. Nor should someone suggest surgery to look better. (This one is particularly outrageous!) Additional bad advice is eliminating all references to any job you had over 15 years ago or removing your dates of graduation from college. I always pray that all of the above will be relegated to urban legend, but I continue to be proven wrong. Who are these people that dare to dish out such outrageous trash? Friends, as my [ Read more… ]

It must make sense (to them)

From our daily member newsletter on June 24, 2019

When I was in my mid 30’s, I had the great honor of being treasurer of my congregation, a job I held for 4 full years. It is probably true that I lean towards all-consuming jobs. Or, perhaps I just try to do a good job even when I am not getting paid. Nonetheless, I discovered a lot about human nature performing this often times thankless task. The congregation had a very long list of “members” who were behind in their payments. So, I set about to call all of them. Sure, I tried writing to them, but I found that the only way I got any kind of response was by picking up the phone. Most folks were very [ Read more… ]

The beginning of the rainbow

From our daily member newsletter on June 23, 2019

I know there are still a few unbelievers out there. Yes, they walk among us. Believe it or not, networking is the ticket. If you are waiting to be called and invited to the dance, think again. It isn’t going to happen. Let me suggest to you that The FENG membership database is the pot of gold at the beginning of the rainbow. I am fully aware of the fact that everyone else in the world is looking for the pot of gold at the END of the rainbow, but the networking contacts you can make through a series of searches of our database are only a beginning, and not an end in and of themselves. Our membership directory contains [ Read more… ]

The Superman syndrome

From our daily member newsletter on June 20, 2019

It has been my observation for many years that most of our members who are in their 40’s and 50’s move from large corporations to middle market ones. The reason, as I have often pointed out is that large corporations don’t hire senior executives except rarely. For good and valid reasons, they prefer to grow their own. As our members assume senior level roles at these middle market firms, their systems undergo a shock of sorts. First, the only reason middle market firms hire senior financial executives is that they have a lot of problems. They want to learn from you, which means your peers in senior management are always in your office seeking your advice. This is a good [ Read more… ]

Playing to an empty house

From our daily member newsletter on June 19, 2019

I have often wondered how actors polish their performances before the first show. With only the director and the producer in the audience it just can’t be the same. Sure you are up there on stage and perhaps even in full costume, but there is no audience clapping or talking to each other to let you know how your delivery is going. Once you have a full audience, tuning up your performance has got to be a lot easier. Changes in gestures at key moments, raising your voice, lowering your voice, all seem to get a reaction. When I am speaking to chapter meetings I sort of experience the same thing. I may have thought through what I am going [ Read more… ]

Why we share job leads

From our daily member newsletter on June 18, 2019

One of the core values of being a member of The FENG is that we share job leads. There are a lot of reasons why we do this, and it isn’t just because it is a nice thing to do. It is actually a very smart thing to do. The only problem is that it is apparently a counter-intuitive idea. So, forgive me if I am going over old ground because you are one of those members who “gets it.” Let me start you off with the idea that it is impossible to keep a secret these days about any job out in the market. If you still believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, I suppose I will [ Read more… ]

Those lazy hazy days of summer

From our daily member newsletter on June 17, 2019

As a season, summer is sure hard to beat. The days are warmer here in the Northeast. The days are also longer. No more getting up when it is pitch black and coming home when it is pitch black. (Winter is so depressing!) And, outdoor activities like sailing, tennis, and golf sure can’t be beat. The only problem with summer is the perceptual one that job search is more difficult during the summer because so many folks are on vacation. Friends, a little bit of urban legend is at work here. Unless you are planning to wait until after Labor Day to work on your networking activities, I think you are just going to have to accept the simple truth [ Read more… ]

Say what?

From our daily member newsletter on June 16, 2019

I used to be very good at multi-tasking. Now that I have gotten older, I am not as good at it. I have a lot to do every day, so when someone writes or calls I find it very helpful if they take a moment at the beginning of their communication to give me some hint how I might be most helpful to them. If I have some sense of where we are going, I am more likely to know what to listen for. I suppose it is a simple communication strategy, but it is one that is often forgotten in the normal course of human events. You see it all around you. Take resumes for example. In a normal [ Read more… ]

Stress reduction in networking

From our daily member newsletter on June 13, 2019

I suppose it is hard to believe, but those on the receiving of networking calls actually experience more stress than you do. Yes, I know that picking up that 400 pound phone isn’t easy, but neither is responding to phone calls from those who have been trained in the NFL approach to networking. (That’s where they tackle you and won’t let you up until you give them 3 names.) Is it any wonder that your phone call or visit can strike fear in their hearts? The stress comes from the fear of disappointing you and/or disappointing the friend who sent you their way by appearing not to be able to help you. If you want the process to work as [ Read more… ]

I’m smiling on the inside

From our daily member newsletter on June 12, 2019

I’m sure all of you have been to weddings and other kinds of gatherings where the host for the event has the need to say a few words. Not being great public speakers, these opportunities can be very painful or at times very funny, even when the host doesn’t intend for them to be. One of my friends was giving his obligatory welcome to his guests and something he said struck me, not as painful or funny, but as very revealing to his personality. What he said was that those of you who know me know that I am smiling on the inside. Not unlike many of the accountants and other financial folks I have known over the years, his [ Read more… ]

Can you spel?

From our daily member newsletter on June 11, 2019

Some of the notes that I get from our many learned members fill me with dismay. I often wonder, do they send notes with spelling and grammatical errors just to me, or do they provide this special service to everyone in the world? I do get a chuckle over some of them, but by and large I get concerned that the bad habits inherent in not checking their work creep over into all of the correspondence that they turn out. Some of it might even be for jobs they would give their right arms to have. It is all very easy to think that when you are writing to friends you don’t need to be “on your game.” I respectfully [ Read more… ]

Their lips are moving, but there is no information

From our daily member newsletter on June 10, 2019

There was an article in The Wall Street Journal in 2013 titled: “Didn’t Get the Job? You’ll Never Know Why” by Lauren Weber. The direct link is: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324423904578523683173841190.html and it is still available. I hope that all of you will take the time to read it. I have often said that when the answer is no, the likelihood of there being any useful information passed to you is close to zero. Lauren goes into almost all of the issues that I have discussed in editorials over the years, and I thought you would enjoy knowing that these are “truths” and not just “one man’s opinion.” Although Lauren covered the issues very well, I thought I would add an insidious aspect [ Read more… ]

The blur of 100 resumes

From our daily member newsletter on June 9, 2019

I have always had great interest in how others do their work, and more importantly how others utilized my work product. To deliver a report in person and actually observe it being used I always found to be a real learning experience. I think you will agree that most financial reports are hard to read. So many columns of small type with typically additional columns of percentages out to spurious accuracy — it is no wonder that most folks think we are nuts or worse, not good at the art of communication. If I assigned point values for readability, not many resumes I see would get a passing grade. At times it would seem that the sender is challenging me [ Read more… ]

A few counter-intuitive thoughts

From our daily member newsletter on June 6, 2019

Sharing job leads is only one of many counter-intuitive ideas that those of us who have been involved in The FENG for a period of time simply accept as the truth. As I often say, some of the ideas we have developed in The FENG take a little living with before you come to understand how they can work for you. A second area I would present for your consideration is the idea of asking for and accepting help. As you know, “guys don’t ask for directions at the gas station.” And, since most of our members are guys, this is one of the things I push from time to time in the evening editorial. Networking is frequently viewed as [ Read more… ]

Making the most of middle age

From our daily member newsletter on June 5, 2019

Looking back on my visualization of middle age when I was in my youth, I must confess the picture currently is a lot different. At the ripe old age of 72, I thought I would share a few thoughts tonight in the hopes that others would be willing to share theirs. Any editorial/notes from members contributions should be sent to Leads@TheFENG.org. Please be sure to properly label your opus – Middle Age. And, don’t send it to me. I currently have more than enough emails in my inbox that I am trying to clear. I graduated from college in 1968, went to graduate school because I was 1-A and finally got drafted in April, 1969. After two years in the [ Read more… ]

Creating a competitive advantage

From our daily member newsletter on June 2, 2019

With the number of folks competing for every available job these days, it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to “cheat” in some way to create a competitive advantage for yourself. The sad truth is that most of the approaches I see on a daily basis do exactly the opposite. The traditional resume format has your name, address, phone numbers and email address at the top. The end of the resume has your education. A summary is always nice to have at the top, just don’t use any trite phrases like “bottom line oriented,” “team player,” etc. The firms that have enjoyed the pleasure of your services should be listed in reverse chronological order with year ranges. [ Read more… ]

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