EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

A jack of all trades, a master of none.

In the world of CFO’s, Controllers and Treasurers, the primary skill sets of members of The FENG, it is certainly true that we can probably do anything. Still, at this stage of our careers the likelihood of anyone considering us to do “anything” is remote at best.

The world seeks experts. And, in your own way each of you is an expert at something.

The statement “I am just like everyone else” is rarely true. As I talk to members about their careers, with careful questioning I can get them to tell me their industry and skill set. Sad to say, it is usually more like pulling teeth than an easy conversation.

I know there is that fear in the back of everyone’s mind that they will miss out on some opportunity by slanting their resume in such a way that their background is in too sharp a focus. The only way that this is ever true is when jargon and abbreviations of things unique to your industry or skill set are used instead of carefully drawn descriptions.

The average reader needs to be able to understand what you do. However, that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate all sense of the importance and significance of what it is you do that brings out your highest value.

I was in the advertising and publishing businesses equal amounts of time during my career. There is a tremendous overlap in these two industries in terms of their dependence on intellectual property and in terms of managing the talented folks who make these businesses happen. This is what I do and what I do best. In a sense, the consulting practice I have requires many of the same talents I acquired over the years in getting the best out of very senior and highly paid individuals.

Your area of expertise may be real estate, insurance or banking. Or, it may be Internal Audit or Treasury. However you define your area of expertise, that is what you have to sell.

The moment you try to generalize to ensure you won’t miss out on any possibilities is the day you end up missing out on most of them. To be all things to all people is to be nothing to anyone.

Keep your focus sharp, but make it understandable and you will be well on your way to finding situations that fit you like a glove.

Regards, Matt

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