If there is anything that typically jumps out at me when we have our meetings here in Connecticut it is the need for us financial folks to be completely honest, even in our assessments of ourselves. When our senior members provide their job hunting tips they usually end them with “but of course I’m still here.” (As if we didn’t notice.)
However, interviews and 90 second announcements are no time for an extensive evaluation of why you lost your last job. For the most part in our fast changing world, there may not even be a need to explain it at all, let alone in depth. What everyone is interested in hearing is why they should be talking to you. What are your strengths and how can you solve their problems?
It is very important at these times to have an explanation that satisfies the interviewer or your audience of the moment, (if they ask and only if they ask) but it is no time to dwell on this issue because time is limited. So, make sure your response is truthful, but no longer than necessary. (As I always say at our meetings: “We don’t have to know why you left your last job unless you were arrested AND convicted, and then you probably wouldn’t tell us anyway!”)
The purpose of meetings is to project your value as a potential employee or networking contact, so make your presentation sound like you are a winner! (To quote George S. Patton, Jr. about why America has never, and will never, lose a war: “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.”)
Talk about your achievements in clear and concise terms. Keep in mind that this is more like a TV commercial than it is an instruction manual about you. All the details aren’t really important, and you don’t have to provide complete documentation. There isn’t time anyway.
Speech is the slowest form of communication. Even more important than good writing skills is the need to be well spoken at these times. You may be a brilliant CFO or Controller, but if you don’t sound like one, no one will know the truth.
We all have different skill sets, educational backgrounds and work experiences. This is why different folks get selected for some jobs, but not others.
Think of what your strengths are and decide on the best order in which to present them. Don’t fall back to your accounting mindset and present them in chronological order. Present them in their order of importance!
Projecting a winning image is just as important on the telephone as it is in person. If you find you have difficulty projecting on the telephone, try standing up and walking around with the phone.
Remember: If you weren’t a winner you wouldn’t have been invited to join The Financial Executives Networking Group.