EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

If there is any one thing that is consistent among senior executives who are in the job market for the first time in many years, it is their inability to distinguish between good and bad advice.

The simple story is that if you hear it from me, Marty Latman or Bruce Lynn it is good advice. If you hear it from someone else, please exercise a little common sense. (Just kidding. I would ask you to apply common sense to the things we suggest as well. They may not be right for you.)

Stop me if I am wrong, but none of you were born yesterday. To become a member of our little circle of friends you generally have to have at least 20 years of work experience. I hope that in addition to skill sets appropriate to our profession that you have also acquired a healthy skepticism.

My guess is that you have been on the other side of the desk and have reviewed candidates for opportunities on your staff. Just because you are now one of those folks they call “Job Seekers,” try not to get stupid on me.

Let’s think for a minute how you acquired all the knowledge you have between those two ears of yours. Some of it came from formal education. Some of it came from doing a little reading on your own. And, some of it came from talking to other people.

My suggestion is to apply these same techniques to your job search.

First, do a little reading. There are lots of books out on the market about job search. My personal favorite is John Lucht’s Rites of Passage (available at bookstores in your neighborhood). At 750 pages, it covers a lot of ground and some of the information may not be appropriate to where you are in your career or important to you at the moment. At this point, it may also be a little dated. John died several years ago. Still, it is a very good place to start. Pick up at least one other book and read it cover to cover.

The next step is to talk to everyone you can and actually listen to their advice. The big guy above gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Now, I didn’t say act on all the advice you get, I just said listen to it.

Advice is raw intelligence. It has to be analyzed and absorbed before any dramatic actions take place on your part.

Most people are seeking quick fixes to their job searches. Unfortunately, there are no silver bullets you can fire or magic wands you can wave so that “presto” you have another job. Job search is a lot of hard work and small steps.

What you are setting out to do is to build a PERMANENT mental machine for thinking about your skills and how they can be applied to the many problems in the world. Our mantra in The FENG is that you haven’t landed and you aren’t employed – You are just between searches. All jobs are temporary. Just look at your own resume.

While one can seek out information from others, building up what makes sense for you can only be done by you. It is a long term process.

If you talk to enough people and take the time to consider what they say, you will actually find you have the ability to control your own future. You may even be able to distinguish between good and bad advice.

Regards, Matt

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