EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Almost all of the resumes I see are from members or new member applicants. In any given week, I go through a batch of 40-50 resumes.

What is surprising is how much trouble some folks go to disguising their seniority and great skills.

It is my belief and I hope to make it yours as well, that the most important thing you have to sell is your wealth of experience. There are so many things in this world that only happen once or twice a year, and most of our members have seen them anywhere from 20-40 times. Like a song you keep hearing on the radio, even if you don’t sing well, you are bound to know the words and can easily hum a few bars. Hiding this important asset of yours is generally speaking (or singing) a bad idea.

Yes, I know you are getting feedback that you are “over qualified,” but hiding your true value not only doesn’t work, it actually works against you.

Some of the approaches I have seen used include functional resumes, (which are only used by someone with something to hide), and lately more often, the leaving out of all of the jobs earlier in your career. (Like, duh, you started your first job as Chief Financial Officer.)

That which is true or not true in this world is often hard to know. Yes, your most recent 10 years of experience are what is most important, but leaving off the earliest 20 years creates a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. If you confuse me, chances are I am just going to move on to the next resume if I am looking for candidates for some job. No one has the time. And, what is worse, no one is fooled.

At some point in most of our careers we were auditors. Even if you weren’t, detecting patterns in financial data is what we do for a living. Consider that there are those out in the world who read resumes for a living. Trust me, after reviewing over 100,000 candidates for membership in The FENG since 1997, the patterns are obvious. Reading between the lines isn’t difficult.

There are certainly issues that you need to address in your resume. Since most members move from large firms to small ones, I would suggest that appearing to be “hands on” is important. This is accomplished, not by diminishing your titles, but rather by citing hands on activities. These can perhaps be things you have done recently on a consulting basis.

You can make your resume work for you or against you. The choice is yours. The product we sell of “been there, done that” is compelling if presented properly. Why would any employer want to pay for someone to learn on the job when they can find someone already trained? (Some questions don’t really have rational answers.)

There is a lot of prejudice out there in “the world.” Don’t be a part of it. If you believe that you can bring value, don’t hide it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

(I used to be modest, but it actually is more fun being boastful.)

Regards, Matt

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