EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

10 seconds or less

From our daily member newsletter on August 20, 2018

Based on the resumes I see on a daily basis, I am not sure there is full appreciation for the amount of time any reviewer gives to your carefully crafted opus. The sad truth is that unless the information presented has a clarity greater than the other documents in that stack of 100-500, it can easily be passed over even though you MAY be the most qualified person in the pile. Think long and hard about any of the speed reading that you do starting with the morning newspaper. I sometimes feel sorry for the reporters who have slaved over the stories I skip because I have been unable to find even one word of interest to jump up and [ Read more… ]

A simple framework

From our daily member newsletter on August 8, 2018

I’m not sure why people go their own way, but the standard resume framework is very much the “gold” standard. If you accept the idea that most resumes only get 10 seconds, I think you can begin to appreciate why straying from the traditional structure can get you into trouble. Of course your contact information needs to be at the top. This includes a home address, telephone numbers where you can be reached and your email address. If you are going to worry about being called at the office, I would only suggest that you should be so lucky. When someone wants to reach you, you want to be reachable. I believe the old saw is that opportunity only knocks [ Read more… ]

A standard communication device

From our daily member newsletter on May 29, 2018

The resume has a long and established history in our country, and while from time to time I see “variations on the theme,” the standard resume format is the one I always recommend. I would hope that all of us have lamented as Chief Financial Officers about our crazy vendors. Why can’t everyone who billed our firms, at least those from the same industry, take the time to come up with a standard format so our staff would know where to look for invoice numbers and balances due? If only they did. Alas, they don’t. Much the same story is true about the resumes I see on a daily basis. For the most part they revolve around a few themes, [ Read more… ]

Your most recent 10 years

From our daily member newsletter on April 29, 2018

While from time to time I silently wish to myself that many of our members would take the time to read a good book about how to write a resume, I find that other members have read a book or an article, but they have either read the wrong book or have misunderstood what the author was trying to communicate. It is certainly true that the primary focus in your resume should be your most recent 10 years of experience. It is not true that there is NO interest in what you were doing before 2008, or for that matter during the last century. (Makes you sound a lot older, doesn’t it?) I see resumes all the time now where [ Read more… ]

A few left over parts

From our daily member newsletter on March 28, 2018

When I was growing up, my father was a plumbing contractor and I had the great experience of working with him weekends and summers from my early teens until I graduated from college. The test we used to determine whether or not we had correctly completed a complicated installation was whether or not we had any left over parts. (We usually read the instructions as we were driving away from the job.) Please know that a lot of mechanics use the same technique when they work on your car. Left over parts are a type of profit if you can use them for something else. (Hopefully, none of them are critical to the functioning of whatever they were left over [ Read more… ]

What have you accomplished?

From our daily member newsletter on February 20, 2018

I hope that over the past few days everyone has gotten a few ideas for the framework of their resume. In order to “get into the game,” you need to have a clean looking resume with the major points discussed in the past few days “looking good.” Now that your resume has been selected for further examination, what you write in your accomplishments or bullet points can make the difference between your being picked or discarded in this final round. The issues you develop for this section can take a lot of forms, and I don’t have a strong preference. All I can say for sure is that they all need to be well written with no typographical errors. While [ Read more… ]

The 80/20 rule

From our daily member newsletter on February 19, 2018

I have always been a keen observer of managers. One of my favorites was a gentleman who worked at the Thomson Corporation in a senior financial role. He was one of those tall wiry types who always seemed to be in motion even when he was standing still. Sort of like your favorite basketball coach. (He also talked loud most of the time like he was trying to be heard over a crowd. But, I digress.) Anyway, one of my favorite discussions he held was at a meeting shortly after I met him when he discoursed at length on the good old 80/20 rule. (He also talked about giving him a 20,000 foot review of your areas of responsibility, but [ Read more… ]

The tried and true

From our daily member newsletter on February 18, 2018

You would think that with all the books and materials written about how to write a resume, that each and every one that came across my desk would be close to perfect. Well, you would be wrong if you thought so. Under the heading of “explaining the meaning and purpose of life,” I thought I would write about the how’s and why’s of resume writing to perhaps explain the unexplainable to those who have, through no fault of their own, “strayed from the path.” Let me start with a few simple ideas. Although a resume appears to be a reverse chronological recital of your work history, it is actually a selling document. One point of particular importance is that it [ Read more… ]

At a glance

From our daily member newsletter on January 31, 2018

There is a rumor out in the world that the attention span of your “average American” is getting shorter. Sad to say, but most likely very true. We see it all around us. So many things are screaming for our attention on a given day. Before the advent of computers it was quite a bit harder to respond to job postings. The gold standard was a personally written letter, and how many could a person crank out in a single day? I type 90 words a minute, and when I was in the Army I was fortunate to be in a clerical position where I had my very own typewriter. Still, I couldn’t write very many letters in a single [ Read more… ]

A gap or a cover-up?

From our daily member newsletter on January 30, 2018

Time goes by fast when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? And what greater fun is there than conducting a job search? Okay, it may not be as much fun as it appears to be to those looking in from the outside. But still, you can’t beat those lunches and phone calls with old friends, not to mention all the strangers who are strangers no longer. Unfortunately as the weeks and months go by that old standby on your resume of “2010 to present” rings less and less true, and “2010 to 2016” looks even worse. There are many issues to consider in solving this time problem on your resume. The first is that financial folks generally speaking have great difficulty [ Read more… ]

E I E I O

From our daily member newsletter on January 21, 2018

I suppose I could be wrong about all of this, but I find the use of “, MBA” as part of your name to be a bad idea. Yes, I know that not everyone has an MBA, but in my opinion unless you are a CPA or a Ph.D., you need to exercise a little caution in the initials you place after your name. My sister sells commercial insurance and as I understand it, every time you take a test of some sort you get another set of initials you can use after your name. At meetings where you might be introduced, they read your name and ALL of your initials which everyone at these gatherings of fellow insurance folks [ Read more… ]

Let’s keep it a secret

From our daily member newsletter on January 9, 2018

Any more than someone would write “Please Broadcast Widely” at the top of their resume, putting “Confidential” is just as silly in many ways. I’m sure that this is written up somewhere as the appropriate thing to do, so I am not faulting anyone who does it, but it really is unnecessary. It is just as silly to not show your current employer and to put in something like “Major Manufacturer.” It is unfortunate, but those doing search these days have even less time for mysteries than those who were doing it before the Great Recession set in. The volume of email and paperwork that crosses one’s desk today is beyond belief. If you want to get yourself excluded from [ Read more… ]

Putting your best foot forward

From our daily member newsletter on January 8, 2018

The development of a resume can be a long and involved process. There are so many ideas that others have to share with you, and each person with whom you speak has their own perspective about what is right and what is wrong. Your resume is also in part an historical document charged with chronicling your career from formal education through most recent work assignment. Some of the nonsense, misapplied these days, centers on the idea that only the most recent 10 years are of interest to the reader. True, but that doesn’t mean leave off everything earlier. The formatting and shaping of a resume is so much easier today than it was back in 1991 when I faced my [ Read more… ]

Please, give me a hint

From our daily member newsletter on November 14, 2017

Every once in a while I get an assignment for The FECG that draws more than its fair share of attention. I think our all time high a few years ago was an assignment that drew 225 responses. However, even when you get an assignment that draws more than say 40 responses, it can get a little difficult to see the forest for the trees. And, with all that talent to choose from, those who provide the clearest presentation of their credentials are the ones we are most likely to send to our client for consideration. To be very honest, it’s hard to justify forcing our client to “read between the lines” when you have so many better submissions. Here [ Read more… ]

The hobgoblin of consistency

From our daily member newsletter on October 9, 2017

As many of you know, I have a variety of backgrounds. I was not only in the publishing business for 10 years, I was also in the advertising business for 9 years. Communication, or the assumption that it has taken place, is at the core of most of the problems in this world. (Okay, there are probably others, but that would take away from the points I am going to try to make tonight.) Anyway, when an underpaid overworked and groggy screener is placed in front of a pile of 500 resumes and asked to pull out 20 good ones, how much time do you think they actually get to spend on each one? Yes, I am sure they will [ Read more… ]

No one has time for mysteries

From our daily member newsletter on October 4, 2017

At one time many years ago I had a lot of time for reading. I picked up an Agatha Christy novel and I was hooked. Over the next several months I believe I read just about everything she had written up to that point. I know that when we moved, I had quite a box of books. Trying to pick up the clues was sure entertaining. There are other fine authors out there that I have indulged in from time to time, but lately the mystery writing on which I spend the most time is confined to the resumes I get from new member applicants. I am not really sure why they feel the need, but they usually begin creating [ Read more… ]

A clear piece of communication

From our daily member newsletter on August 22, 2017

It isn’t often that I get a great resume, but I got one today. I guess I wasn’t surprised given who sent it to me. Although it was three pages, it was still crisp and concise. Perhaps it could have been shaved down to two pages, but it really didn’t bother me that it was a little longer than the “standard.” Here are a few of the things that made it near perfection: 1. It had a well written summary. There were no fluff words like “dynamic” or “born leader,” only prose that served to highlight the accomplishments that followed. 2. The names of all of the firms at which he worked appeared at the beginning of each section in [ Read more… ]

Give yourself a break

From our daily member newsletter on August 13, 2017

Back in 1991-1992 I was unemployed. Yes, two full years. Honestly, cash was starting to get a little tight. But more importantly, although I had a lot of free time, it was hard to enjoy it. Money, and the prospect of more, tends to focus the “let’s have some fun” part of our brains, whereas the “I don’t know if I will survive this” mindset prevents us from really enjoying our “time off” to any great degree. However, as one of my friends once said, “No one is out of work forever, it just seems that way.” Chances are those last few months in that Heck Hole you refer to as your most recent job were more than a little [ Read more… ]

Are you serious in applying?

From our daily member newsletter on August 1, 2017

Let’s be honest. There aren’t a lot of job postings in our evening newsletter that really are a fit for your particular background, salary and location preferences. This being the case, you would think that if you saw an opportunity in our newsletter that strongly fit your background, you would take the time to do it right. Let me first suggest to you that there simply is no excuse to having a resume that isn’t well done. With all the books that have been written on the topic of resumes, yours needs to be as close to perfect as it can be. There are several popular approaches that I think are wrong. One is to leave off your home address. [ Read more… ]

Call me a compulsive

From our daily member newsletter on July 20, 2017

Over the course of any given week I have the great honor of reviewing well over 100 resumes. Honestly, no one should be allowed to have this much fun. As I page through the many approaches to presenting one’s credentials, I am frequently dismayed by the way that some of the most important information is presented. Let me start by saying that I hate most abbreviations. The reason is quite simple. I usually have to stop and puzzle through what the abbreviation means in this context. I am sure the author was quite clear, but I am often left scratching my head. I would rank educational credentials of great importance and I hope you do too. I don’t know if [ Read more… ]

Don’t be lazy

From our daily member newsletter on July 17, 2017

During June I was preparing our sailboat for our annual two week trip. I take pretty good care of my boats, but still, there is always a maintenance list. This year, as is my practice, I went through each and every locker, removed everything and went through it item by item to see if I really needed it. It was a big job, but I am always amazed and astounded with the stuff I find. (Why did I buy that?) It is easy to be lazy about things in your life. Since The FENG is about job search, I’ll focus for a minute on your resume. I figure most people practice their 90-second announcement a lot and since it is [ Read more… ]

A sharp pencil

From our daily member newsletter on July 13, 2017

There is no more powerful tool than a sharp pencil. (The only exception to this rule is the membership directory of The FENG as accessed by our Member Directory Search feature.) I long ago declared war on unnecessary words. Why? Because they are unnecessary. The normal space allotment for a resume is two pages. Okay, if you have to go to three I might be able to live with it, but generally two is the limit. It is not much space to describe the accomplishments of a lifetime, but you are making a mistake if you think it is necessary to describe each and every thing you have done. If you are as old as the hills (or dirt itself) [ Read more… ]

No right answers

From our daily member newsletter on July 11, 2017

As a part of my frequent “joys of sailing” ideas, I thought I would talk about docks around Long Island Sound. Although one can drag anchor, one rarely drags dock. (A little sailing joke for you.) Sure, it is a rather arcane topic, but hopefully it is one that you can use to amaze and astound your friends. You would think that docking arrangements everywhere would be pretty much the same. After all, you have a boat, you have water, and you need to tie it up for the night. Well, you would be very wrong. The truth is that just about every place you go is a little different. Some marinas have pilings you have to snag on your [ Read more… ]

Attention to detail

From our daily member newsletter on July 10, 2017

I am at all times amazed and astounded at the lack of attention to detail by the many members who write to me. There are so many things that are easy to do, that no one seems to do. Let me start with my primary concern (and one I write about constantly), the lack of outgoing signatures. Incredibly, some emails I get aren’t even signed. A proper outgoing signature contains your name, address, phone numbers and email address. Adding one is so simple that it doesn’t bear explaining. If you aren’t using one, just click “Help” and search for outgoing signature. If you are wondering why no one is writing back, that’s why. Is your name Pat, or Leslie? You [ Read more… ]

Birds of a feather

From our daily member newsletter on June 27, 2017

We are fortunate in the financial professions to be blessed with a very high degree of transferable skills. Still, the next job for most of us isn’t going to be all that much different from our last one. While it is certainly possible that we will change industries, it is less likely that we will change the skill sets needed in our day to day work. What typically happens in any recession is that certain industries take a downward turn and many of the folks in those industries lose their jobs. It used to be that this was limited to old line industries, but as we have seen in recent years, it can even affect the stars of just last [ Read more… ]

What do companies want?

From our daily member newsletter on June 26, 2017

  I have written on many occasions about how to structure your resume. I have also written about bringing your resume through stages of development. Like any selling document it is essential that you keep it growing and fresh. Going through the birth pangs of building your resume can often feel like you are taking out your own appendix without the benefit of anesthetic. (Actually, it is a little more painful.) Still, without this important document looking its best you are going to be hard pressed to be selected out of a batch of 200+ resumes. After you have the framework easy to read (there are model resumes out on our website), and you have polished the prose, the next [ Read more… ]

Selling from an empty wagon

From our daily member newsletter on June 21, 2017

I often get the feeling listening to members of The FENG that they feel like they are selling from an empty wagon. Friends, it just isn’t true. What triggered tonight’s editorial was a few comments I got from one of our members about the issue of dates for your college degrees. The “product” you need to always be selling is your wealth of experience. Everyone doesn’t want the product, but those that do are willing to pay for it. In classic marketing terms, if you try to sell a product based on attributes it doesn’t have, it is considered an over promise. You are a lot better off presenting a realistic picture. We have all seen ads for the airlines [ Read more… ]

Catch me if you can

From our daily member newsletter on June 8, 2017

Several years ago, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks starred in a movie about Frank Abagnale Jr. who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor. The basic story is that over the course of several years, Carl Hanratty, played by Tom Hanks tracks down Frank Abagnale played by Leonardo DiCaprio. I often feel like Carl Hanratty, only in my case, I am trying to track down members of The FENG. As Chairman of The FENG, I often feel that I could easily become a detective at this point in my life given the skills I have acquired. I can’t believe how frequently during the day I get [ Read more… ]

Help, I’m trapped in a nut shell!

From our daily member newsletter on May 18, 2017

There is no greater challenge in this world than summing yourself up in 90 seconds or writing a proper summary for your resume. As many of you know, I was CFO of an advertising agency in the 1980’s. Initially, I used to wonder why the creative folks got paid so well. As I got more and more into who we were and what we did, it became a little more obvious how difficult it was to create the essence of a product or service in a 30 second commercial or in a print ad. Here you are a product and/or service with 20+ years of work experience. There are so many delightful aspects to who you are and what you [ Read more… ]

Everything is a story about you

From our daily member newsletter on May 17, 2017

I always find it interesting what people say about themselves. Those who deal in hiring decisions have so many hidden tools in their arsenal. I suppose the obvious manifestations of who you are come across in the body of your resume and, of course, in your 90-second announcement. What those who know how to read between the lines do next is to listen and/or read every single other word or words you say about yourself to determine who you are and how you might fit into their organization. There is a section at the bottom of many resumes that I will focus on tonight where folks really “go to heck” with themselves because they are not thinking about the context [ Read more… ]

Asking for and accepting help

From our daily member newsletter on May 15, 2017

In our male dominated society called The FENG, one of the biggest challenges I face on a daily basis is getting members to ask for and accept help. I am sure we all know that traditionally guys don’t ask for directions at the gas station. It is much better to drive around and around totally lost. (Thank goodness for GPS, we don’t have that issue to face anymore. Although, since most GPS units have a female voice, we seem to be more comfortable taking directions from women these days, but I digress.) We have a lot of very fine traditions in The FENG. While all of us would prefer to be on the giving end of favors (kind of a [ Read more… ]

Can you spel?

From our daily member newsletter on May 11, 2017

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… ]

Outgoing signatures (yes, again)

From our daily member newsletter on May 10, 2017

Of course it would be an understatement to tell you that I believe in the value of a FULL outgoing signature. In much the same way that I am a Fanantic FENG’er, I am also a fanatic when it comes to the substance and format of outgoing signatures. (Persnickety is another word.) I try not to beat the drum about what is or is not a FULL outgoing signature more than once or twice a week in our evening newsletter, but that’s just an honorable mention. Tonight, the ENTIRE editorial is on this important topic. Part of my “evil” plan to have all members of The FENG use an outgoing signature is that I check ALL of them against our [ Read more… ]

Are you over qualified?

From our daily member newsletter on May 3, 2017

I’m sure tonight’s topic will generate a lot of comments. Those of you who would like to join in on this discussion are invited to send your comments to Leads@TheFENG.org. The short answer to the question of the moment is: I hope so! If you weren’t, I’m not really sure how you were added to our membership. Our entire organization is filled with well qualified individuals who can do just about any job they would like to take. That said the primary focus of tonight’s editorial is for our members who are much older. Let’s say 55-60 plus. When you are interviewed for a possible work opportunity, please understand that the comments made by the interviewer are often a sincere [ Read more… ]

Maintaining your focus

From our daily member newsletter on April 27, 2017

Life is made up of a lot of endless details. And, as financial people, the endless details are where we shine. I have said from time to time that eating an elephant is best done one bite at a time. (Mustard would probably also be a good idea.) Most tasks, no matter how enormous they may seem at the time, are actually finite in nature. By finite, I mean to say that if we work on them in our usual diligent manner, at some point they are finished. The approach I take to planning is based on the recognition that there are 1 day plans, 1 week plans, 1 month plans, 3 month plans and 1 year plans. There are [ Read more… ]

An executive of true mystery

From our daily member newsletter on April 26, 2017

I am always amazed and astounded how frequently the resumes I see are missing vital information. What I am not clear about is WHY the individual in question thinks that leaving off important data will benefit him or her. Let me start at the top of the list and mention missing home addresses. Yes, hard to believe, but some job seekers are apparently living in their cars. And to add to the impression that they are homeless, some of these resumes don’t even have a phone number or email address. (I’m not sure how you are supposed to reach them.) I suppose the theory is that if you don’t tell them where you live and you are applying for a [ Read more… ]

25 words or less

From our daily member newsletter on April 17, 2017

The resume format is sure constraining. If only the world was willing to listen to us rattle on. Unfortunately, they aren’t. The “standard” acceptable resume format is either two or three pages. Anything more tells the reader that you don’t know how to communicate. Perhaps I should also mention that narrow margins and smaller fonts are not the solution. If you want anyone to be able to absorb that opus of yours in the 15 seconds they allot to reading it, I would suggest that you take out a very sharp electronic pencil and have at it. As the sign in the restaurant says: Good food takes time. Yours will be ready in a minute. Good writing and good communication [ Read more… ]

The ability to communicate

From our daily member newsletter on April 9, 2017

The changes that have taken place in the past 15 years in our ability to communicate are truly remarkable. What with personal computers, email, cell phones, voice mail, iPads and iPhones you can use just about from anywhere, you would think that those of us engaged in business pursuits would make the effort to master all of these many technologies, or in true managerial fashion, find someone who could set them up for us. But, you would be wrong. Hard to know where to start, but let me begin with email, my own personal favorite communication tool. Do you think it is possible that there are people out there who don’t know that there is a shift key? It must [ Read more… ]

Individual responsibility

From our daily member newsletter on April 5, 2017

One of the themes that I like to present from time to time is the idea that each of us can make a difference. For those of us who live in these United States, it is all very easy to fall into the accepted American concept that everything in this world is actually someone else’s fault. Hence we have the tendency in this country to sue anyone and everyone who might have wronged us. It has created a nice living for the contingency lawyers in this country, but has done little for the American sense of pride and individual responsibility for ourselves and others. Here in our little society we call The FENG we have a unique opportunity to do [ Read more… ]

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