EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Staples, the office supply company, had an “Easy Button” that they sold in their stores several years ago. (I think they still carry it.) I worked on an assignment for Staples a few years ago and although we didn’t place anyone with them, their Human Resources contact sent me an Easy Button as a gift. (WOW!)

The TV commercial they ran at the time featured people in various difficult work situations lifting up a cover plate and finding an “Easy Button.” Apparently, whatever the task, this easy button got the job done for you. Since I have had one on my desk, I have found it really does work! (Yeah, right.)

Now, if only they could invent an “Easy Button” for job search.

Alas, I’m afraid that this is one of those tasks that you can only do for yourself. I know that there are lots of folks out there who wish there was an Easy Button, because just about every other week I get a question about one of the “Career Marketing” firms and whether or not they are worth all the money they charge. (The short answer is NO. The longer answer is ABSOLUTELY NO. And, the even longer answer is: You’re kidding, right?)

The reason is that although others can facilitate the process for you, no one can actually write your resume for you and no one can prepare a proper 90-second announcement for you unless you have already done 90% of the work. And, you will do a lot better with whoever is working with you if you have done 95% of the work.

The marketing of our skills is a difficult task. If it were easy, all of you would have high paying jobs and probably there would be no organization called The FENG. One of our many goals in The FENG is to make you “as good as you can be,” or more correctly to be perceived as good as you actually are. (To steal a slogan from an old Army advertising campaign.)

As I read through the resumes of our members, and I have read all of your applications personally, I can’t help but marvel at all the things you have done in your careers, although I must confess that I usually have to read between the lines a bit.

I know I am not alone in seeing the value in each of you. I hear it from those members of the search community who post opportunities with our members and they consistently rave about the fine individuals they meet from our organization. I have also met many of you personally at chapter meetings, and in person you are generally even better than your resumes.

And therein lies the problem — how to make each of you even better at how you present yourselves? The answer is simple. Pick a partner or several partners and as they used to say in swimming class “buddy up.” It is an unfortunate fact of biology that most men, and The FENG is 90% male, do not take kindly to unsolicited advice. I hope that all of you as members of this august body will keep your natural tendencies to reject “helpful hints” in mind.

Job search has no “Easy Button.” It is a lot of hard work, and you have to do most of it yourself. That said, if you “behave yourself” and let others (and not all of them have to be in The FENG) participate in your job search campaign, you will do a lot better. Sometimes just being able to talk out what you are thinking brings it all into focus.

As I have gotten older, I find myself saying more and more when others make suggestions: Now why didn’t I think of that?

If there is any “Easy Button” you could push, this would be it. The simple act of being open to suggestions can go a long way. (It’s always good to have an Easy Button.)

Regards, Matt

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