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Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:35 AM

Résumé Tips For CEOs, Board Members

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Finding a CEO these days appears to be much more difficult than in the past. For example, Bank of America was forced to expand its search to include those living in New York. Shocking!

Please consider the Bloomberg article Bank of America’s Next Chief May Be Based in New York

Bank of America Corp. broadened its search for a chief executive officer to include candidates who want to live in New York, acknowledging the bank’s biggest units are no longer based in its home of Charlotte, North Carolina, people familiar with the matter said.

The board, led by Chairman Walter Massey, is also concerned there may not be a deep enough pool of qualified candidates willing to move to Charlotte, 330 miles south of Washington, the people said, speaking anonymously because the search is private. CEO Kenneth Lewis, who is stepping down at year’s end, has said Charlotte will remain headquarters as long as he’s in charge.

“It does reflect well on the board that they’re not going to let the headquarters location limit their selection in terms of CEOs,” said Thomas Brown, CEO of New York-based hedge fund Second Curve Capital. “There aren’t too many people around the world who think that Charlotte is a major financial center.”

Five board members with ties to Charlotte have stepped down during the past two years, and none of their replacements lives in the city, the state’s largest. New directors live in Alabama, Delaware, New York, Ohio, Texas and Virginia. Lewis, 62, is the only North Carolina resident.
AIG CEO Threatens To Quit

Inquiring minds note that the CEO woes extend beyond Bank of America. Please consider AIG’s Benmosche Said to Tell Board He May Step Down
American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche told the insurer’s board of directors that he may quit because of government limits on what the company can pay employees, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Benmosche made the comments at a board meeting last week, about three months after joining the company, said the person, who declined to be identified because the meeting was private.
Back To The Basics

Let's get back to the basics. Clearly the boards of directors want exactly the right talent. The same thing is happening for mainstream America as noted in Over 65 And Needing A Job; Interview Tips For Everyone
“Cover Letters can make a big difference,” said Hal Hamil Jr., 56, unemployed since August, but before then, a senior vice president of PNC Bank making $130,000 a year. Mr. Hamil said that last March he posted three openings for tellers paying $10 an hour and got 1,008 applications. “I hired two of them because of their cover letters,” he said.
Appropriate Cover Letters

CEO and board seekers have had it so easy over the past 10 years they forgot the necessary skill of writing appropriate cover letters. Moreover those cover letters need to be tailored for the exact position being sought.

For example, "Tin Hat", a poster on this very blog, listed a sample cover letter for someone seeking that AIG position, should it open up:
Dear AIG,

I am highly qualified for the position of AIG Chief Executive given that I possess all the skills necessary to lay waste of what's left of AIG.

I have no conscience, guilt or remorse. I am able to extort money from taxpayers and Congress by convincing them I do God's work. I am very skilled at making numbers fuzzier, covering up losses and generating bonuses so large even a blank check would blush. I have no concern for leverage, torch bearing mobs, Congress or President Obama.

I'm convinced that together, we can squeeze the middle class so successfully, they would be envious of the Haitian life style. I am looking forward to discussing this personally profitable opportunity with you soon.


AIG Candidate
Clearly that is an extremely powerful cover letter. It is tailored specifically to AIG and lists all the skills required to run any large financial corporation these days.

The only thing lacking is a connection to Goldman Sachs or Tim Geithner. That could be a problem. Otherwise it is perfect. Also note how easy that sample cover letter would be to modify. A few simple changes and the cover letter would be entirely suitable for would be seekers of CEO or board member at Bank of America.

"Tin Hat" and I are both proud to do our part to help out in these trying times. Would be CEOs, all you need to do on your part is to get your cover letters in order.

Let's get America hiring again, the right talent for the right job. It all starts with an appropriate cover letter attached to your résumé.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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