Linkedin Profiles & CFOs

Fast Company recently posted an informative article on what recruiters prefer to see in a Linkedin profile. It is good advice, and you can read it here. I thought I would add my two cents, aimed specifically at CFOs, to the information.

– Keep Your Profile Current

It is so easy to “forget” about Linkedin when you are not in job search mode. The reality is that recruiters are always looking for top-quality passive candidates and one of their sourcing methods is Linkedin. Keeping your profile current so you can be found, and your contributions as a problem-solving CFO are front and center, is a commendable career management strategy.

– What Constitutes a Headline?

It isn’t your current or most recent job title. The moment we identify by job title rather than value to a prospective company, we begin to lose important positioning.

Think about what entices or intrigues you to actually read an article or a post beyond skimming “headlines.” That same methodology applies to recruiters, while simultaneously differentiating you from the competition.

Honing in on how you are different from your competitors and how you have (and do) deliver value is the beginning of an effective headline.

– Your Profile Might be your Home on the Web

And if it is, it is NOT the same as your resume. Nor should it be a mere recitation of duties and responsibilities held throughout your career. Your “home on the web” is best utilized by creating an authentic and cohesive value-story that begins with your headline and ends with contributions delivered throughout your career, including any hobbies or personal interests that further or solidify your value positioning. Culture fit is the most challenging piece of the hiring process, so your ability to showcase fit-for-culture will only enhance your appeal.

If you need help crafting your value positioning on and off the web, let’s talk. You can reach me at Cindy@CFO-Coach.com or 813-655-0658.

Copyright CFO-Coach 2017

***********************

Cindy Kraft is the CFO-Coach and America’s leading Career & Personal Brand Strategist for Corporate Finance Executives helping clients understand their marketability, articulate their value, and position themselves as the clear and compelling choice. She is a Certified Reach Personal Brand Strategist, Certified Reach Online Identity Strategist, Certified Career Management Coach, Credentialed Career Master, Certified Professional Resume Writer, and Job & Career Transition Coach. Cindy can be reached via email Cindy@CFO-Coach.com, by phone 813-655-0658, or through her website at www.CFO-Coach.com.

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Posted in Branding, Career Information, CFO Careers, Coaching Tips, Current Affairs, Recruiters | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Burning Bridges Can Burn You

You know the importance of not burning bridges when things go sour at work and you end up losing your job. But in the heat of the moment, and being human, we might just forget that critically important head knowledge and react rather than respond.

It’s not always easy to leave on good terms, especially when you’ve been wronged. However, there is leaving with hard feelings, which can be understood, and leaving by throwing a grenade behind you and completely charring anything and everything behind you.

A few weeks ago there was just such a moment in my Linkedin newsfeed. This gentleman, obviously hurt and angry, took his emotional reaction one step further by publicly eviscerating his boss, and then stating that he was looking for a new position within a specific geographic region.

In this age of social media, you just know this is going to go south for him quite rapidly. In fact, it is no doubt already there. The world is a very small place, made smaller by geography and industry. The scathing words posted on a public forum can, and no doubt will, be found by those within the search community. And, it is almost impossible to “take them back.” And what was said and how it was said speak volumes about who this person is.

Here are a couple suggestions so you don’t end up in the heat of the moment saying or doing something that you will ultimately regret. And let’s not forget the unforgiving press releases that are circulated on social media when a CFO does lose his position, because somebody has to take the fall.

Maintain control by being proactive

Losing control is never fun. If you wait until you need a job before you position yourself to get that next opportunity, you are not in control. Rather, you are at the mercy of companies and recruiters and the entire train wreck that constitutes the job search process.

Long before you need a job or want a new position, with “long” being defined as 9-12 months, begin positioning yourself for that new position. You are much more desirable as a candidate when you have value but don’t need a job than you are when you are unemployed and in need. You can always say no to an opportunity. But you want those opportunities coming your way even while gainfully employed so that you maintain control of your career.

Find a non-public outlet for your emotional roller coaster

This goes beyond just the immediate reaction of losing your position. It carries right into the interview process. Even if you are using all the right words, any anger or feelings of injustice can slip through in your tone and your body language.

If you can leave on good terms, great. If you can’t, practice telling your story, honestly and truthfully, free from any lingering hostile emotions until you can do talk about what happened without any negativity in your delivery and body language. It is not easy, but it is necessary. Having the exact right opportunity within reach only to lose it to lingering negativity would only add more fuel to the anger.

Give me a call if you need help with value positioning or working through how to talk about your last employment situation or anything else related to the frustrating job search process.

Copyright CFO-Coach 2017

***********************

Cindy Kraft is the CFO-Coach and America’s leading Career & Personal Brand Strategist for Corporate Finance Executives helping clients understand their marketability, articulate their value, and position themselves as the clear and compelling choice. She is a Certified Reach Personal Brand Strategist, Certified Reach Online Identity Strategist, Certified Career Management Coach, Credentialed Career Master, Certified Professional Resume Writer, and Job & Career Transition Coach. Cindy can be reached via email Cindy@CFO-Coach.com, by phone 813-655-0658, or through her website at www.CFO-Coach.com.

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Always Lead with Your Value

I saw some really bad advice given this morning, and it was sent to a very large audience of Senior Finance Executives. In good conscience, I cannot let this flawed advice stand unchallenged.

Don't Date Yourself

Don’t Date Yourself

Here’s what I believe to be very bad advice for Chief Finance Officers or other Senior Executives …

I strongly believe in putting the academic background at the top of the resume with graduation date(s), especially if it is impressive. 

Don’t do it. Unless you graduated five or less years ago, your academic background does not matter [nearly as much] as your career impacts. And let’s face it, CFOs and Finance Leaders weren’t born yesterday, nor did they graduate yesterday.

Please don’t do it. Don’t lead with something that can only set up age discrimination, particularly for those looking to exclude you. Don’t sabotage, negate, or diminish your solid value positioning by focusing on something that happened 20 or 30 years ago.

Always … lead with your value. Always!

If you are a Finance Executive and want to know how to create a marketing message that ensures you lead with value, contact me. It’s my passion!

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Recorded Interviews

I posted an article on Linkedin Pulse about the new, and rapidly expanding, trend of recording candidate interviews. There is much we don’t know about the ramifications to a candidate when his interview is recorded, but this practice begs the question … does an interviewer’s demand / requirement to record an interview trump a candidate’s rights to refuse? What about questioning what happens to that recording? Or, asking how it will be used post-interview?

After I posted my article, I received an email from someone who was happy to share their story and for me to share it without attribution. To maintain confidentiality, here is my summary of that email.

I had a company ask me to not go see candidates but instead to conduct Skype interviews and record each one so that they could see them as well. Yes, that made me uncomfortable and also as a veteran recruiter it made me think they didn’t trust my judgment.

In my state, you are required to tell the candidate that they are being recorded, which I did. The quality was not always great. The company said that if anyone doesn’t want to be recorded, then we don’t want them. In all if was uncomfortable and the idea that a professional would be giving the yah or nay based on a video tape was not in the best interest of the client.

What do you think? Would you go along with a recorded interview regardless of the unknowns?

Interviewing & Technology

Interviewing & Technology

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Techology … the Next CFO Responsibility?

Should CFOs yield the technology responsibilities that come with making faster data-driven decisions to a new C-suite officer? Or, does the Finance Leader need to own that decision-making process? Is there room at the executive table for another C-suite executive … and enough financial bandwidth to cover another executive compensation package?

I’ve been writing about the trend I’m noticing among Chief Financial Officers and the new breed of CFOs who possess strong technology acumen. Here’s my latest article on Linkedin Pulse.

But, in polling Finance Chiefs in the SmartBrief for CFOs, the results of two polling questions are … interesting.

Last week’s question was around how technology is driving the current evolution of the CFO role, and asked how many CFOs held responsibility for the IT function. While 44% said IT was a separate department, 42% said they currently oversee IT and another 3% will be adding that function to their ever-evolving responsibilities this year. So, pretty much a 50/50 split among those who responded.

With 50% saying IT was a separate department, it begged a follow-up question in this week’s SmartBrief for CFOs …

Is there room at the executive table for a Chief Analytics Officer to manage and analyze data?

At the time this blog was posted, almost 50% said no to another C-suite executive role.

What do you think … will the finance role evolve to absorb this increasingly critical technology function, or will it require yet another C-suite table mate? Feel free to vote in this week’s poll and/or leave your thoughts below.

Chief Analytics Officer

Chief Analytics Officer

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A Thankful Heart

As we in America pause this week to give thanks for all the blessings bestowed on us, I am thankful for all of you – my faithful readers. This is my 20th year in business and I’ve been writing my blog since 2005. I hope that something, even one seemingly small thing, I’ve written over the last almost 10 years has proved helpful as you’ve moved through your career.

Happy Thanksgiving! May your hearts be overflowing with gratitude this week and throughout the coming year, for we truly are a richly blessed people.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Online Anonymity

Am I the only one who feels like “Online Anonymity” might be today’s ultimate oxymoron? Is there any reason to be online if you want to be anonymous? And if you want to be anonymous, why send a contrary message by being, sort of, online? Riding the fence is not a good option when we are talking about the importance of a digital footprint.

Perhaps I’m feeling just a bit beleaguered as I work through a very, very long list of CFOs who have requested to join my CFO-only careers group on Linkedin. In a list that I have finally pared down from about 600+ requests, I can maybe – maybe – find 50% with profiles that include credible evidence the person is who s/he says he is. If your Linkedin profile is so scaled back that I – a mere career coach who works with Chief Financial Officers – can’t determine that you really are a Finance Chief, what do you think your target market is thinking? My guess would be that much like me, they doubt your credibility. Not that you aren’t credible and accomplished, but there is nothing to support that positioning.

Here’s some advice, which is really only valuable if you actually take it.

Decide whether you want to be online or you want to be anonymous, and if it is the former, then show up fully, completely, and compellingly. It does not help your messaging to have one foot online and the other foot firmly planted in in your desire to be anonymous.

My most recent post on Linkedin Pulse supports my belief that when you show up online, with a value message that resonates with your target audience, you will reap the rewards.

An Authentically Branded CFO

An Authentically Branded CFO

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The Digital CFO

 

Today's CFO

Today’s CFO

Back in April I wrote an article for Linkedin Pulse about the CFO of today and the marketability of technology CFOs.

HP Blogs posted an article about a month ago entitled “Is the CFO of 2020 Ready to Embrace Digital Transformation.” The year 2020 might seem far away, but it is zooming right at us. From a business perspective, CFOs need to be ready.

Kuddos to you if you are armed and executing the latest and greatest technology in your finance department, but what about your technology expertise from a career perspective? Your career perspective? Is your corporate technology savvy also showing up in your personal career messaging? Or is that message among your potential target audience mixed, muddied, and/or diluted?

As the competition for the Chief Financial Officer seat only becomes more and more fierce among problem-solving, value-oriented, impact-delivering Finance Leaders, your technology acumen will also matter. And social media IS a part of that acumen. Many, and in a few short years, most of your finance team will be from the most-socially-connected generation that has ever lived. Will they want to work for a throwback from the last Century?

So get your social media savvy on by …

– Getting rid of your AOL and Hotmail email address. Yahoo isn’t that much better, and all three are hacked on a regular basis. An account hack could totally derail your search efforts and is definitely not a risk worth taking.

– Moving from “Wall Flower” to “Active Participant” within Linkedin groups. Share your thought leadership by posting, comment, and interacting with others. Anybody can be a wall flower, and the majority are. It takes courage and intentionality to step out and step in to differentiating yourself through participation.

– Completing your Linkedin profile. I run a CFO-only careers group on Linkedin, requiring me to actually review profiles before approving new members. The majority of the profiles I see fall so below any kind of acceptable standard that doing this one thing – having a complete and compelling profile – will set you apart from most of your competition.

Technology … it’s for CFOs in their corporate roles AND for their career positioning.

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The Chicken or the Egg?

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? It’s an age-old cliche that still surfaces from time-to-time. And now, we have a similar question from job seekers that is becoming more commonplace as they navigate the ever-changing job search arena.

Which do I need first?
My resume or my Linkedin profile?

Since you need both, the answer – at least from my perspective – is really simple.

The resume first.
Then, your Linkedin profile.

Why you might ask? The long answer lies in my blog post from a few weeks ago, “It’s Not About a Resume,” but here’s the short answer. Your resume – and your Linkedin profile – are only the written results of understanding your value and being able to articulate your value-oriented messaging. It requires the same amount of work to get to your value in order to write your profile as it does to write your resume.

If you are paying someone to merely write your profile on Linkedin … does it really convey your value messaging or does it simply flow better but still with the emphasis on responsibilities held rather than the valuable impacts you delivered?

Cindy Kraft, the CFO-Coach

Cindy Kraft, the CFO-Coach

You really do have to do the hard work to get the reward. There are only so many Chief Financial Officer positions, so the competition can be fierce.

Taking the seemingly shortest route when it involves your career – the thing that provides the funding for everything else in your life, including providing for your family, can often turn into anything but a shortcut today. You wouldn’t think of shortcutting your company in strategically guiding its growth and direction, so don’t do it to yourself either.

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Want to versus Have to

I just returned from an intensive 3-day retreat with my colleagues. The non-stop brainstorming, idea generating, planning, and strategizing is always energizing and completely refreshing.

One of the very insightful topics we discussed was the “want to” versus “have to” mindset.

Want to … pie-in-the-sky dreams that may or may not come true but we definitely spend time thinking we would sure like to do them and even how fun it would be to do them.

Have to … can be life-changing and empowering steps that often lead to fulfillment of our “want.”

My take-away … The things we want to do only happen when we do the things we have to do in order to achieve them.

If you have a to-do list, which ones of those items fall into the “want-to” and which fall into the “have-to” category? Which are you actually doing? Which ones are you moving forward from one day to another because they are wonderful ideas, you would really like to do them, however there are more pressing have-tos that always seem to require your attention? Which of those have-to actions are moving you closer to the thing(s) you want?

What you want is that big, audacious, hairy goal or dream. The action steps to get there are the things you have to do in order to achieve the goal.

What is Your Want?

What is Your Want?

If you are gainfully and happily employed … congrats and kudos to you! However, you are only between your last search and your next search. What are the things you have to do in order to position yourself for the next position you want?

Want is the goal.
Getting there suggests there are things you have to do in order to attain your goal.

Waiting until you need a job before you begin doing the things you have to do in order to get that next position takes away all of your power and puts it completely in the hands of prospective employer. Even if your new job want is 1-3 years in the future, identifying the actions you have to do NOW and executing them along the way will allow you to effectively land, and land more quickly, while you are still in a position of power, leverage, and desirability.

If you are a CFO with aspirations, what are the things you have to do in order to win that big want in your personal or professional life?

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