Is Invisibility Costing You Your Next Position?

I read two articles in just a few days that made me say … uh oh! My faithful readers will know that I evangelize the importance of CFOs being visible … and embracing both online and offline strategies to create that visibility. Here are two quotes, the first from a sourcer and the second from a recruiter.

It’s a nasty dirty secret inside recruiting but the fact of the matter is if you’re over 50 – maybe even over 45 – many recruiters aren’t interested. They say they’ll look at you and accept your name in the lists I generate but they’re really not. No kidding.

If social media is full of young adults and Generation Y, I feel that it could become much more difficult to reach the senior level candidates considering they might be less likely to use social media so extensively due to their age.

How do age discrimination and social media fit together … at least from my perspective?

Well first, at the C-level, I take exception to the sourcer’s general statement regarding age discrimination if you’re 45+. Companies are typically not looking for 20- or even 30-somethings when in need of a Chief Financial Officer. That said, age discrimination is alive and well, and many at the CFO-level only invite that discrimination by the things they do -and- don’t do. Like, not jumping on the Web 2.0 wagon, having no presence or an incomplete profile on Linked In, or a headline of “unemployed” under their name on Linked In, or an outdated aol email address. Those things are sending a message, and part of the message is “I’m well on the way to extinction.”

The way to mitigate age discrimination is through value positioning. How can you solve the company’s problems and make them or save them more than it costs to bring you on board? Having a strong marketable value proposition is great … but if no one knows about it, does it even matter?

Now not being visible doesn’t preclude you from being found by recruiters … the best ones are pretty good sleuths. So in that respect, you don’t need to be visible, but you should want to be visible. Why? So you can be found, much more easily, by those recruiters who are looking for top-notch talent … particularly the passive kind.

As I mentioned yesterday, I believe movement of the C-Suite will pick up in 2011. However, in an employer’s market, companies still have the luxury of waiting for the “right” person rather than accepting just “any” person. Carving out your space and planting your flag – and then waving your subject matter expert flag – can shift the paradigm from being available to take anything to being just the right person to just the right company.

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