Visibility is a Choice

Last November I wrote a blog post entitled “Is Invisibility Costing You Your Next Position.” Based on the overflow at the CFO conference roundtable, it’s a topic in which CFOs are at least curious, if not flat out interested.

As a result, I recently reposted the piece in a private forum … and received the following response from a reader:

Let’s face it: most “social media” is full of young people because they don’t have anything better to do. It’s less age discrimination and more competency discrimination. People who spend their days Twittering, Blogging, Facebooking and Googling each other aren’t doing their jobs.

Real professionals, people with responsibility, don’t have time to mess around with status updates or wind-bag pontification. Executives who “want to be found” do it through real-world networking. It’s little league to assume that you’ll be hired based on your blog.

A CFO doesn’t have to Facebook or tweet or even blog to leverage social media. But he is absent from Linked In at his own peril.

Without a personal-professional web portfolio, Linked In becomes his home base. It is an effective Web 2.0 version of the old paper corporate bio, and everything he does online points back to his profile. In fact, with the URL as part of his outgoing email signature, his profile has the potential to go viral.

Within Linked In itself, though, are a variety of apps that can help every Finance Executive build his visibility and his value-positioning. For instance,

— Share what you’re reading through the Amazon Reading List.

— If you do presentations with PowerPoint or Keynote, upload your non-proprietary presentations, or portions of your presentations, in Google Presentations or Slideshare.

— Create video clips of speaking engagements and attach them to your profile.

And be sure to use the Linked In status update bar to share resources, speaking engagements, and conferences you’re attending with your network.

All of these things are, in my humble opinion, critically important for raising visibility among a CFO’s target audience as well as recruiters who specialize in your area of expertise.

You don’t have to tweet, or Facebook, or even blog. But choosing not to embrace social media, even minimally, is choosing to be invisible … particularly sans a solid, offline network.


Share and enjoy

7 thoughts on “Visibility is a Choice”

  1. Cindy – Great topic

    As has been said many times since the social media revolution – you are who Google says you are.

    The absolute minimum any CFO needs to do keep visible on one hand and findable on the other hand is to have a LinkedIn Profile. Today, this is where the people you network with in the ‘real-world’ find out all about you.

    In your role as CFO, imagine for a moment you are about to enter a meeting with a new bank or a new investor. These people have never met you before except they do know about you. They have done a Google and a LinkedIn Search before they’ve met you – Guaranteed.

    What would you like your future potential banker to find out about you? Well, you have the ability to control that information by being active on social media, and at a minimum have a solid LinkedIn profile.

    Now imagine for a moment you love (to varying degrees) your current job, but there is a better one out there. If you are not visible, your future employer will not find you, and neither will you dream job.

    Social Media is not Trix. Social media is for professionals and executives – serious people just like you. Don’t let others (the media, your competitors, former employees) define who you are. You can define who you are.

    And really, who knows the real you better?

    Samuel Dergel, CPA, CA, CPC
    Dergel CFO Search & Consulting

    • As always, your comments and insight are much appreciated, Samuel. As a recruiter, I think my CFO readers also really value your perspective!

  2. Cindy,

    You are always so spot on with your writing, and this post is no different. Linkedin is now the bare minimum, and I think someone who makes excuses like “social media is only for young people” and “real professionals use live networking” are actually self-incriminating. Either get on-board, or the world will pass you by. The world is moving that direction, and your resistance will not be noticed.

    Old fashioned ways of doing business are not going away. In fact, social media is enhancing them. I could recite countless examples of how it has helped my career and business!

    I couldn’t help but add my controversial two cents to your great post. Keep up the great work!

    Ken Kaufman

  3. Thanks Ken. As a CFO who understands the power of social media in today’s world, I really appreciate you taking the time to weigh in. Others might think you controversial, however, you and I totally agree!


  4. As I read about the broadening of the CFO’s role in many of the articles that Cindy links to I find her correspondent’s lack of imagination to be very unfortunate. It reminds me of the senior executives I ran across early in my career who saw the original PC’s as children’s toys with nothing to offer “serious” accountants. Too many of these men (and at the time they were almost all men) found themselves pushed aside and put out to pasture by other executives who saw the possibilities and reaped the productivity benefits of the new technology. Quite frankly, I think the kind of attitude that rejects the possibilities of innovative technologies or methods out of hand will become a disqualifier for professional advancement. In this case, it might be better if this person’s brand remained unknown.

    • Thanks for reading, Jeff, and for commenting.

      I, somewhat, jokingly say that finance executives are the last bastion of invisible people. While you, and executives like you, are certainly on the surfboard at the crest of the wave, people like the correspondent apparently haven’t even found the water yet. And as we know, dinosaurs once roamed the earth, too.

      Whether we acknowledge it or not, our “brands” are evident in everything we say and do. Certainly, it is better to understand one’s brand and then intentionally step in and live it. By default though, because authentic branding is the perception other people hold about us, based on the correspondent’s comments which reflect his aversion to technology and resistance to embrace change, his unintentional brand is actually sending a very loud and very clear message.


Leave a Comment