CFO Resumes: Necessary or Not Needed?

This post actually started out as a comment to the recent post by my friend and colleague, Samuel Dergel. While we agree on almost everything related to Finance Chief careers, we are butting heads (albeit gently) on the issue of whether or not CFOs, who are passive candidates, need a resume.

Where Samuel and I definitely agree is on this:  Finance Chiefs need a clear and compelling, branded marketable value proposition (MVP). It’s critically important to know your value and be able to articulate your value in order to be competitive today.

Where we deviate is over the end product. If a CFO is going to do the hard work necessary to get to the point of knowing his MVP, a resume – that contains the tangible piece of all that intangible work – in conjunction with a Linkedin profile, just naturally makes sense … at least to me.

Samuel doesn’t “need” a resume when identifying candidates, but will instead rely on a complete and compelling Linkedin profile to assess a candidate’s worthiness. I believe he is way ahead of his time. There are not many executive recruiters who are at that place … at least not in my experience, nor in the experience of my clients. And, 99% of my clients are employed not unemployed.

In fact, I just spoke with a recruiter from Spencer Stuart who places CFOs who said, “I am so glad to know about you. I constantly have senior finance executives who are totally clueless about where to even begin creating a resume.”

Worth the risk
Is not having a resume worth the risk?

We might get to the point where resumes aren’t needed, but once again, in my opinion and from my experience, we are not there yet. And I liken the “advice” that a CFO doesn’t need a resume to the same “advice” given by some that everyone should write their own resume. It’s just NOT good advice for every Chief Financial Officer. And that advice is sometimes followed to his own detriment.

What happens if you buy in to the mindset that you no longer need a resume, get a call from the percentage of the recruiter population who has a dream job AND requests your resume … and who isn’t at the place where a Linkedin profile is sufficient? Will you lose out on the opportunity for that dream job? You might if you’re willing to sacrifice a marketing document that clearly delineates your branded MVP – and which takes effort and time to create – for a list of responsibilities and duties (sometimes called a resume) that you throw together in order to fulfill that request. And what if the competition IS able to hand over his compelling marketing document on the spot?

Samuel and I do agree on one other thing … companies hire people, not resumes. That is why a CFO MUST be crystal clear on his MVP.

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