3 Tips for Thinking More Strategically in a CFO Career Search

CFO.com just published an article entitled “How CFOs Can Take on Bigger Roles.” The title sounds like it could be addressing a CFO career climb. Since they didn’t … I will!

The strategy behind taking on a bigger role is not much different whether you are “challenging the business and identifying new opportunities” as a finance leader –or- making the move to a more expansive CFO role externally.

Today’s most sought-after CFO is strategic by nature, elbow-deep in how operations drive numbers and vice-versa, building relationships internally and externally, and setting and guiding the company’s short- and long-term vision. The career challenge for CFOs is taking what they do in their jobs and translating that to create value messaging in anticipation of the next, bigger role.

– Identify and Embrace Your Value

This is usually the most challenging part of the work I do with my CFO clients. It is also the most effective.

A candidate’s value comes from his ability to solve problems and deliver tangible impacts. Value does not come from responsibilities held and duties performed. For most job search clients, especially the most accomplished, it is often tough to see the forest for the trees. It is imperative to take a step out of the responsibility/duty paradigm and dig deep into how you solve problems and position the company to grow, make money, expand market share, and otherwise reach corporate objectives.

Recognizing your value is the first part. However, just knowing it is not enough. It must be front and center of every marketing document as well as all career-related conversations. With value positioning as an anchor, the days of self-identifying by job title end and your appeal as a candidate who can solve a prospective company’s problems increases significantly.

– Who Cares

Identifying your target audience is critically important. Not every company is a great fit for your unique skill set, and more importantly, there are jobs that derail careers and set finance leaders up to fail. You don’t want those.

Knowing which companies do need your skills, are a great fit for your skills and ability, and have a success environment in which you can succeed helps you to be focused in your search efforts and enables your network to be more effective.

– Close the Gap

When you are clear on your value and who needs it, close the gap. Build visibility around your unique problem-solving skills among your target audience. And, to ensure you get the opportunity you want rather than a job you need, begin 9-12 months before you intend to make a move.

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 813-727-3037, or through her website at www.CFO-Coach.com.

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