Industry Expertise

I have been working exclusively with Chief Financial Officers for a long time. Eight years to be exact. And much has changed in those 8 years. Like …

  • The evolution of the stereotypical bean counting CFO to a Chief Financial Operations Officer.
  • An increase in the number of CFOs who have an interest in moving into the CEO seat.
  • A slight bump in the number of CFOs who have embraced social media.
  • The paradigm shift on “industry experience.”

It is the industry experience paradigm shift that is the focus of my thoughts today.

Up until about 5-6 years ago, industry experience was almost always a requirement. Recruiters would rarely consider candidates from outside “the” industry. Making a change was nearly unheard of and almost impossible to achieve.

That, however, is no longer the case. Companies are finally realizing that while group think (hiring within the industry) begets more group think, hiring outside the industry can facilitate a completely new and different perspective on solving problems and achieving objectives. Companies also recognize that knowledge of the industry can be learned and hiring candidates who possess certain skills – including soft skills – may be the greater imperative.

My favorite story to illustrate this point is a client who worked in a multi-unit retail space. He got calls – repeatedly – for CFO positions in healthcare … not because he had any healthcare experience, he didn’t. Rather, he had what the healthcare industry did not have – candidates who possessed multi-unit experience. It was not the industry experience that mattered. It was the skillset sorely lacking in that space that was attractive to his candidacy.

If you want to compete for Finance Leader positions outside your industry, then it is time to …

  • identify industries in which you can be competitive;
  • leverage your unique and transferrable skill set which includes doing what you love, want to do more of, and in which you have a track record of success;
  • raise your visibility with a compelling, value-oriented message; and
  • ramp up your networking efforts.


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, by phone 813-727-3037, or through her website at



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