The Dog Ate My Homework

With that cliché title, I am no doubt dating myself. That’s okay. You already know I’ve been in business for 23 years so I’m definitely not a young pup.

This bit of sage advice from my colleague, Barb Safani, came through my Linkedin newsfeed this morning.

“If recruiters ask you to ‘walk them through your background,’ focus on your core messages of value, not the five positions you held pre-1985.”

This wise counsel is true not only when you are talking with recruiters, but is also critically important when crafting your resume, Linkedin profile, cover letters, leadership brief, and every other written marketing document you use. Not doing your homework, which in this case is not doing the hard work to clearly understand your value so you can articulate your value messaging, won’t result in a 0 grade for homework not done. Rather, it may cause you to miss out on a very lucrative opportunity; maybe even your dream opportunity.

Here area 4 tips for honing your value messaging in the competitive world of CFO job search:

– 10 to 12 are the magic numbers

While a recruiter and/or a company is interested in how you got where you are, what the hiring company most cares about is your ability to solve the kinds of problems they are currently experiencing.

In the fast-changing world of technology, that means your tangible impacts over the last 10-12 years matter much more than what happened in the early years of your career or your degree. Those foundational things matter, but they will not help a company with a problem understand how you can resolve their issue, challenge, or situation.

Which brings me to …

– It is not what, it is how

What you did only matters in the context of how you delivered value as a finance leader who knows how to step in, eliminate or mitigate issues, and make a company stronger and better. That is your track record; that is your core value; and that is what matters to a prospective company.

– Self-identify by value rather than job title or worse, lack thereof

Besides screaming desperation, which shifts the balance of power, identifying by your job title is absent any value to a potential employer. Find your value and then, use it as a neon sign at every opportunity.

– The more you blend in, the less you will be noticed

When I made the decision to work exclusively with CFOs, it was based on two things:

– With whom did I most enjoy working, and
– Where was a gap in the saturated resume writing/job coach market?

The answer was the same for both questions. I loved working with accomplished finance executives and there were no resume writers or job coaches working exclusively with CFOs.

That is true for you as a job search candidate whether you are currently in a search or anticipate a move within the next few years. Identifying how you are different from all your competitors will help to ensure that you stand out from them rather than get lost in the masses.

Your core value and strongest positioning are the most visible when you have identified what you love doing, quantified your track record of success doing those things, clarified your target market, and taken ownership of that space.

If I can help you hone your value messaging, give me a call!


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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