What is Your Status?

During job search coaching sessions with clients, we always talk about the importance of Linkedin as a critical piece of a balanced search strategy. What is vital to remember, though, is that merely “building” a compelling profile is only the first step when your goal is to create visibility and attract opportunities.

When I did a search using “CFO” today, I got 443,837 results. That … is a lot of Finance Chiefs! Clearly key words are important to your profile, but I would also suggest that using the status update bar is a gold nugget strategy most Chief Finance Officers do not fully utilize.

Look at this stat on the impact of posting a status update …

One status update can occupy up to 80% of the feed screen, pretty impressive real estate. With the right kind of LinkedIn status updates, you can make a huge difference in the amount of visibility and attention that you receive.

I recognize that my CFOs are busy people. Most are barely engaged on Linkedin and a big fear is that using any social media requires an inordinate amount of time and energy. My philosophy is that consistency and constancy really rule the day; meaning, be constantly consistent in utilizing the status update bar howeverthat fits into your schedule. If posting once a week is something to which you can commit, then be constantly consistent about your weekly posting.

In social media, “build it and they will come” just does not apply … because there are always new players coming to the table. By strategically using the status update function, you can separate yourself from the competition with updates that showcase your thought leadership and your branded positioning.

If you want to boost your visibility on Linkedin, give me a call. I would be delighted to help you!

 

Copyright CFO-Coach 2018

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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, 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.

Is There a “CFO” List?

Negative publicity is still publicity, right? Not in my book. Once we form a negative opinion about a company or brand, it takes monumental effort to have our perspective altered. Unfortunately, sometimes we deal with those companies and brands anyway … complaining all the while. My love/hate relationship with Facebook is evidence of a company (and controlled platform) I dislike but use anyway even as I grumble.

I am sure no CFO would be pleased to find their company on the “20 Most Hated Companies” list. That is negative publicity no Senior Executive would enthusiastically welcome.

Reading that list, though, caused me to wonder … might there be a “most wanted” recruiter list for Chief Finance Officers? Obviously not a public list, but quite possibly some kind of internal list probably does exist. If such a list does exist, perhaps it would look something like this …

Top Notch Candidates

This list would be comprised of those visible, known, and accomplished candidates who are employed and in high demand. If you are constantly getting calls from recruiters for exactly the kinds of positions you would be seeking in your next role, then you have probably made this list.

Been There, Done That … No Thanks

If you’ve burned a recruiter or company; pretended to be something or someone you clearly are not – and been discovered; quit a position before you ever walked in the door on your first day; or have a tendency to treat anyone other than a decision-maker with condescension … you could find yourself on this list. And it could be a list that is not only shared internally, but also within the very small world of recruiting. It seems like negative publicity gets faster notice than positive publicity far too often … and job search candidates are not immune from that notice.

Unknown

This isn’t really a list, but a blank sheet. If you are unknown and choose to stay that way, you will never make it onto either of the other two lists. But, if you desire to be known and become a credible, viable, sought-after candidate, this presents an opportunity to position yourself as a top-notch candidate. Basically, you have a blank canvas and endless opportunity.

Need help getting on that “Top-Notch CFO Candidate” list? Give me a call. I would love to help you if I can.

 

Copyright CFO-Coach 2018

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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, 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.

4 Effective Career Management Strategies for 2018

Have you noticed that the older you get, the faster the years seem to fly by? I sure have! We are sitting on the cusp of yet another new year, and it has never been more important to take control of your career. If you are a CFO who is anticipating a move in the next year or so, here are four strategies to help ensure that you achieve your goal.

Update Your Resume

Yes … it’s painful.
No … it isn’t fun.
Yes … it takes time and effort.

But when a recruiter calls you because he thinks you are a viable candidate, you are in a position to forward him a resume when he asks. Otherwise, you run the risk of sending him something outdated or rushed and incomplete … both at the risk of losing a potentially great opportunity.

Update Linkedin and Leverage Its Power

Linkedin is a tremendous passive strategy for current and future jobseekers, but especially for future jobseekers. There is nothing so appealing to a recruiter than the opportunity to lure away a passive candidate into a new position.

For active jobseekers, it is a passive strategy that works 24/7 in concert with your proactive strategy … enticing recruiters and prospective companies who need the skills you have and are willing to pay, and pay well to get them, to look at your profile.

To believe Linkedin is a non-player in the job search process is to risk missing opportunities you may never otherwise discover.

Network with Intentionality

A common response by my Finance Chiefs to the question, how is your network, is either …

– I don’t have a solid network, or

– I have been so busy working my job that I have not had time to build a network.

Resolve that this will be the year that you commit to building and nurturing your network. It will pay huge rewards when you are ready to make a move.

Raise Your Branded Visibility

This strategy ties into the other three, because without branded positioning there really is no reason to be visible. If you aren’t visible, it is very difficult for the recruiters and companies to find you rather than discover your very visible competition. If recruiters and companies aren’t finding you, you may be missing out on dream opportunities.

Execute the first three strategies, and then work consistently and constantly (whatever that looks like in your busy schedule) to ensure that the people who need to know about you do, in fact, know about you!

Call me if I can help! Please note my NEW phone number … 813-727-3037.

 

Copyright CFO-Coach 2017

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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, 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.

Four Issues That Contribute To An Extended Job Search

You know that old adage … “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”? Such is my perspective on articles and books and courses that are titled something like … “How to Get Your Next Job in 30 Days.” Is it possible? Maybe. Is it probable in today’s economic job market? Probably not for most people. And yet, unrealistic expectations abound, setting up job search candidates for massive disappointment when 30 days pass and unemployment is still a reality. The job search process is challenging enough without going into it with unrealistic expectations.

Here are four reasons why finding that next right-fitting Chief Financial Officer opportunity usually takes longer than 30 days.

There are limited CFO slots

Competition is fierce at the C-level. Getting noticed by companies who need your particular problem-solving skills and are willing to pay, and pay well to get them, requires branded value positioning and visibility. It is nearly impossible to stand out from the competition if you look just like all of your competitors.

With accomplished, contributing CFOs staying in their positions longer, finding those limited opportunities becomes even more of a challenge as the finance leadership space becomes even tighter.

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Most CFOs are so busy working their jobs that they don’t make time for managing their careers. The time to create or update a resume and Linkedin profile is not when a new position is needed, but well in advance of needing or wanting a new position.

Most really great opportunities come when you aren’t looking. However, if you don’t have those documents at the ready, that great opportunity could quickly become a missed opportunity. In fact, without a visible social media presence, that great, right-fitting opportunity might not even be known by a candidate.

A weak network

The value of a strong network cannot be understated. Your best opportunities will almost always come from a referral source, which mandates building your network before you need to use that network.

Over-reliance on ineffective job boards

Job boards have become the bane of job search, particularly the executive job search. Anything that seems as easy as sending off a resume to a job opening that seems like a perfect fit for you and your skills … just doesn’t typically yield much of a return. To say job boards are ineffective is a gross understatement and yet, it is an easy trap for many candidates.

The job search is anything but easy, especially when you are competing in a space with limited openings. That makes controlling the other three issues even more critical to shortening an otherwise grueling and frustrating process.

Copyright CFO-Coach 2017

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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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5 Tips for a Compelling Linkedin Profile

Following my article on the CFOO, a CFO asked me this question …

<<… when you say “using LinkedIn as a placeholder for your online presence is a bad idea” what do you mean?>>

What I meant by a placeholder is a bare bones Linkedin profile – a name, maybe a picture, the current employer, and maybe education. A visual might be a person walking into a networking event wearing a brown paper bag on his head. It doesn’t invite perusal or conversation – there is simply nothing there to see.

Here are my 5 tips for ensuring that your Linkedin profile is more than a placeholder and sending a message you didn’t intend to send.

1. Make your headline a headline

Most people resort to dropping their most recent job title into the spot underneath their name. Using a job title is a clear missed opportunity to immediately convey value. A value statement also transcends any potential future job loss.

2. Expand your summary section

This is another place to convey value AND tell a story that will intrigue a reader to continue reading the balance of your profile. With 2,000 characters available, it is also a chance to capture critical key words that a recruiter or company will use when searching for a CFO candidate.

3. Keep your experience section fresh

By fresh, I don’t mean just updated – although that is a key point. However, cutting and pasting your resume into this section is not fresh. It is redundant. If you repeat your resume here, there is no need for a prospect to ask for your resume. Rather, think of your marketing documents as bricks that, when stacked on top of each other, form a solid wall of credibility.

4. Be judicious in choosing your connections

We never know who might be a great networking connection, but there are two important reasons to be selective in growing your online network.

First, recruiters do look at your connections and right, wrong, or indifferent – it is a part of their first impression.

Second, do you want to build a rolodex or grow your network? One is not necessarily helpful; the other is a necessity.

5. Get recommendations

Third party testimonials add credibility to your own value statements about your ability, and they matter – to recruiters and to the Linkedin algorithm. A profile doesn’t need a lot of “atta boy” recommendations; rather, it does need a few that validate your problem-solving abilities while helping to ensure a complete profile.

Social media is a critical piece of today’s job search process. Without a strong, value-oriented presence, recruiters might be missing out on the perfect Chief Financial Officer – you – to fill their job requisition! Don’t be a wallflower. Instead, be the candidate who stands out from the competition!

Copyright CFO-Coach 2017

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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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Your Home on the Web

For many people, and particularly for most CFOs, the home of their digital footprint is Linkedin. Short of having your own URL, Linkedin is the only real neon sign option. That means having a robust profile is a critically important piece of managing your career … because it is where you can be found and where you are in control of the message.

Two posts came through my feed this last week regarding Linkedin, generating very interesting comments. The first was about headlines. The second around whether Linkedin replaces a resume. Let’s start with the headline.

The first question was asked as a yes/no poll … do you like headlines that are not standard fare? (i.e., your job title). I don’t have a good handle on the exact statistics, but there were strong opinions on both sides of the fence. Here’s my two cents.

Standard fare is a commodity, generic, and lacks value.

First, it is called a “headline” for a reason. If you believe your current job title is compelling enough to promote interest, do a search on Linkedin to see how many CFOs also use that headline. It’s tough to stand out with “just” a job title as your hook.

Second, companies hire because they need a Finance Leader to solve a problem, get them unstuck, or move them to the next level. The moment you define yourself by your job title, rather than your ability to solve problems and deliver impacts, and you lose your job … is the moment you become much less competitive and lose your power positioning. While nothing has changed for you except your location (outside vs. inside), companies and recruiters view that change quite differently.

Whether you choose to use a branded value-oriented headline or your job title, here are some things your headline should absolutely not say …

– Looking for a job or next opportunity

– Currently looking

– Anything that is not relevant to your branded positioning

The second issue was quite interesting, and there were certainly vocal opinions about whether the candidate needs both a resume and a Linkedin profile … and even whether a candidate would stoop so low as to create a resume if they already had a Linkedin profile. Goodness. While one day, perhaps, sometime in the future, a platform such as Linkedin may well replace resumes … that time is not now.

A Resume and a Robust Profile are Both Necessities

A Chief Financial Officer who wants to be competitive in the marketplace needs both a value-oriented resume that showcases his problem-solving skills AND a robust Linkedin profile that does not replicate his resume.

Your profile will get you noticed. Your branded value-oriented resume will solidify your credibility. They are two different, but necessary, pieces of the same job search puzzle.

Copyright CFO-Coach 2017

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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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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

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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.

Dude … Sir … or, Name?

Does it matter what your employees call you … as long as they are calling you?

Life in general seems to have become very casual, and that attitude has definitely transcended the workplace at many companies. Personal responsibility, respect for positions of authority, and general courtesy and professionalism seem atypical these days.

Or, maybe I am just old school and jaded … at least by today’s standards. However, I live in the south and still appreciate hearing people respond with “mam and sir.” I use those terms of respect all the time. I wasn’t raised in the south, but living here for 30 years has had an impact on how I address people. I just don’t see respect, as a foundational value, in the world at large. Maybe, culture simply trumps professionalism and respect for authority and most people accept that fact.

This blog post came about as a discussion by one of my networking colleagues on Linkedin talking about being called “dude” by one of his team members. Most people who commented were okay with that address by a direct report. On the other hand, I would be shocked to hear a CFO call his CEO or board members or investors “dude” when addressing them. Or, has this also become the norm?

What about the outside perspective? If your employees call you “dude” or whatever, and you are okay with that causal address in the workplace, what happens when those same employees call you that in front of your clients and/or customers –or- call your clients and/or customers by that same name? How does it, or would it, affect their perspective of you and your company? Would it impact your branded positioning? Is this pattern so common place that it just does not matter?

Am I simply making much ado about nothing? I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Disagreeing – respectfully – is one of the wonderful things about living in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.

Copyright CFO-Coach 2017

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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.

Linkedin Profiles & CFOs

Fast Company recently posted an informative article on what recruiters prefer to see in a Linkedin profile. It is good advice, and you can read it here. I thought I would add my two cents, aimed specifically at CFOs, to the information.

– Keep Your Profile Current

It is so easy to “forget” about Linkedin when you are not in job search mode. The reality is that recruiters are always looking for top-quality passive candidates and one of their sourcing methods is Linkedin. Keeping your profile current so you can be found, and your contributions as a problem-solving CFO are front and center, is a commendable career management strategy.

– What Constitutes a Headline?

It isn’t your current or most recent job title. The moment we identify by job title rather than value to a prospective company, we begin to lose important positioning.

Think about what entices or intrigues you to actually read an article or a post beyond skimming “headlines.” That same methodology applies to recruiters, while simultaneously differentiating you from the competition.

Honing in on how you are different from your competitors and how you have (and do) deliver value is the beginning of an effective headline.

– Your Profile Might be your Home on the Web

And if it is, it is NOT the same as your resume. Nor should it be a mere recitation of duties and responsibilities held throughout your career. Your “home on the web” is best utilized by creating an authentic and cohesive value-story that begins with your headline and ends with contributions delivered throughout your career, including any hobbies or personal interests that further or solidify your value positioning. Culture fit is the most challenging piece of the hiring process, so your ability to showcase fit-for-culture will only enhance your appeal.

If you need help crafting your value positioning on and off the web, let’s talk. You can reach me at Cindy@CFO-Coach.com or 813-727-3037.

Copyright CFO-Coach 2017

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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.

Online Anonymity

Am I the only one who feels like “Online Anonymity” might be today’s ultimate oxymoron? Is there any reason to be online if you want to be anonymous? And if you want to be anonymous, why send a contrary message by being, sort of, online? Riding the fence is not a good option when we are talking about the importance of a digital footprint.

Perhaps I’m feeling just a bit beleaguered as I work through a very, very long list of CFOs who have requested to join my CFO-only careers group on Linkedin. In a list that I have finally pared down from about 600+ requests, I can maybe – maybe – find 50% with profiles that include credible evidence the person is who s/he says he is. If your Linkedin profile is so scaled back that I – a mere career coach who works with Chief Financial Officers – can’t determine that you really are a Finance Chief, what do you think your target market is thinking? My guess would be that much like me, they doubt your credibility. Not that you aren’t credible and accomplished, but there is nothing to support that positioning.

Here’s some advice, which is really only valuable if you actually take it.

Decide whether you want to be online or you want to be anonymous, and if it is the former, then show up fully, completely, and compellingly. It does not help your messaging to have one foot online and the other foot firmly planted in in your desire to be anonymous.

My most recent post on Linkedin Pulse supports my belief that when you show up online, with a value message that resonates with your target audience, you will reap the rewards.

An Authentically Branded CFO
An Authentically Branded CFO