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 or 813-727-3037.

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

Always Lead with Your Value

I saw some really bad advice given this morning, and it was sent to a very large audience of Senior Finance Executives. In good conscience, I cannot let this flawed advice stand unchallenged.

Don't Date Yourself
Don’t Date Yourself

Here’s what I believe to be very bad advice for Chief Finance Officers or other Senior Executives …

I strongly believe in putting the academic background at the top of the resume with graduation date(s), especially if it is impressive. 

Don’t do it. Unless you graduated five or less years ago, your academic background does not matter [nearly as much] as your career impacts. And let’s face it, CFOs and Finance Leaders weren’t born yesterday, nor did they graduate yesterday.

Please don’t do it. Don’t lead with something that can only set up age discrimination, particularly for those looking to exclude you. Don’t sabotage, negate, or diminish your solid value positioning by focusing on something that happened 20 or 30 years ago.

Always … lead with your value. Always!

If you are a Finance Executive and want to know how to create a marketing message that ensures you lead with value, contact me. It’s my passion!

The Chicken or the Egg?

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? It’s an age-old cliche that still surfaces from time-to-time. And now, we have a similar question from job seekers that is becoming more commonplace as they navigate the ever-changing job search arena.

Which do I need first?
My resume or my Linkedin profile?

Since you need both, the answer – at least from my perspective – is really simple.

The resume first.
Then, your Linkedin profile.

Why you might ask? The long answer lies in my blog post from a few weeks ago, “It’s Not About a Resume,” but here’s the short answer. Your resume – and your Linkedin profile – are only the written results of understanding your value and being able to articulate your value-oriented messaging. It requires the same amount of work to get to your value in order to write your profile as it does to write your resume.

If you are paying someone to merely write your profile on Linkedin … does it really convey your value messaging or does it simply flow better but still with the emphasis on responsibilities held rather than the valuable impacts you delivered?

Cindy Kraft, the CFO-Coach
Cindy Kraft, the CFO-Coach

You really do have to do the hard work to get the reward. There are only so many Chief Financial Officer positions, so the competition can be fierce.

Taking the seemingly shortest route when it involves your career – the thing that provides the funding for everything else in your life, including providing for your family, can often turn into anything but a shortcut today. You wouldn’t think of shortcutting your company in strategically guiding its growth and direction, so don’t do it to yourself either.

Want to versus Have to

I just returned from an intensive 3-day retreat with my colleagues. The non-stop brainstorming, idea generating, planning, and strategizing is always energizing and completely refreshing.

One of the very insightful topics we discussed was the “want to” versus “have to” mindset.

Want to … pie-in-the-sky dreams that may or may not come true but we definitely spend time thinking we would sure like to do them and even how fun it would be to do them.

Have to … can be life-changing and empowering steps that often lead to fulfillment of our “want.”

My take-away … The things we want to do only happen when we do the things we have to do in order to achieve them.

If you have a to-do list, which ones of those items fall into the “want-to” and which fall into the “have-to” category? Which are you actually doing? Which ones are you moving forward from one day to another because they are wonderful ideas, you would really like to do them, however there are more pressing have-tos that always seem to require your attention? Which of those have-to actions are moving you closer to the thing(s) you want?

What you want is that big, audacious, hairy goal or dream. The action steps to get there are the things you have to do in order to achieve the goal.

What is Your Want?
What is Your Want?

If you are gainfully and happily employed … congrats and kudos to you! However, you are only between your last search and your next search. What are the things you have to do in order to position yourself for the next position you want?

Want is the goal.
Getting there suggests there are things you have to do in order to attain your goal.

Waiting until you need a job before you begin doing the things you have to do in order to get that next position takes away all of your power and puts it completely in the hands of prospective employer. Even if your new job want is 1-3 years in the future, identifying the actions you have to do NOW and executing them along the way will allow you to effectively land, and land more quickly, while you are still in a position of power, leverage, and desirability.

If you are a CFO with aspirations, what are the things you have to do in order to win that big want in your personal or professional life?

Feeding the Un-hatched Chicken

You are no doubt familiar with the cliché … don’t count your chickens before they hatch … right? And yet, it is a common phenomenon in the job search process. Maybe somewhere in your career climb, you were tripped up by the perception of “it’s a done deal,” when it wasn’t even close to done.

Everything seems to be moving along quite nicely …

You go on an interview … Score!
You continue through the process … Score again!
You become a top three candidate … Score big time!

And then,

You wait … Score, um, … maybe?
And wait … Not sure it was a Score after all.
And wait a while longer … Score officially turns to fret.

Maybe you -eventually- get the good news. But maybe the news isn’t what you were expecting. And all the while you thought that chicken had hatched you were doing nothing else on your job search. You counted your chicken before it hatched, only to find out – it didn’t hatch.

Now, you’re back at ground zero once again. Only this time, it feels a little harder, a little more challenging, a bit more of a struggle as hopeful expectation turned to disappointment and self-confidence took a beating.

Just because you have a “potential” opportunity, don’t lose sight of the bigger goal of obtaining a new position. Until you have received a written offer and accepted it in writing, you have nothing but an unhatched egg in your job search basket. Don’t feed only it, because it may not be the one that ultimately hatches.

In fact, don’t stop executing your good career management habits after you land either, because that place where you landed is only temporary … regardless of how you define temporary.

Resume Writing

It’s a hot topic over in the Proformative community these days. Is it cheating to have someone else write your resume? Is a resume writing service worth it?

Here’s my two cents on both questions.

Is it cheating?


I have to confess that I laughed when I read the question regarding whether or not it was “cheating” to have someone else write your resume. If putting your best foot forward means you get a haircut, purchase a new suit, whiten your teeth, and/or color the grey in your hair – aren’t all those things also cheating?

When it is time for the interview, is the due diligence one conducts also cheating since it is trying to uncover a company’s need in advance in order to tailor your message to meet that need?

Are athletes on the playing field cheating because they have a coach on the sidelines helping them play their best by identifying changes they need to make in order to perfect their moves?

Your career drives EVERYTHING else in your life including your ability to care for your family. If it is cheating to have an independent person as an advocate in order for you to step outside your own limiting paradigms and unearth, polish, and message your value … then maybe I don’t understand the definition of “cheating.”

IF – and I do mean IF – a resume writer is fabricating your value message, then yes … that is cheating. And you will fail. That should never be the outcome of working with a resume writer or career coach.

Worth it?

The consensus on Proformative is no, it isn’t worth paying a writer. How sad that so many have chosen to go the cheapest route and then come up dissatisfied. The truth is … you do get what you pay for.

If you are a Chief Finance Office or other Finance Executive and you want to pay $350 for someone else to write your resume, save your money and write it yourself. The result will be the same. If that’s the value you place on a marketing document (and ultimately your messaging) that differentiates you through value positioning, then you must not place much value on who you are, what you do, and how you do it.

Not everyone needs a third party writer. In my experience though, most do. The same way you go to someone else for a haircut and purchase rather than make your suit, those other people have a gifting and a talent you don’t … and you recognize that fact and act accordingly.

Your dream position hinges on beating out the competition with a message that flows from your ability to solve problems and deliver value. Unfortunately for many, a message founded on responsibilities – here’s what I did – is often a huge stumbling block. When you change your perspective; you change your messaging. When you change your messaging; you open doors that were otherwise closed to you. That … should make hiring a reputable writer or coach very worthwhile.

Evolution of the Interview Process

Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads literally rocked my world at my annual Career Thought Leaders conference in Baltimore, Maryland with his information on the way technology is evolving – and maybe evolving isn’t even the right word – the interviewing process.

If you haven’t really given thought to how technology might impact your next interview, you might be shocked to learn what “could” be awaiting you. Here are a few of his most notable comments. My thoughts on his comments can be found in this month’s column in Futures in Finance.

– The next wave of technology innovation will destroy more jobs than it creates.

–   HR data will be collected, analyzed, and the results deployed in real time, most often poorly.

– Video interviewing will create seamless conversations via technology that will dramatically change the hiring landscape.

–   And what about Sophie?

There are a lot of issues that technology brings into the search and interview process; and certainly at this point, we have more speculation and questions than answers. Here’s a given. Video interviewing is only going to increase in popularity if only because, once again, it gives the interviewer the upper hand and lowers recruiting costs.

Interview Evolution

Maximum Return for Minimum Effort

Does it ever really work that way? Maybe on occasion, but never as a rule.

Recently I saw this post on Facebook …

“I want a really good guitar but I don’t want to pay very much for it.”

It made me think about the career management / job search process as most candidates view it. Even though your career is “the” thing that funds everything else in your life … provides housing, clothing, and food for your family; a vehicle to get to and from your employment and the ability to pay for the gas it guzzles; the means by which to get away from work, a/k/a vacation; the over-priced coffee on the way to the office … the reality is that a career is given little thought until it is threatened.

Career management should be in place in order to minimize and perhaps even permanently eliminate job search. In this economy is that a certainty? It sure is not. But it is certainly a great strategy to minimize the risk, and the associated financial impact, of finding oneself amongst the unemployed-and-desperately-seeking crowd. You not only lose income, you lose power and positioning.

At the Chief Financial Officer level, 9-to-12 months is still a realistic expectation for making a move. And that, is much more realistic as a passive candidate.

Expecting maximum results for minimum effort can turn out to be very costly.

The CFO-Coach
The CFO-Coach

Career Trends for CFOs

There are some very interesting trends in a recent academic study among Fortune 100 companies. They are trends that could impact your career trajectory and therefore, might be worth understanding.

The percentage of executive women is growing which means, among other things, more competition for executive-level positions.

That said, competition for those coveted senior positions will remain about your value. It is not about what you’ve done (responsibilities). Rather, it is about how you solve problems and deliver impacts. Value has become the great mitigator of all things negative while greatly leveling the playing field for future senior-level finance candidates, male and female.

You can read the trends I’m noticing and my comments about them in my April column of Futures in Finance.

CFO Career Trends
CFO Career Trends

Job Title vs. Branded Positioning

My week started off with a delicious cup of coffee and engaging convo with a dear friend of mine who also happens to be a Chief Financial Officer.

He recently decided to leave his job. Which left him with a dilemma …

how to identify himself?

It is an interesting, but not insurmountable, challenge. And coincidentally, I had the same question from another CFO last week. There are probably quite a few Finance Executives who are now in active job search mode wondering the same thing.

If you read my blog regularly, you know I am a big proponent of branding. Understanding how you are perceived by others as it aligns with how you view yourself, and then leveraging those emotional (relational) attributes in talking about how you do what you do is very powerful positioning. And, …

Brand transcends job title. 

Your brand is what appears in your Linkedin headline.
Your brand statement is in your email signature line.
Your brand tag is on your business cards.

And when someone hears your name, they see your brand not your job title – or lack thereof.

Your brand also speaks directly to fit-for-culture, which gives you a leg up over the competition in the trickiest part of the hiring process. Being branded also helps to ensure the right-fit companies are the only ones courting you … so you will land in the best environment to continue your record of success.

It is time to stop defining yourself by your job title and begin embracing and living your brand!