The Incredibly Uncredible Profile

Uncredible. Maybe it isn’t a real word among grammar-hounds, but when I Googled it, I found this from WordReference Forums …

“A new word to fill a need. It means something lacks believability.”

Who are you?
Who are you?

Enter the incredible, completely uncredible, and unbelievable Linkedin profiles I see daily when approving CFOs for my CFO-only Careers group. Listen, if I’m not sold on your fit for my group based on your profile, I can assure you recruiters and hiring managers will not be sold on you as a viable candidate either when you choose to …

– Call yourself a CFO despite offering no credible evidence you actually are one other than a current job title.

– Show only your most recent CFO title with a graduation date that leaves a ginormous gap along with lots of questions and plenty of red flags.

– Conversely, that you were a CFO immediately after graduating from college.

– Show a profile with only the bare bones of information, none of which is based on your value proposition to a prospective employer.

– List one position, your most current, with nothing else. No photo, no summary, no experience, and no education … and no network.

– Have multiple accounts – same name, same photo but different job titles.

My bar to enter the group is that you are a sitting CFO or have held the Chief Financial Officer title in the past. But if, in a cursory review of your profile, I can’t tell that you are legitimate and/or your position is legitimate, I won’t approve you.

If that’s my standard for a Linkedin group, imagine how recruiters and decision-makers might be responding when seeking potential candidates and their reputation and commission is on the line?

It is critically important that you have a complete profile –and– that it is credible and compelling. Use your profile to answer the question the people who are hiring are asking: Who are you and how can you solve our problems?

Upgrades Are Not Created Equally

Upgrade has become a relative term when speaking about social media platforms. And venues like LinkedIn and Facebook come immediately to mind whenever “social media” and “upgrade” are used in the same sentence. And maybe you’ve even noticed that the word upgrade is often a misnomer, since many of those so-called “upgrades” only seem to ratchet up the level of frustration of users.

Take for example the “Congratulate XXX” emails from LinkedIn that are coming fast and furious these days. The problem (and it is a problem) is that LinkedIn is reading changes to your headline as a job change. That error happens because members mistakenly use the headline as a place to restate their current job title.

If you’ve seen those emails or even been embarrassed by offering congratulations to someone who hasn’t really changed positions, only their headline –  or – you want to hear about some actual great upgraded features on Linkedin, you’ll want to read my article in this month’s Futures in Finance newsletter.

Linkedin Upgrades
Linkedin Upgrades

Congrats, You’ve Got a New Job!

Perhaps because I just completed a webinar on how to more effectively use Linkedin –and– because I’ve also seen an increase in “Congratulate XXX on his new job” email messages, this article jumped out at me.

Might you be sabotaging your job hunt by incorrectly using the Headline space underneath your name on your profile? You might be if it houses your latest job title rather than a branded value statement of who you are.

It's a Headline!
It’s a Headline!

Anytime you do make dramatic changes to your profile, be sure to turn OFF your “activity broadcasts” setting so your network isn’t bombarded with updates –and– Linkedin bots don’t presume things that aren’t true but notify everyone in your network about them anyway.

You can learn about these two significant Linkedin features – and much more – in the recording of my webinar and accompanying resource, available for a limited time at the pre-event price.

What you don’t know about how you’re using Linkedin – or not using it – could be negatively impacting your job search and/or your value positioning.

5 Linkedin Tips to Attract Recruiters

If you’re going to be on LinkedIn—and you should be—your profile should entice recruiters to read it and enable them to quickly and clearly understand your value as a Finance Chief. Just these five areas can make a huge difference in your visibility.

Status Update

Read why in my latest column on Futures in Finance.

5 Linkedin Tips for CFOs




Lies and Resumes

Lies, even teeny tiny exaggerations, on resumes are never a good thing. In fact, the combination is almost always a recipe for disaster … eventually.

It seems odd to me that in the world of Internet transparency in which we find ourselves today, that anyone would actually consider falsifying their resume. And yet, a recent article the confirms the practice is still ongoing.

“At the end of the day, lying is lying,” says Leadbeater. “But if you are a CFO, you’re supposed to be this figure of knowledge, power and importance — someone who is going to be making strategic decisions about money and the way the company works. And it’s like, if you thought it was OK to lie about this, what else do you think it’s OK to lie about?”

If you have to ask yourself, “does this cross the line,” … the line of truthfulness has already been crossed.

I recently read an article that talked about how to game Linkedin if you’re unemployed. I’m not publishing the link because I am appalled at the suggestion to lie in order to achieve a higher search ranking. I’ll just say … don’t do it. What might seem like a short-term win won’t end well. And besides, recruiters just aren’t that stupid.

The 5 Best Things You Can Do for Your Career

Last year I wrote an article for APF Futures in Finance on the 5 Worst Things You Could Do for Your Career. A repost of that article on Proformative in April this year garnered over 11,000 views … a Proformative record.

It also generated a request for a post on the 5 Best Things, which is this basis of this month’s Futures in Finance article.

– Plan well, and plan early

– Position yourself from value

– Build your digital footprint

– Network, network, network

– Reach out to recruiters before you need them

While all five of these tips are necessary, you need to do all of them immediately. It’s a journey to unearth and formulate your branded value messaging. It’s a process to create and expand your digital footprint. Networking, including with recruiters, is a good career management habit. I would encourage you to begin the journey… today!

5 Best Things for Your Career

Recruiter … Linkedin Style

Passive Job Candidates

If you’ve been procrastinating – or even flat outright resisting – creating a profile on Linkedin, I hope you will read, and then re-think, your decision. If you are on Linkedin, but without an actual presence – and there is a big difference – again, I hope you will re-think that strategy after reading this article.

Linkedin Recruiter is a stealth hiring tool that specifically targets passive candidates. Since I believe that you are the most marketable as a passive candidate who is not actively in the job market, here are my top three recommendations for leveraging that positioning via Linkedin Recruiter …

1 – Create a Compelling Marketing Message

2 – Work Your Message Consistently

3 – Building Your Network

Bottom line, you have to play the game in order to win the game! And that game is currently Linkedin Recruiter.

Read the entire article in AFP’s Futures in Finance May 2013 newsletter.

If I Don’t Know You, I Won’t Refer You

Two recent contacts made me think – again – about the perception of “casualness” that pervades social media. There is no question, that social media can create a casual atmosphere, and in some situations it is appropriate and even welcomed.

However, I draw a clear line between professional and casual. Is it professional to make requests through social media of people you don’t know or barely know? For example …

A Book Request

Recently I received a direct message through Twitter with a request to “tweet out” this person’s newly-released book. I don’t know the author other than to be a follower on Twitter. I don’t have the book nor have I read the book. So, I honestly can’t promote the book.

Because of the casual and informal nature of social media, there is a presumption that others will promote someone else’s stuff even if they know nothing about that stuff.

Linkedin Mass Mail

This was an email from someone who is not a direct connection on Linkedin, but apparently, we share a common group. And this person, again someone I don’t know, was asking first, for my business and secondly, if I couldn’t use his help, for referrals from my client base. Really?

Now in my post-email exchanges with this person, he said this wasn’t a mass mail and that’s fine. But, why would you send a request for help addressed generically to “Hello:”? Whether it was a mass mail or not, it certainly had the look of a mass mail.

This is NOT, however, a good networking strategy nor a good Linkedin strategy. Networking requires relationship. Referrals require relationship. Relationship doesn’t exist in this situation, only a request from anybody and everybody in this particular group who “might” be in a position to make blind referrals.

I value my clients’ confidentiality and loyalty far above helping someone I don’t know. Even if I didn’t, this is still poor social media etiquette.

These events are not isolated, just recent, and they help me to understand why CFOs and other Finance Executives are so reticent to become visible. Thank goodness there is a delete button! Trust me, it is much easier to be visible and use the delete button than it is to be invisible and not found by those looking for your talent.

What’s your biggest social media peeve?

CFOs, Interviews, and Social Media

Imagine that you were finishing up a recruiter interview in anticipation of being moved forward in the interview process for your dream job. It had, in your estimation, gone exceedingly well, and you knew the grilling, I mean interview, was about over. You’re beginning to relax, sitting back in your seat, quite confident you did your best and the end of this interview is in sight.

And then, the final question is lobbed your way … “so tell me about your executive presence online.”

According to one member of the Financial Executives Networking Group (FENG), that is exactly what happened during his most recent interview. Here are his words from that newsletter, quoted with permission …

<<The last question was the one I have not had presented to me before and it was

“Have you always had and do you now have an executive presence on social media?” 

I noted their stares as I responded; of course I have always maintained this.

So note this for your future interviews and discussions so that you are not only prepared to answer but also to ensure you are able to address any deficiencies in your past social media experience>>

Rest assured, the recruiter who asked the question already knew most of the answer because that candidate had already been Googled. The recruiter knew what Google said about him, whether the message was clear or whether it was a mixed message, and how consistent the candidate was about keeping his digital footprint current.

It is quite likely that a recruiter will know that information about you, too, as part of assessing whether or not you’re a viable candidate. So here’s my question … Is your phone ringing?

Linkedin: What You Don’t Know Could Damage Your Career

A week or so ago I caught up with one of my recruiter friends and as usual, our conversation turned to what’s happening in the world of CFO recruiting. Since he’s a small boutique recruiter with fingers on the pulse of his geographic area, it’s always interesting to hear how what he sees locally aligns with what I am seeing nationally.

It was an illuminating conversation. And what he said about Linkedin Recruiter lines right up with an article I saw today on Here’s an excerpt, but the article is critically important to read in its entirety.

Tucked behind your professional, yet pretty, profile picture, the descriptions of all your past jobs, and that column of “People You May Know” is a section of LinkedIn that most people have never heard of, let alone seen. And yet it’s the real reason why you should actually care about sprucing up your LinkedIn profile and network.

Enter Linkedin Recruiter. And apparently companies are having such success with Linkedin Recruiter that third party recruiters are being hired primarily today for hard-to-fill positions. I see a lot of hungry recruiters in the near future who will be forced to either transform their business models or change careers. Yes, even at the C-level according to my recruiter colleague.

Remember not too long ago, one of the top recruiting firms notified candidates they would no longer be accepting resumes but would be, instead, searching Linkedin profiles instead? Linkedin Recruiter is undoubtedly a part of that decision.

If you are going to be making a career move in the future (and unless retirement is your next move, that is pretty much every CFO or Finance Executive reading this post), today is not a moment too soon to either join Linkedin and/or get your profile complete and compelling. Your ability to move quickly, effortlessly, and painlessly may just depend on it.

Lest you think I exaggerate, let me leave you with the words of Ed Nathanson, Director of Talent Acquisition at Rapid7 …

In other words, Nathanson finds the vast majority of future employees on LinkedIn. And if you aren’t on LinkedIn? He’ll probably never find you. And even if he did, he probably wouldn’t hire you. “I’m always amazed at people who aren’t there now,” Nathanson says. “When I talk to candidates and they aren’t on there that’s a big red flag for me.”