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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The Difficult Truth About the Job Search

Searching for a new job is tough. In fact, it might be one of the toughest, and certainly more stressful, things you will do in your career. For CFOs, there is only one position available (sans division or unit roles) and only so many companies who need your skills. The competition can be fierce.

Lately, I’ve seen much frustration among job seekers on Linkedin. One of my connections said … “Personally, I find searching for a new professional opportunity to be one of the most frustrating experiences anyone can go through during their career.” Yes, yes it is. And the break down of communication between decision-maker, HR, and candidate only adds to the frustration.

Another one of my connections – a CFO candidate – said that after applying for 400+ jobs on Linkedin, he was closing his account. The fact that he found 400 jobs to which he applied is nothing short of amazing. That none of them panned out, though, does not surprise me.

Here are 5 tips to help you avoid falling into the ego bashing, anxiety-ridden, torturous, frustrating, and difficult trap that can be part of the journey called job search.

– Don’t Take Rejection Personally

Easy to say; tough to do.

The right-fitting opportunity is extremely personal … for the candidate and for the company. However, neither of you benefit when the wrong person – from a culture fit perspective – is hired.

Just like you don’t win every business deal, you will not win every opportunity. Hold on to that professional perspective as much as possible.

– Leverage Your Network

Your network will always generate the best possible job leads. Always. Building your network before you need to use your network is always the best scenario. However, there is never a bad time to begin the building process.

When you don’t have a network, you are at the mercy of job boards. Which brings me to my next point.

– Don’t Get Seduced by the Job Posting Game

And such seduction it is. You find a listing. It appears to align perfectly with your skills. You send off your resume. And … nothing. The lure of the job posting game is the seeming ease in matching candidates to jobs. It isn’t and it rarely does, especially at the CFO level.

Devoting no more than 10% of your overall job search time to the job boards will go a long way towards reducing your angst. Your network is a much better source for finding those truly right-fitting opportunities.

– Your Search is Your Job, Treat it as Such

The easiest way to hit job search burnout is by forgetting to create a plan and then work your plan. At the end of the day (whether that is 4 hours, 6 hours, or 8 hours), it is important to put your job search activities aside and do something for yourself. The job search can be grueling; don’t let it also become all-consuming.

– It’s Not Over Until You’ve Landed … and then, Not Really

Don’t give up, or even ease up, on your job search activities until you have a signed, sealed, and delivered offer and have started your job. Even after you’ve landed, remember … you really are, in all likelihood, only between searches.

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.

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.

Burning Bridges Can Burn You

You know the importance of not burning bridges when things go sour at work and you end up losing your job. But in the heat of the moment, and being human, we might just forget that critically important head knowledge and react rather than respond.

It’s not always easy to leave on good terms, especially when you’ve been wronged. However, there is leaving with hard feelings, which can be understood, and leaving by throwing a grenade behind you and completely charring anything and everything behind you.

A few weeks ago there was just such a moment in my Linkedin newsfeed. This gentleman, obviously hurt and angry, took his emotional reaction one step further by publicly eviscerating his boss, and then stating that he was looking for a new position within a specific geographic region.

In this age of social media, you just know this is going to go south for him quite rapidly. In fact, it is no doubt already there. The world is a very small place, made smaller by geography and industry. The scathing words posted on a public forum can, and no doubt will, be found by those within the search community. And, it is almost impossible to “take them back.” And what was said and how it was said speak volumes about who this person is.

Here are a couple suggestions so you don’t end up in the heat of the moment saying or doing something that you will ultimately regret. And let’s not forget the unforgiving press releases that are circulated on social media when a CFO does lose his position, because somebody has to take the fall.

Maintain control by being proactive

Losing control is never fun. If you wait until you need a job before you position yourself to get that next opportunity, you are not in control. Rather, you are at the mercy of companies and recruiters and the entire train wreck that constitutes the job search process.

Long before you need a job or want a new position, with “long” being defined as 9-12 months, begin positioning yourself for that new position. You are much more desirable as a candidate when you have value but don’t need a job than you are when you are unemployed and in need. You can always say no to an opportunity. But you want those opportunities coming your way even while gainfully employed so that you maintain control of your career.

Find a non-public outlet for your emotional roller coaster

This goes beyond just the immediate reaction of losing your position. It carries right into the interview process. Even if you are using all the right words, any anger or feelings of injustice can slip through in your tone and your body language.

If you can leave on good terms, great. If you can’t, practice telling your story, honestly and truthfully, free from any lingering hostile emotions until you can do talk about what happened without any negativity in your delivery and body language. It is not easy, but it is necessary. Having the exact right opportunity within reach only to lose it to lingering negativity would only add more fuel to the anger.

Give me a call if you need help with value positioning or working through how to talk about your last employment situation or anything else related to the frustrating job search 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.

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.