Social Media Overreach

If you’ve been following my articles and posts for any length of time, you know that I am an avid believer that Linkedin is a MUST for CFOs and Finance Executives. From a professional perspective, Linkedin is the best of what is available for building a robust and compelling digital footprint, sans your own website. And today, a digital footprint is a necessity for any Finance Leader who anticipates a job search at some future point.

As in any job search, maintaining control is imperative. In order to retain control of your Linkedin profile, I suggest becoming familiar with the privacy settings in your account.

To do that, log into “Settings & Privacy” through the dropdown box at the top left underneath your picture. Once you are there, take a look around. You might be very surprised at the default settings Linkedin has chosen for you.

For example, under the first section in the “Privacy” category, there is a sub-category called “Microsoft Word” which says this …

I don’t know about you, but after I invested sweat equity in creating a compelling profile that is unique to me, I am not at all interested in Microsoft Word “taking” my carefully crafted language and using it in their “Resume Assistant” feature.

Which brings me to a second point. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, don’t use a resume template program that gives you canned phrases to fill in the blanks. You need to own your message and it needs to convey your marketable value. Otherwise, you run the risk of being perceived as a commodity -or- inauthentic when your verbal message doesn’t align with your written message.

A resume and Linkedin profile are not superficial strategies, or at least they shouldn’t be. They are, and should be, the culmination of the hard work to uncover and hone your value messaging to your target audience. And a resume template program should not be permitted to “take” your carefully crafted messaging … at least in my humble opinion.


Copyright CFO-Coach 2018


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, by phone 813-727-3037, or through her website at

The Challenging C-Level Job Search

It can take 9-12 months to find that next right-fitting position … are never words my prospective Finance Executive clients want to hear. However, setting up realistic expectations ultimately translates to less frustration and impatience during what can be a very long and challenging journey.

Recently I participated in a conversation on Facebook that spoke directly to this issue. The original post noted that on average, it takes 42-70 days to fill a job vacancy. That comment quickly turned to the length of a C-level search.

This conversation again points to the wisdom of starting an executive job search well in advance of wanting or needing a new position. In fact, recognizing that being employed only means you are between searches is the key to executing good career management habits and facilitating smoother transitions.

Whether your search takes 4 months, 6 months, or 12+ months, there are a few things you can be doing while you are still gainfully and happily employed and thinking about your next career step.

Remember that finding the right fit takes time.

Attracting recruiters and companies who need what you bring to the table and are willing to pay, and pay well, to get it takes intentionality … and time. If you are considering making a move within the next 12-18 months, it is not too early to begin the process.

The pursued has the most power.

When you are being pursued (vs. doing the pursing), you occupy the power position in compensation negotiations. Make sure your marketable value message is compelling and visible to the companies and recruiters who need to know about your career contributions and impacts so they can find you when they need a CFO with your talent.

Balance is key!

The best Chief Financial Officer positions are rarely found on public job boards. Executing a balanced search plan that includes a strong network, visibility among your target market and recruiters, and a proactive campaign aimed at companies on your hit list will garner much better results than a search plan that consists primarily of forwarding your resume to blind ads.

When you have the luxury of time, you can afford to wait for that right-fitting opportunity rather than make a choice out of desperation that may or may not be the right fit.


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, 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





CFO Turnover

According to data by Korn Ferry International’s financial-officer practice …

“Between 2010 and 2011, a CFO was almost three times as likely to leave a company when a new chief executive was hired from outside, rather than promoted internally.”

I’ll let the Wall Street Journal speak to the specifics of those numbers … and I’ll talk about what every wise Finance Chief should take away from the numbers.


At the risk of beating a dead horse, there are a few realities that come with losing a job.

To busy working to think about your career?
To busy working to think about your career?

You can be completely blindsided. Yes, even those who deal with the corporation’s finances can get hit from left field. Working one day, unemployed the next. It happens. And it has the potential to be devastating on so many levels when / if it does happen.

You’ve lost the power of passive positioning. There are none so loved and desired as those Finance Executives and Chief Financial Officers who are gainfully employed and seemingly happy and content. You are no different from a skill set perspective than while you were employed, but you are now wearing the black mark of unemployment … and that’s just an additional challenge to overcome in a journey that is already very challenging.

Network? What network? Remember how you were so busy working your job that you didn’t have time to network? Well, now you have all the time in the world. The problem is … your network knows exactly what you need and what it is unable to deliver (a job) most of the time.

Time is of the essence, I’ll just throw a resume together. Big mistake. You know the old cliche “you get one chance to make a first impression”? Yes, it applies to your job search. It is not only difficult to rebound and reposition yourself from that first impression, but it takes some time to figure out what it is about you that is marketable … what a company would be willing to pay, and pay well to get. If you don’t know those things, your resume won’t matter.

The latest statistics from the 20th annual Execunet Job Market Intelligence Report, senior executives are taking an average of 5.7 months to transition. Realistically, plan on 9 months.

Don’t get blindsided. Long before you want to move into a new position, at least move in the direction of being prepared for the next great opportunity!

Only “Sitting” CFOs Need Apply!

I had a call from a recruiter who places CFOs today. As you might expect, he was looking for a particular type of CFO with specific industry experience. And a CPA. It’s a mid-six-figure salary. And … any referral candidates must be sitting CFOs!

Sitting. Employed. Passive. Desirable.

The candidate pool would likely be much larger if he was looking at unemployed prospects. But he isn’t. And that is probably a part of the specs he received from the client company.

— Rarely will a company look at hiring a recruiter to find those candidates who are easily found in all the public job boards.

— Rarely is a really good CFO position advertised, particularly with any kind of identifiable information included.

— Rarely is a recruiter going to find qualified and quality CFO candidates on job boards.

— Rarely is securing any executive finance position a cakewalk.

The job market is tough. Don’t make it even tougher by waiting until you lose your current job to begin thinking about your next job.

Executive Job Market Intelligence Report

Career practitioners eagerly await publication of Execunet’s Job Market Intelligence Report every year, and the 2012 edition is due out in early spring. But, Execunet has released some new trends from its 20th annual issue, and with its permission, I’m sharing that information with you as well.

Here’s what Executives said:

  1. They now anticipate spending 5.7 months on average looking for their next position
  2. They expect a 13% increase in salary when taking a new position
  3. Fifty-two percent of executives surveyed said were considering leaving their current position in the last year
  4. Only 30% of employed executives foresee their current organizations will experience high turnover in the coming year

Recruiters said:

  1. They expect a 14% increase in assignments for 2012
  2. The Top 5 industries for job growth in 2012 are:
    • Healthcare
    • Technology
    • Manufacturing
    • Business Services
    • Energy

You can find even more stats at the Execunet site.

With 52% of executives considering a change of scenery, competition is only going to increase among the best-of-the-best. And today, companies are only interested in hiring the “best-of-the-best.”

  • Do you bring a proven record of contributions?
  • Are you positioned as a “high-value” target?
  • Can you be found?
  • Do you have the Two Powerful Weapons in your arsenal that can boost your career competitiveness?

Now, while you are gainfully employed and hold the power of passive positioning, is the BEST time to begin ensuring recruiters and companies see you as the “best-of-the-best” of CFOs.

The Resume Evolution

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article entitled “No More Resumes, Say Some Firms.” While the title is a little exaggerated, I can safely say I’m glad I’m not a resume writer! More about that in a moment.

The resume is certainly evolving, but it has been evolving for years. Now though, resumes are going head-to-head with branded visibility via social media … and social media is winning.

What does moving beyond the resume and leveraging social media mean for CFOs? I’m glad you asked.

It might mean the difference between …

— Being found … or not

— Being perceived as embracing change … or not

— Having a Web 2.0 presence … or holding an outdated resume

— Being viewed as someone who understands the text generation … or a dinosaur heading towards extinction

— Creating visibility around subject matter positioning … or being outflanked by a competitor

— Being hunted for great opportunities … or becoming a full-time hunter in a very competitive market

And most importantly … branded visibility via social media could mean …

— Trumping the competition because it is so readily apparent that you fit within a company’s culture.

“We are most interested in what people are like, what they are like to work with, how they think.” Christina Cacioppo

I’ll be covering why branded visibility is so critically important to your executive career in the Proformative webinar scheduled for Friday, January 27 at 11:00 Eastern. If you are a member of the Proformative community, I hope you’ll join us.

P.S. There’s a big difference between a resume writer and a personal brand strategist. You may or may not need a resume one day, but you will absolutely  – always – need to understand, and be able to articulate, your compelling value proposition and market differentiation. That’s an investment with a great ROI.

Linked In for CFOs

My friend and colleague CFO Search Expert Samuel Dergel provided his insights around CFOs using Linked In in his blog yesterday. You do read his blog right? Because he provides some great insights!

While Samuel is looking through the lens of hiring, here’s my perspective on a few of his comments, based on what I’m seeing, and hearing from, my clients …

Our own research shows that LinkedIn is not as great a source for CFO candidates as people think.”

Technically, I agree with Samuel’s observation because of the next two statements. However, 90+ percent of my CFO clients tell me they get solid recruiter contacts offering great opportunities through their Linked In profiles.

It may not be “as great” a source for CFO candidates, but for those CFOs who have compelling, branded profiles and who work to maintain their subject matter positioning, it is generating a substantial ROI.

“Look at the blog and you will notice that not all CFOs are on LinkedIn.”

True that … and those who aren’t are missing out on the opportunity to leverage great passive positioning and visibility.

Conversely, there are almost 600 Chief Financial Officers (alright 598 at the time of writing) in the CFO Careers forum. All CFOs. These social media savvy CFOs have a huge advantage over their less visible counterparts … IF … they have a well-written, compelling, complete profile. (Yes, it takes all three.)

— “You will notice that of those CFOs that are on LinkedIn, a good number of them have weak or ineffective profiles, with few connections”

Yes, this is definitely a problem. And not just for Finance Executives. How your profile is written speaks volumes. What it says will either benefit your positioning or seriously injure your positioning.

Even if the first contact doesn’t come through Linked In, chances are good that you will be Googled. A branded profile, an incomplete profile, a poorly-written profile, or no profile will all be factored in to the results of that Google search.

In this tough, competitive, and volatile market, a well-branded profile on Linked In is a smart career management strategy.

Email Insanity

Monday’s blog post focused on the challenges of using a home phone number on your resume. But, what about your email address? That … may prove to be an even bigger issue for CFOs and Finance Executives.

I send out a quarterly email to my distribution list with a few career tips, trends, insights, and articles, and last night was the last one for 2011. If you’re not on my email list but would like to be, please send me an email and I’ll be happy to include you.

Anyway, a few emails were returned as undeliverable, which got me thinking about how short-sighted it is to use a temporary email address. Suppose a recruiter pulled your 2-year old resume out of her database and emailed you about a great opportunity … only to receive back an undeliverable notice. Your loss!

I have a few other thoughts on email addresses. Are you surprised?

— AOL and Hotmail addresses send the wrong message … ancient, tech-dinosaur, amateur. Besides, they are hotbeds for hackers and the last thing you want/need is for a recruiter or influential contact to get an XXX-rated spam. Get rid of those email addresses and use gmail.

— Use an address that is permanent. It may cost you a few spammed or unwanted emails, but you want recruiters and companies to always be able to reach out to you … particularly in this tough, competitive market.

— Making someone work to reach you isn’t the best strategy either. Unless you really are a “dream” candidate, the recruiter might not be interested in registering as an accepted recipient through your spam filter. Make it easy for them to reach you.

— Don’t use your company email address – definitely not on your resume and not as your primary Linked In address either. It, too, sends the wrong message on your resume. And, when your job is gone, so is your ability to access your Linked In account.

What does your email address say about you? Is it accurate?

A Fraction of the Job Responsibilities at Half the Salary

A story on Forbes from back in May this year caught my attention when I read the title“Should you accept a job that pays half your former salary.” There are some CFOs who are indeed wrestling with that decision, while some unemployed Finance Executives wish that decision was theirs to make.

The reality is that things are not going to get a whole lot better in the next year or two from a job search perspective. The market is going to remain incredibly competitive for those top positions, with companies seemingly to take forever to make hiring decisions.

Let me speak first to the unemployed and then to those who still have the luxury of passive positioning.

Unemployed …

If what you’ve been doing is not generating the kinds of results you want, it’s time to do something different or some things differently. When you are carrying around the black mark of unemployment, a clear and compelling value proposition, strong communication message, and a consistent search strategy comprised of multiple tactics is a necessity.

Being visible with a marketable value proposition (possessing something a company wants and needs and is willing to pay to get) is much different than having visibility as an unemployed Chief Financial Officer.

I see resumes every single day that are responsibility-based. It’s not what you’ve done, it’s how you’ve impacted. And that message needs … NEEDS … to infiltrate every aspect of your marketing message.

Passively positioned …

Don’t wait another moment to do the kinds of things that make sense from a career management perspective. Pinpoint your value proposition. Hone your value-oriented communication message. Network. Distinguish yourself as a subject matter expert. Get visible.

If you do these things now, while you’re employed, you just might avoid having to answer the question … should I or shouldn’t I accept a position that is a step down and pays a fraction of what I was making.

CFOs & Recruiters: Respect & Responsiveness

Last week, CFO recruiter Samuel Dergel guest authored a post summarizing the results of a poll which asked “what’s your biggest beef in working with recruiters.” That poll is still open if you would like to provide your feedback.

One very big issue was respect … or more accurately, the lack of respect recruiters showed prospective Chief Financial Officer candidates. The other was responsiveness. I’m not sure these are restricted to recruiters and CFOs. Sadly, I believe there is a lack of courtesy, respect, and professionalism that seems to envelop the world today.

Nonetheless, the lack of respect and responsiveness are real issues that contribute to the strained relationship between finance executives and recruiters, causing recruiters to be viewed skeptically, as a necessary evil, and with little trust in the relationship. That’s unfortunate, because top-notch candidates are what earn a recruiter his commission. You might recall my previous blog post about CFOs having long memories about recruiter treatment.

Let me offer three suggestions that might help create the environment that will build respect and foster responsiveness:

— Create exclusivity

Given a choice, would you rather have the best-of-the-best, even if you have to work harder to get it, or the generic thing everyone else has? If your resume is plastered all over the public job boards, exclusivity is non-existent. In fact, it suggests easy availability and perhaps even desperation.

— Build allure and interest

The visible, compelling value proposition of a passive candidate is intriguing to recruiters. The “hunt” of the hard-to-catch can go a long way towards building respect and even encouraging responsiveness … when you have something they want.

— Cultivate recruiter relationships BEFORE you need recruiters

When you “need” a job, recruiters don’t necessarily need “you.” You bring nothing to the table – unless you happen to be that rare, exact match for an open req. However, when you are happily employed, not looking, very accomplished, and you hold passive candidate desirability, recruiters are more likely to want to know you. Want (as in a recruiter wanting you on his radar screen) is a powerful motivator for generating responsiveness.

Will these three things curb unprofessional or disrespectful behavior? Absolutely not. But, if you have solid relationships with recruiters in place long before you need them and you have something compelling they want, you can more easily determine the respectful, trustworthy, and responsive recruiters … with the luxury of time to weed out everyone else.