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

Rejection and the Job Search Process

Nine years ago I wrote an article about the train wreck known as the job search process. Not much has changed since then. In fact, last week a Director of Recruiting & Training, who just happens to be in the midst of her own job search, posted on Linkedin about the various ways candidates can be rejected. Beyond being a horror story, it is an eye-opening and sobering read, and at the time of this posting there were probably 10 or so “named” ways of being rejected as a candidate.

Here are two of my thoughts on the interviewing part of the job search process.

Rejection Just Might be the Hardest Part of the Job Search

It seems like it should be so easy … find a posted position that fits your skills perfectly, send off your resume, and wait – and wait – and wait. More often than not, what you hear is silence. On a good day, you might get a canned thanks, but no thanks response.

The same thing can happen in the interview process. You walk away thinking you nailed it or the recruiter sounds all hot-to-trot to present you, and again – rejection is the frequent response.

Job searching and interviewing are not for the faint-of-heart. It is a tough journey, it can take several attempts to get to yes, and even the most confident CFO can take a beating while getting to that yes. Like in sales, rejection is part of the process. It is just not the fun part. It is the reason I evangelize the premise of looking for your next position while you are still gainfully, and perhaps even happily, employed. The effect of rejection is exacerbated when you are unemployed.

The fact remains, however, that many Finance Leaders ARE unemployed and looking for that next opportunity. Many of my CFO clients over the years have verbalized their frustration at the unprofessional and discourteous way post-interview interactions, or lack thereof, are handled. It is completely understandable … because it is a broken process that favors the company and not the candidate.

It’s Not Over Until You Are Gainfully Employed …

Don’t let up, even a little bit, on your job search activities until you have a signed, sealed, and delivered employment agreement AND you are actually in the first day of your new job. Derailment can happen anytime through this process; meaning, it is not a done deal until the deal is finished. Walking away from an interview you believe you nailed and thinking you can now coast can prove to be a grave mistake.

It isn’t over until the first day you are gainfully employed. Even then, don’t stop all your networking activities. You may just need those contacts again in the future.


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



Your Plan B should really be your Plan A!

Our economy is in a state of volatility, the likes of which most of us have never experienced. Unprecedented debt, a massive federal government, and high unemployment … and that’s just for starters.

The tendency might be for Senior Finance Leaders to be thankful they’ve got a job and hunker down. And while that might not be a bad idea, please don’t even consider hunkering unless you are fully prepared for the unexpected … the loss of your position.

Caution: This is NOT the time to rest on the illusion of corporate loyalty.

The best time to find your next position is while you are gainfully and happily employed. Leverage that power. If you received a call from a recruiter tomorrow for the opportunity of a lifetime, could you hang up the phone and send off a current resume?

Since Chief Financial Officers have the pulse of the numbers like no one else in the company, they can see the writing on the wall long before it’s visible to anyone else. At that point, though, it might be too late to take advantage of a 9-to-12-month lead time for finding that next opportunity.

If you wouldn’t run your company without a backup plan that you can seamlessly move to in the event of an unforeseen emergency, don’t run your career without one either.

If, for whatever reason, your CFO position was eliminated tomorrow, are you okay because you’ve been consistently working your career plan? Or, would you be caught unprepared … with no plan, no network, no visibility, and no marketing documents at the ready?

The CFO-Recruiter Love-Hate Relationship

Does it feel like working with recruiters is great when things are good (i.e., they’re accessible, responsive, communicative) and horrible when they’re not (the only noise you hear are crickets)?

Are recruiters cozying up to you when you’re the decision-maker with the authority to sign that nice, big commission check … and then MIA when you’re in the hunt for your next opportunity?

In a survey a few months ago with my C-suite colleagues, 12% of the responding senior executives indicated recruiters were a very effective strategy and 35% effective … with almost identical numbers on the ineffective side: 42% somewhat and 12% not at all effective.

CFO recruiter Samuel Dergel and I have been discussing this love-hate relationship over the past several months and we are eager to hear specifically from Chief Finance Executives and Senior Finance Leaders on what bugs you most about working with recruiters.

Are recruiters a necessary evil in the C-suite? What’s your biggest beef in the recruiter relationship saga? Please add your voice to our one question survey … and watch for our blog posts – and more – as we address your biggest CFO recruiter beefs.

CFO Optimism is Down

So is hiring according to the latest Duke / CFO Global Business Outlook Survey. Dismal numbers by any standards …

“Full-time domestic hiring will continue to be anemic, with finance chiefs saying they will increase staffs by less than 1% in the next 12 months. That number, also down from last quarter, means that unemployment will likely linger at its current rate of just over 9%. Twenty-one percent of CFOs say they are actively hiring, while another 16% say they are short-staffed but lack the resources to hire. Nine percent say they are short-staffed and would like to hire but are having trouble finding the types of employees they need.”

While this survey addresses who CFOs are hiring, it does NOT address CFOs who are being hired. According to my clients and recruiters with whom I network, movement among CFOs is definitely up, and so is demand!

— In the first few months of this year, there were 4 simultaneous private equity-backed CFO searches in the Tampa Bay area. A first according to a 20-year recruiting veteran.

— Two of my clients have recently juggled multiple offers.

— Recruiters, with great opportunities for Chief Financial Officers, are targeting those Finance Leaders with branded, compelling, value-oriented Linked In profiles for those potential opportunities.

— Recruiters are calling me for leads to great CFO candidates.

Today, more than any other time in history, being a competitive candidate means having World Class positioning. I’ll be hosting a roundtable at the CFO Core Concerns Conference in Chicago on Tuesday morning, June 14, to discuss why that positioning is critical to your career and must-take steps to secure it. Hope to see you there!

Personal Responsibility & Integrity

Is personal responsibility, and therefore integrity, at worst, dead? Or, at best, heading the way of the dinosaur? Or, is it just me?

I think there’s a cliche that says something like … say what you mean and mean what you say. Is that really too difficult today? Is acting authentically and consistently, within our personal values, a thing of the past? Or, is it something that sounds good in theory but not possible practically?

Take, for example, a recent article in Compliance Week entitled “Wayward CFOs Often Coerced by CEOs.” I’m thrilled to know that CFOs, who are tempted to blur the lines, aren’t necessarily going down the wrong path because they, themselves, have something to gain personally. But how very sad that Finance Leaders would fall on their sword, and thus go against their own personal values of integrity and honesty, for a boss and in order to keep a job.

“The Importance of Character” appeared on the AmEx Open Forum today and this line jumped out at me:

Years ago, I read a line in a book which said: “When in doubt, act like the Chairman would.” Is the “years ago” part telling?

The author goes on to say:

Leadership is a privilege and with it, come certain obligations, one of which is that leaders need to instill trust in people that they will do the right things, regardless of whether or not they are being watched.

Integrity. Personal responsibility.

A new report from the Quarterly Corporate Fraud Index Network produced by The Network and BDO Consulting, and posted by, says reported fraud jumped in the first quarter of 2011 to a near all-time high.

Is this a result of the lack of integrity and personal responsibility?

As a grandmother (ha, you didn’t know I was that old did you?) I wonder … will personal responsibility and integrity be merely remembered as a “fad of the past” by the time my grandchildren are grown? Will they understand the consequences of always shifting the blame toward someone else rather than standing firm for what they know is right and true and which they value, or will that (a lack of personal responsibility and integrity) just be the new societal norm?

What is the legacy we are leaving for future generations? I know. Lots of questions and very little wisdom from this corner of the world today.

Branding & Culture Fit

Those seem to be two very hot topics these days! And they are topics that are relevant to Chief Financial Officers and other Finance Leaders.

A few days ago, after reading Fortune’s article, “Is it better to hire for cultural fit over experience,” I posted this in my Linked In CFO Careers group “A strong, compelling, and visible brand takes the question of culture fit completely off the table!” My comment was in response, in part, to these comments from the Fortune article …

“the most qualified candidates often do damage to a firm when they don’t jibe with the firm’s culture.”

“Cultural fit is incredibly important on a candidate’s abilities to use his skills,” says Nancy Rothbard, an associate professor of management at The Wharton School. “You have a positive effect through skills, but culture completely cancels that out.”

Cultural fit can cover a variety of characteristics, but ultimately, Rothbard and others say, the question hiring managers should be looking to answer is, does this candidate’s values align with those of the company ….”

Culture fit is THE most difficult piece of the hiring process. And while most articles speak to a company getting it right, I think it is equally important for candidates to get it right. I doubt any senior executive really wants to make a wrong decision and end up in job search mode almost immediately.

George Bradt quoted Kevin Kelly, CEO of Heidrick & Struggles, in his post about interview questions at …

“40 percent of senior executives leave organizations or are fired or pushed out within 18 months. It’s not because they’re dumb; it’s because a lot of times culturally they may not fit in with the organization or it’s not clearly articulated to them as they joined.” [emphasis mine]

Forty percentfired or pushed out within 18 months! I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be calling the shots than the one being fired at by someone else.

Enter branding, which speaks directly to culture fit. In fact, a strong brand attracts the right kind of opportunities while sending those that are a poor fit running in the opposite direction.

I believe that by the time you make it to the “Top 3”, there are really only two remaining questions on the table. Are you a fit for the company’s culture and do they like you. When you are well-branded – and visible – the culture fit question has already been answered … for both the candidate and the company, giving you a huge advantage over the other two candidates.

Passive vs. Unemployed

The debate goes on and on. And Recruiter Mark Bregman just stirred the pot  a little more with his recent post, “True or False: Available Job Candidates are Better than Ever”?

Even with an advertised unemployment rate of 10%, the perception by many recruiters and companies is that the A-players are the ones that are still employed. Therefore, in the war for top talent, the passive candidate is still the top target and the preferred prospect.

It’s not fair. And it may not even be true. But the world we live in today is based on perceptions. So …

If you are employed currently, but might consider a move within the next 1 to 3 years, begin executing your career management plan today. If you want the recruiters beating down your door as a high-value target, then you must understand your value proposition and begin creating subject matter expert positioning while you are the most marketable.

If you are unemployed, your challenge is much more difficult. Part of that difficulty comes from a) not understanding what it is about you that makes you marketable, particularly if you did not work yourself out of the job; b) relying too heavily on job postings; and / or c) a defeated or negative aura that can manifest itself in desperation after a period of months with no prospects in sight. My recommendations are a) be clear about your value and who would be willing to pay to get it, b) move away from the job postings game because it is ineffective and a waste of your valuable job search time, and c) drop any negativity or desperation off the nearest 20-foot floor building.

Even if things pick up mid-January, and that looks positive, it will remain an employer’s market. Companies will continue to want the right, top-notch Finance Leaders who are a great fit with their existing culture rather than the “perceived” B- or C-players who are more readily available.

Executives, Careers, & Social Networking

Yesterday on Twitter I mentioned that I was reading a very interesting book on social networking entitled “33 Million People in the Room” by Juliette Powell. I’m not all the way through the book, but I will be in a few more days. It’s that interesting.

It’s no surprise where I stand on the importance of having a strong online presence. I’ve mentioned that CFOs seem to be missing the boat on social media … much more so than CEOs. The curious, or maybe not, fact is that operational CFOs seem to “get” it more than the traditional finance leaders do. 

In any event, this paragraph jumped out at me last night and it’s definitely worth your consideration …

Researchers Nguyen and Dang "discovered that not only are socially well-connected CEOs more likely to make more money, they are also far less likely to be fired for poor performance, and, amazingly, they were more likely than their unconnected peers to find new and solid employment when they were shown the door.” 

Now I know the author says “CEOs” but there is no question in my mind that it applies equally to Chief Financial Officers and other Senior Finance Executives.

The author of the book also says, as I’ve said, to ignore the power of social networking is to put yourself on the path to extinction.

If you are a finance leader and want more career-related information, you can get it by following my Facebook Business Page. You DO have a Facebook account, right?

Ethics and Executives

Perhaps because integrity and honesty are high values for me, I was intrigued by the 2009 National Business Ethics Survey: Ethics in the Recession. Because of my personal branding work, this statement encouraged me to keep reading. 

“Transparency and accountability, intertwined, signal the trustworthiness of an institution and its leaders. When stakeholders are given information, governance improves.”

Evidence of transparency inside an organization is reflected by leaders who … 

–provide employees access to information that is relevant to the strategic direction and performance of the company;

–keep their promises and commitments;

–make decisions more openly;

–accept responsibility for wrongdoing; and

–reward performance that supports a transparent way of doing business.

When there are chinks in the leadership armor … inauthenticity around who you want people to believe you are and who you actually are … trust is quickly eroded.

There was an interesting correlation between employees who feel their workplace was open and informative (71%) and how they felt about senior executive compensation … 62% said compensation was appropriate, a 4% increase over 2007.

The survey went on to suggest that if senior leadership did not make corporate culture a priority, it risked long-term business challenges, with not having an ethical culture the single biggest factor for determining the amount of future misconduct. 

“Poor decisions made by even a small number of employees can substantially damage not only a business, but the industry in which it operates.” The data suggests that when the economy rights itself and business challenges ease, misconduct is likely to rise without a strong ethical culture in place. To overlook this, is to put your company at risk.  

As CFOs and strategic finance leaders, how and where can you more positively impact ethics within the culture of your organization and your immediate team? What you do and how it makes a difference are great stories for your career and your resume. Those actions may even impact your future compensation.