Is That Job Offer in Writing?

Do you remember the days when one’s word and a handshake could seal a deal, and to not honor it would cast a deep, dark stain on your character? Me neither … although I have heard the stories. Today it is all about written, binding contracts and lawsuits that keep lawyers happy and well-fed.

Today, our words are often empty and meaningless, albeit … polite. And as a result, there is another kind of story taking over that while casting a dark stain on a company, they rarely care. This new story involves a verbal job offer that is rescinded or revoked before the proffered start date.

Words and a handshake of agreement have little to do in our world today. And they have absolutely nothing to do with a verbal job offer. Unless that offer is in writing AND signed, it is merely words that may or may not be retracted at any time no matter how sincere you believe the intent.

It is sad that our words mean so little today. For example, have you ever …

— told someone you would call them back with a decision … but did not? This is a point of great contention with my CFO clients and recruiters.

— agreed to pass on someone’s resume … but did not? You may have had the best of intentions, but it is still buried somewhere on your desk because you are busy solving challenges that have taken precedence.

— offered to make introductions to folks in your network … but did not? This is one of the best ways to cultivate relationships, so not following through can prove disastrous to your future networking efforts.

I think we can all probably remember a time when we acted contrary to our words, even when we had the best of intentions at the time. Sometimes we even say things to be nice or polite but have no intention of doing what we said. That becomes a very big deal when believing a verbal offer means something it may not.

Nick Corcodilos has written a couple of articles (here and here) about this disgraceful situation, which no one in our industry, and I’m sure no jobseeker, wishes to see become a trend.

Two pieces of advice …

Don’t think a verbal offer is iron-clad.Unless you have a written, signed offer which you have also signed and accepted, all you have are words. Don’t confuse the two.

Don’t put in your notice unless and until you have accepted and returned a written, signed offer.

It’s sad that we so often do not say what we mean and mean what we say. If you’ve got a verbal offer, don’t celebrate prematurely. Get it in writing and when it is signed, sealed, and delivered … then, celebrate! When you are done celebrating, update your resume and your Linkedin profile!


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

Whose Responsibility Is It?

I was contacted last week by a CFO expressing great frustration in his job search. Why, he asked, was he the only one who could see how easily he could make the transition back into a private industry leadership role after being out of private industry for the last 10+ years. He was confident those last 10 years only ADDED to his ability to lead a finance department. Looking at his marketing documents, I understood why.

My question to him – and to you – is this …

Whose responsibility is it to connect the dots so your value is obvious? Yours? Or, the prospective company?

There is no question that the job search today is challenging. However, it is made all the more exasperating by, in my opinion, these two things … 

Not understanding your positioning 

It is not what you did (responsibilities) that a company is buying. It is your ability to solve problems, and particularly their problems, that they will pay good money to get. If you aren’t positioned as a problem solver, your positioning is weak, vulnerable, and suspect and relegates you to commodity status.

Maybe you do understand your value proposition, and you can even clearly articulate it. Do your marketing documents convey the same message? Resume writing is about strategy, which is why templates often fail to make the grade. A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t a good marketing document strategy, nor is it a good candidate strategy.

–Being all things to all people

Being niched … and branded … I am a bit biased in this regard. Still, my belief is that being a subject matter expert trumps being a generalist; knowing a lot about a little is more valued than knowing a little about a lot; and everyone has one or two things at which they excel and would differentiate them from the competition. Most people just haven’t taken the time to figure it out. Rather, they rush into a job search trying to be all things to all people in order to get that next position. 

If you can’t clearly convey why you are the best of the best at solving a company’s financial/operational problems, the prospective company probably won’t take time to figure it out either. That responsibility is yours as the seller of Product You.