5 Good Reasons to NOT be on Linked In!

Facetiously speaking, of course!

Ginny Schlosser, a Senior Finance Leader and Human Capital Strategist, contributed this job search tip to last night’s FENG newsletter, and with her permission, I’m re-posting her comment and her reasons …

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I couldn’t agree with you more about establishing a LinkedIn profile.  I can’t believe it when a FENG member calls or emails me about something, then when I try to look them up in LinkedIn, either they’re not there or they’re there with no picture, no experience, and fewer than 10 connections.  REALLY?????

So, with tongue-in-cheek, I offer up these Five Good Reasons Not to be on Linked In:

1) You’re independently wealthy, and you don’t need or want to work in the finance profession any longer

2) You receive daily calls from headhunters about great jobs (decisions, decisions)

3) Your mom isn’t in Linked In, so why should you be?

4) You’ve already built a first-class website (which sings your praises) that appears at the top of every search engine’s listing of your name

5) You’re too busy networking with decision-makers at great companies

6) [Bonus Reason] You don’t believe Linked In is worth more than $5 a share, and you’re protesting the market value of approximately $100 a share

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So if you’re not on Linked In, what’s your reasoning … tongue-in-cheek or otherwise?

Ginny Schlosser can be reached via email or through her website or Linked In profile.

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.

CFOs, Linked In, and Networking

Last week’s blog post focused on offline networking mistakes and fixes. This week, after reading CFO Search expert Samuel Dergel’s two blog posts on Linked In, I decided to chime in with my thoughts on building those online networks.

Samuel’s Linked In policy is a great template for creating your own policy. And like him, I recommend you have a policy or at least some minimal guidelines in place.

There are two schools of thoughts in building Linked In networks. One is “quantity.” The other is “quality.”


This philosophy or mindset comes from the perspective that you don’t know who might be in a position to help you, so connect with everyone. It’s one that is often embraced by recruiters and sales people. Other than consulting or CFO contractors, I don’t know many CFOs who embrace the quality viewpoint.

There is nothing wrong with this perspective, but for CFOs (and other executives) it can have a downside. That is, it can negatively impact your brand. For someone who is looking at you beyond just your profile, who comprises your network might impact that first impression.

If you’ve been embracing the “quantity” strategy up to this point, it might be a good idea to take a step back and ask yourself, “who is in my network, and should they be?” And yes, there is a delete button for those that shouldn’t be.


One of my clients, a very savvy networker, has a policy that he never accepts a connection unless and until he has had a phone call and/or a face-to-face meeting with the person. As a savvy networker, he believes that the benefit of a strong network is relationship, not rolodex. Therefore, quality, not quantity.

His philosophy is reminiscent of the concepts of the great Harvey McKay in his book, “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” …

“You’ve got to dig thoughtfully, creatively, and with a little class. That’s how the network gets bigger and the well gets deeper. Then there’s the maintenance. Nothing a man or woman ever built stayed in perfect shape without a lot of TLC. Ditto your network. Staying in touch with contact is as important as getting them in the first place.” 

There is no wrong Linked In connection philosophy … only the one that is right for you.

If you are a finance executive or CFO and would like to connect with me, please send me an invitation to connect (customized invitations work really well with me). If you’re a CFO and would like to join the CFO-only careers group, please send your request to join and I’ll see you in the group!

Are you Linked In?

Tony LoPinto of Korn Ferry believes “smart professionals are well-advised to get on the [Linked In] bandwagon.” I totally agree, of course.

Linked In isn’t about job search, it’s about networking. And networking is a key piece of savvy career management to ensure you don’t end up unemployed and in a protracted hunt for your next position. It’s not enough to just be a placeholder on Linked In. Your profile has to be complete, interesting, differentiated, value-oriented, findable, and well-branded!

What passed for your daddy’s boring, paper, corporate-speak bio is your savvy, first-person, always up-to-date profile on Linked In. It is accessible to those who are interested in you, your company, and its executive management team … whether or not they personally requested information or even knew about you before they found you on Linked In.

Here’s the bottom line.

Linked In is also the place recruiters go to connect with and seek out top-notch, passive Senior Finance Executive and CFO candidates. If you aren’t there, you won’t be found.

Go on the offensive today and suggest that your entire executive team move into the 21st Century and the Web 2.0 world. That way, you’ll show up long before you even begin thinking about making your next move!

Boring paper corporate bios = dinosaur.
Linked In profiles = networked, connected, and tech savvy.

Chief Financial Officer of …. ?

One of the members of FENG (Financial Executives Networking Group) asked a great question in last night’s newsletter around what to put on a business card when you’re unemployed. I think it’s a question that is bigger than just a business card.

We live in a society where we are defined by what we do (job title), so when we don’t have that title it can sometimes also cause us to lose our identity. Your job title might be CFO, but that is your [temporary] job title. When you lose that title, you are still a talented finance executive with a record of accomplishments and potential value to a target audience.

Still, what should you put on your business card? It’s one of the many reasons I love branding. Once you understand your brand, you can pull together a power statement that encapsulates your “value” to a prospective company, irrespective of the lack of a title, ahem, being unemployed.

That brand power statement can follow you wherever you go, from one company to another. The words might change slightly over the course of your career, but the essence of who you are remains the same and forms the foundation of your digital footprint and reputation. It shows up on your business card, under your name on your Linked In profile, and in your email signature line.

That said, the more obvious things to include on your business card – and in your email signature line – are your name, phone number, email address, and Linked In profile URL.

You ARE more than just your job title!

Be Prepared

All executives might do well to embrace the old Boy Scout motto. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail.

Here are 3 things you can do today to be prepared in the event your employment should come to a screeching, and unexpected, halt.

Get your personal marketing documents ready …

and keep them updated! Rarely, if ever, can you get a top-notch resume quickly. And today, having a great resume, as well as understanding your marketable value proposition, is a necessity. Don’t wait until you need a resume, to develop your resume or update a very outdated resume.

Make sure your Linked In account is yours …

not your company’s account. Establish your own email account and open your account under that address, not your corporate email address (i.e., Cindy@gmail.com rather than Cindy@CFO-Coach.com). If you lose your job, you will also lose your account and all the contacts you’ve established.

So, be sure to download to your hard drive a copy of all your Linked In contacts on a regular basis.

Cultivate your offline network …

and develop good networking habits now, while you don’t need anything. By the time you do need help, you will have established some great inroads among people who know you, and already like and trust you.

It’s always better to be prepared than to be caught completely unaware!

Can You Be Found by Recruiters?

According to Recruiting Thought Leader Kevin Wheeler, the successful recruiter of today will possess four key skills … the ability to

— find rare talent

— build relationships

— understand technology, and

— sell and close candidates

So here are a few of my questions to you, as the high-value Senior Finance Executives and Chief Financial Officers these recruiters are seeking …

— Can you be found? Easily, or, are you so obscure as to be almost non-existent? “Rare” should be about your talent, not your visibility.

— Do you have recruiters, who specialize in your space, in your network? Do you keep in touch with them on a regular basis? An online Rolodex is very different than a vibrant relationship.

— Are you tech-savvy or moving towards extinction? Your Linked In profile may answer that question.

— Is your marketable value proposition (MVP) crystal clear to you and your target audience to make the close easier for you? What do you have that a client will pay to get because they need it to fix their problems, challenges, issues, or situation?

Finding that next “right” opportunity has never been more challenging, even for top talent. A proactive, rather than a reactive, strategy can give you the edge because the plan is being executed long before you need the job.

Linked In, Facebook, and Finance Executives

Are there any synergies created for CFOs and other Finance Executives by using both Linked In and Facebook? I’ve actually blogged about this several times in the past, but the question was raised again … so I’m happy to respond again.

I believe there are synergies. The traditional view, and one that is held by many Chief Financial Officers and Senior Finance Executives is, draw a line in the sand and never the two shall mix. With all due respect to those who hold that view, it’s an outdated view for many of the reasons I cite in my previous post about CFOs missing the social media boat, and the sequel.

Here’s the skinny from my humble vantage point … 

In the tough and competitive job search climate today, a presence on Facebook combined with a strong professional presence on Linked In can actually work to a candidate's benefit … if done correctly. The ability of a candidate to showcase a 360-perspective is very restrictive on Linked In. Facebook, on the other hand, is much more open and transparent (hobbies, interests, circle of friends, communication style, including grammar and spelling). And, Facebook privacy controls help to keep private things private and non-private things public.

Culture fit is the most difficult part of hiring today. With a branded Linked In presence and a professional / personal Facebook presence, a recruiter and/or a company get a much more accurate, and complete, picture of a potential candidate. When you walk into a room … that picture already precedes you and can give you a huge advantage over the competition during the interview process – your fit with the company culture has already been decided.  

The more tools you use, the more of a time drain social media “can” become. However, with all the seamless integration now available across platforms, it is almost painless to create one post and populate your Linked In status bar, Facebook page, and even Twitter simultaneously. 

And that is all good for building density around a digital footprint that screams … Subject Matter Expert … while separating you from the competition.

Job Boards and Senior Executives

Call me cynical but, I saw this tweet …

Join this great jobs site… They have thousands of pre-screened 100K jobs – check em out 

… and just had to shake my head. Job boards are to job seekers what the lottery is to the millions who play every week. The odds are just not in your favor. Sure there’s a lottery winner every week – with emphasis on the “a.” 

It’s no secret that I am NOT a fan of job boards. Particularly for finance executives or other C-Suite executives. Oh, they have their place and certainly can, and perhaps even should, be a search strategy. Again with emphasis on the “a.” However, job boards should never be the sum total of a search strategy.

One of my issues is that most people quickly fall into the deception that job boards make it so easy to get a job that they don’t do the hard work required to actually find a job. If anything, scanning posted positions a a sole search strategy turns into a complete waste of time and exercise in futility. The rejection is fierce and the ego is crushed.

And Linked In groups that are targeted solely to job seekers are really not that much different. This is a great list, but my recommendation would be to NOT use 25 of your allotted 50 group memberships on “job search” groups. All you’ll really be doing is hanging out with other unemployed people and folks like me. Select 5 or so job search groups and then join groups that allow you to show off your expertise and will win the attention of recruiters who are looking for top talent.

The jobs CFOs and senior finance executives want are rarely going to be found on a public job board.

And I won’t even discuss job fairs, other than to see this is a pretty funny article!

Linked In Faux Pas!

Linked In is a great networking tool. Sadly, there are plenty of user errors  … two of which continue to confound me.

Canned Invitations. I’ve written about this before. Other people have written about it. Sending a canned invitation to someone you don’t know is a networking faux pas. Think about it in offline terms. Would you walk through a networking event handing your business card to anyone and everyone without so much as a “hi, nice to meet you”? Of course not. But that is exactly what you are doing when you refuse to take 30 seconds to personalize an invitation to connect. 

Canned invitations are a tip-off to one of two things … you are building your rolodex and you don’t care who you connect with as long as you connect; and/or, you want to use [me] to get to someone to whom I’m connected. Neither of those sends a very positive message.

Recommendation Requests. These requests are perfectly acceptable … if the person from whom you are requesting a recommendation can actually speak to your performance. I was stunned to receive a request from a professional in my network asking for a brief recommendation of his work. Now I know him, but I can’t speak to his work performance. To ask was, in my opinion, extremely unprofessional. 

First, anything I said would be a lie because I know nothing. Even if I could craft a couple of vague, general sentences … they would serve him no good purpose. Recommendations … from people you have worked with and trust … are critically important to reinforcing your credibility. Don’t dilute your value with recommendations that are meaningless. Even more importantly, don’t diminish your integrity and credibility by asking for them.

If you are a finance executive and would like to connect with me on Linked In, please send me a personalized invitation. You'll make my day. If you are a CFO and would like to join my CFO Careers group, send me a request to join and I'll happily approve your request.