Do You Need a Disrupting Irma in Your Job Search?

There is nothing like a Cat 5 hurricane bearing down on your state to make you put your priorities into perspective. This is one of those times when I’m thankful I don’t live on the coast, but I’m not sure this particular monster cares much about location. She is bigger than Michigan, twice as big as Alabama, with winds far exceeding the Cat 5 minimums. Talk about a disrupter.

It did get me thinking about what it takes for most of us to be disrupted in our lives to the point of actually taking some action or a different action. It seems to be human nature to be content with misery rather than to risk pursuing and embracing change.

Maybe, as a job seeker, you need a personal “Irma disruption” in your life. Granted, a job search doesn’t cause the kind of physical devastation that a hurricane does … but an extended job search can feel pretty devastating. Stephanie Carson wrote about the ugly side of being unemployed and job searching.

What would happen if you disrupted the status of your current job search?

Your Plan is Only YOUR Plan

And YOUR plan is only as good as all of the external elements cooperating. Much like a hurricane, the job search process can have a lot of un-cooperating aspects …

– A lack of right-fitting opportunities

– The black hole phenomenon

– The ineffective spaghetti strategy

– Far too few responses.

If your plan isn’t working, it might be time to ditch it and do something new and different. The bottom line, though, is that you need a plan.

Refocus on what is Really Important

Usually in an executive job search, what is most important is a strong network. It takes time and effort to build, and most CFOs are quick to tell me they don’t have a strong network in place.

Besides, searching job postings online is easier and infinitely more comfortable … right? It might be easier and even comfortable, but it is definitely not an effective job search strategy for senior finance executives. Refocusing your efforts on building a strong network will ultimately provide a much greater ROI.

Become Other Focused

Who needs your particular problem solving skill set? Sometimes we can become so focused on duties and responsibilities that we forget good marketing means being able to meet the need of someone in a position to buy what you’re selling. In a job search, you are selling yourself.

Hurricane prep is all about “me.” But the reality is, post-hurricane it is all about community. The job search is all about you finding a new position. From a company’s perspective, it is all about what you can do for it.

Fortunately, my business is portable so Irma‘s disruption to my life and business is, hopefully, significantly reduced. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are in her direct path and to the many first responders standing at the ready.

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


5 Tips for a Compelling Linkedin Profile

Following my article on the CFOO, a CFO asked me this question …

<<… when you say “using LinkedIn as a placeholder for your online presence is a bad idea” what do you mean?>>

What I meant by a placeholder is a bare bones Linkedin profile – a name, maybe a picture, the current employer, and maybe education. A visual might be a person walking into a networking event wearing a brown paper bag on his head. It doesn’t invite perusal or conversation – there is simply nothing there to see.

Here are my 5 tips for ensuring that your Linkedin profile is more than a placeholder and sending a message you didn’t intend to send.

1. Make your headline a headline

Most people resort to dropping their most recent job title into the spot underneath their name. Using a job title is a clear missed opportunity to immediately convey value. A value statement also transcends any potential future job loss.

2. Expand your summary section

This is another place to convey value AND tell a story that will intrigue a reader to continue reading the balance of your profile. With 2,000 characters available, it is also a chance to capture critical key words that a recruiter or company will use when searching for a CFO candidate.

3. Keep your experience section fresh

By fresh, I don’t mean just updated – although that is a key point. However, cutting and pasting your resume into this section is not fresh. It is redundant. If you repeat your resume here, there is no need for a prospect to ask for your resume. Rather, think of your marketing documents as bricks that, when stacked on top of each other, form a solid wall of credibility.

4. Be judicious in choosing your connections

We never know who might be a great networking connection, but there are two important reasons to be selective in growing your online network.

First, recruiters do look at your connections and right, wrong, or indifferent – it is a part of their first impression.

Second, do you want to build a rolodex or grow your network? One is not necessarily helpful; the other is a necessity.

5. Get recommendations

Third party testimonials add credibility to your own value statements about your ability, and they matter – to recruiters and to the Linkedin algorithm. A profile doesn’t need a lot of “atta boy” recommendations; rather, it does need a few that validate your problem-solving abilities while helping to ensure a complete profile.

Social media is a critical piece of today’s job search process. Without a strong, value-oriented presence, recruiters might be missing out on the perfect Chief Financial Officer – you – to fill their job requisition! Don’t be a wallflower. Instead, be the candidate who stands out from the competition!

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, Credentialed Career Master, 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





What Salary Do You Want?

A media expert stirred up a bee’s nest with her post last week on answering the salary question. She lambasted both career coaches and job seekers who disagree with her straight-forward approach of job seekers blurting out their salary expectations during the interview … saying these tactics are evasive and diversionary on the part of job seekers. 

Seriously? The company who has the budget but doesn’t reveal the salary isn’t evasive … the job seeker is? Then why wouldn’t the company just advertise the salary within their job posting. That would certainly eliminate folks who want more money than the company is willing to pay, right? Perhaps that speaks, quite loudly, about the corporate culture.

Her blog post a few days later tried to clarify the question … saying the salary question was being asked by recruiters, not company decision-makers. There is a difference. 

And I also believe there is a time and a place for the job seeker to put salary on the table or let the company go first. Here’s my perspective on each situation.

Recruiters … Be frank with them. While they don’t work for you, they can’t really be effective in helping you if they don’t know the salary you want and why you deserve it. I coach my CFO and Finance Executive clients to be open and honest with recruiters with whom they have a relationship and with whom they are currently working. 

Job Opening … When you walk into a clothing store and select a suit to purchase, does the sales clerk ask you what you would like to pay for that suit? Of course not. The suit has a value and a price, and it is clearly noted on the price tag. How is this relatively simple analogy different from walking into a job interview for a posted position and expecting the company to be forthcoming about what they have budgeted for the salary? 

The company has the job and the budget and knows the salary range, but they want you to tell them what you want to be paid without the benefit of that inside information? Shouldn't their budget determine the starting point for negotiating a fair and reasonable salary based on the candidate's proven value?

There are some instances (referral or recommendation for example) where an executive can and perhaps should put his well-researched salary demands on the table … but that is long after he has proven his potential value to the prospective company and is certainly not in a first interview. If the salary question comes up in a first interview, it would seem to me to be sending this message: we aren’t hiring for quality, we’re hiring someone who fits within our budget.

Created Opportunity … In an situation where you have artfully gotten your foot in the door and so WOWed a company that it is considering creating a position for you … the salary ball is in your court. You’ve created the value, proven you can make or save a company more than it will cost to bring you on board, and you hold all the cards … so play your hand!

The salary question is not a black and white one … which is why companies often have a range not a specific number. Different scenarios require different strategies. The savvy job seeker knows when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em when answering the salary question.

The Buzz is Audible

I've noticed some increasing buzz in the corporate finance space. Opportunities that seemed to be flat-lining over the past year have a pulse again. CFOs who spent the last 12-15 months hunkered down in positions they hated are now cracking the door to see what other options might be available. How do I know? My phone is ringing constantly.

While hiring is definitely lagging … and recent stats indicate that pre-recession staffing levels probably won’t return for another couple of years … it’s a great time to be a senior finance leader. 

A high-value, socially well-connected Chief Financial Officer, who may now or in the future want to move, should pay attention to the buzz. 

–Network. The best time to network is when you don’t need to network. You don’t need anything and are in a position to give and help others. Ramp it up. With the ease of online networking, devoting 15 minutes a day to the effort can make a huge difference.

–Get Visible. If you’re brilliant but no one knows about it, does it matter? If you aren’t marketing yourself, it’s unlikely anyone else will be doing so. 

–Be Prepared. The best opportunities come when you’re not looking. Unfortunately, not looking also means you can be caught unprepared. Putting a resume together in a day is a very different process than drilling down to find your branded value proposition and creating a marketing document and online presence that positions you to play from your strengths, passions, and values. 

The Age Old Question .. To Brand or Not to Brand

Ryan Rancatore interviewed the Wine Guy, Gary Vaynerchuk on personal branding … specifically, what personal branding has meant to his career. He has some thought provoking responses and the post is certainly read-worthy. 

Take this comment, for example …

People just don’t stay in jobs as long as they used to, it just makes sense to let people know who you are beyond your job title.

Authenticity. Visibility. Credibility. Building your personal brand fosters distinction among  the targeted audience of people who need to know about you. And it takes time. Rarely does anyone become an overnight success. Rather, they spend time consistently playing in a niched space, leveraging what they do well, building an authentic reputation, and growing their network. That means, the best time to build your personal brand is when you are ensconced in a position with a move 12-18 months in the future.

As Vaynerchuk also says, 

I’d ask one of the millions of unemployed workers if they didn’t wish they had spent time building a personal brand. 

There are only so many CFO and senior-level finance positions available. Winning one of those roles means you do what the competition isn’t doing … before you need to do it. 

Social Media and Career Management

Kendra Reddy wrote an article on “Career Management Netiquette,” and it is a good read. The bottom line … it’s not enough to “be” [visible] you must “do” [networking]. 

Now, we are human BEings. But networking is a verb and, whether online or offline, it demands action. It requires you to be actively DOing.  And to do networking well requires you to be proactive … networking before you need to network. 

My finance exec clients are busier than a one-armed fiddler most weeks, and the first thing that falls by the wayside is often managing their career. However, more important than quantity is consistency. Networking regularly in shorter blocks of time will ensure that the energy and synergy around networking will not ebb and flow, or even run dry.

I’m seeing a pattern evolving during this tight economy for those at the senior level to hunker down and stay where they are. That’s a fine strategy … as long as you have Plan B working in the background. Getting caught unprepared and then trying to ramp up puts every candidate at a serious disadvantage, despite how talented they are.

Career Protection Plan

Monday was my turn to host Netshare’s Ask the Coach call – always a very fun time for me – and there were a record number of folks on the call. A sign of the times I suppose. Many more people unemployed, which means much stiffer competition for the few available top jobs. 

While it is too late to evangelize to those already in the tough position of being unemployed, it is not too late for those of you who are safe and secure, at least for today. No job is secure forever. Not even the CFO role. If you are employed, now is the time to create your career protection plan to help ensure a smooth transition to the position you want, when you want to make the move.

What better time to create a 3-5 year business plan for your career then the start of a new year? Here are a few first steps for you to consider …

–What is it about you that is unique and marketable? The only way to beat the very stiff competition is to be crystal clear about the value you bring to a potential company … and then,

–And not until then, develop your marketing documents around a branded marketable value proposition (MVP).

–Get on the radar of your target market. What does your digital footprint say about you? Can you be found by the people who are looking for folks like you? 

–Network even when you don’t “need” to be networking. Your network is never more valuable then when you are in a position to help others … because that earns you the right to ask for help when you need it. 

–Build recruiter relationships in advance. The chances of a recruiter being available to you when you are ready to move are much greater when you have established a strong alliance with him … in advance of needing him.  

Your marketability is highest when you are gainfully employed with a clear marketable value prop. Create your plan, and then execute. A mere 15 minutes a day can mean the difference between sitting among the ranks of the unemployed or being a high-value, hunted prospect with a continual stream of potential opportunities.