Sometimes the whole “managing a career” process just seems confusing, baffling, and maybe even unnecessary to CFOs. Today, more than ever, it is definitely necessary, and it does not need to be confusing or baffling.
Run your career like you run your business. I’ve said that for years, but thanks to “Ready, Set, Grow” in CFO Magazine, let’s frame it in business terms to turn the fog into a crystal-clear 35,000-foot view. Quotes from the article are in italics, followed by my commentary.
… How can you help them make money or save money?
This is key to your value proposition. Finance skills aside, the bottom line is really … how can make or save a company more than it will cost them to bring you on board? It’s not about responsibilities, credentials, or even education.
… Focus on “developing products tailored to the specific needs of individual developing markets… Don't provide an American or a German solution to India; they need an Indian solution.”
The latter sentence is, in career terms, what I call the “spaghetti strategy.” Throwing your resume into any black hole and hoping and wishing for a response. Niched positioning to a targeted audience is a much more effective career management and job search strategy.
You don’t have to be all things to all people … you have to be the right person for the right company.
"Good growth companies," says the Darden School's Hess, "tend to make acquisitions that are small and very strategic …
In proactively managing your career, you aren’t forced to do everything as soon as possible … as opposed to an active job seeker. It’s much easier and much more effective to execute a plan that is strategic and consistent.
… investing in areas that make sense for us, particularly in innovation.
Innovation! Web 2.0 technology. Online visibility. Reputation management. How can you leverage all the great new technology to stand out from other Chief Financial Officers rather than blending in with them?
Having your name on Linked In isn’t the same as having a branded, completed profile. Having a presence on Linked In isn’t the same as “networking” with people who need to know about you.
Innovation means you already have an online reputation. The question is, will you control the message or be forced to respond to the message?
"The world has got more opportunities than issues right now. We need to make sure our organization looks at the opportunities and doesn't complain about the issues …"
Issues, from a career perspective, involve relying on posted positions. Too few postings for far too many candidates. It’s a frustrating and unfair screen out process. It’s also easy.
Opportunities abound through your online and offline networks and all the great technology available today. However, it’s not easy. So the earlier you get started, the easier a future career transition will be.
And, finally, this from one of my favorite authors/bloggers, Seth Godin …
If you only pay attention to the world when you need a new job (your channel is stamps and your message is your resume) you'll spend your day differently than if you are leading a tribe, participating in organizations or giving local speeches all the time.
It’s time to give serious consideration to running your career like you run your business … today, finishing last isn’t a viable option.