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

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





Your Home on the Web

For many people, and particularly for most CFOs, the home of their digital footprint is Linkedin. Short of having your own URL, Linkedin is the only real neon sign option. That means having a robust profile is a critically important piece of managing your career … because it is where you can be found and where you are in control of the message.

Two posts came through my feed this last week regarding Linkedin, generating very interesting comments. The first was about headlines. The second around whether Linkedin replaces a resume. Let’s start with the headline.

The first question was asked as a yes/no poll … do you like headlines that are not standard fare? (i.e., your job title). I don’t have a good handle on the exact statistics, but there were strong opinions on both sides of the fence. Here’s my two cents.

Standard fare is a commodity, generic, and lacks value.

First, it is called a “headline” for a reason. If you believe your current job title is compelling enough to promote interest, do a search on Linkedin to see how many CFOs also use that headline. It’s tough to stand out with “just” a job title as your hook.

Second, companies hire because they need a Finance Leader to solve a problem, get them unstuck, or move them to the next level. The moment you define yourself by your job title, rather than your ability to solve problems and deliver impacts, and you lose your job … is the moment you become much less competitive and lose your power positioning. While nothing has changed for you except your location (outside vs. inside), companies and recruiters view that change quite differently.

Whether you choose to use a branded value-oriented headline or your job title, here are some things your headline should absolutely not say …

– Looking for a job or next opportunity

– Currently looking

– Anything that is not relevant to your branded positioning

The second issue was quite interesting, and there were certainly vocal opinions about whether the candidate needs both a resume and a Linkedin profile … and even whether a candidate would stoop so low as to create a resume if they already had a Linkedin profile. Goodness. While one day, perhaps, sometime in the future, a platform such as Linkedin may well replace resumes … that time is not now.

A Resume and a Robust Profile are Both Necessities

A Chief Financial Officer who wants to be competitive in the marketplace needs both a value-oriented resume that showcases his problem-solving skills AND a robust Linkedin profile that does not replicate his resume.

Your profile will get you noticed. Your branded value-oriented resume will solidify your credibility. They are two different, but necessary, pieces of the same job search puzzle.

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



The Resume Evolution

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article entitled “No More Resumes, Say Some Firms.” While the title is a little exaggerated, I can safely say I’m glad I’m not a resume writer! More about that in a moment.

The resume is certainly evolving, but it has been evolving for years. Now though, resumes are going head-to-head with branded visibility via social media … and social media is winning.

What does moving beyond the resume and leveraging social media mean for CFOs? I’m glad you asked.

It might mean the difference between …

— Being found … or not

— Being perceived as embracing change … or not

— Having a Web 2.0 presence … or holding an outdated resume

— Being viewed as someone who understands the text generation … or a dinosaur heading towards extinction

— Creating visibility around subject matter positioning … or being outflanked by a competitor

— Being hunted for great opportunities … or becoming a full-time hunter in a very competitive market

And most importantly … branded visibility via social media could mean …

— Trumping the competition because it is so readily apparent that you fit within a company’s culture.

“We are most interested in what people are like, what they are like to work with, how they think.” Christina Cacioppo

I’ll be covering why branded visibility is so critically important to your executive career in the Proformative webinar scheduled for Friday, January 27 at 11:00 Eastern. If you are a member of the Proformative community, I hope you’ll join us.

P.S. There’s a big difference between a resume writer and a personal brand strategist. You may or may not need a resume one day, but you will absolutely  – always – need to understand, and be able to articulate, your compelling value proposition and market differentiation. That’s an investment with a great ROI.

Visibility is a Choice

Last November I wrote a blog post entitled “Is Invisibility Costing You Your Next Position.” Based on the overflow at the CFO conference roundtable, it’s a topic in which CFOs are at least curious, if not flat out interested.

As a result, I recently reposted the piece in a private forum … and received the following response from a reader:

Let’s face it: most “social media” is full of young people because they don’t have anything better to do. It’s less age discrimination and more competency discrimination. People who spend their days Twittering, Blogging, Facebooking and Googling each other aren’t doing their jobs.

Real professionals, people with responsibility, don’t have time to mess around with status updates or wind-bag pontification. Executives who “want to be found” do it through real-world networking. It’s little league to assume that you’ll be hired based on your blog.

A CFO doesn’t have to Facebook or tweet or even blog to leverage social media. But he is absent from Linked In at his own peril.

Without a personal-professional web portfolio, Linked In becomes his home base. It is an effective Web 2.0 version of the old paper corporate bio, and everything he does online points back to his profile. In fact, with the URL as part of his outgoing email signature, his profile has the potential to go viral.

Within Linked In itself, though, are a variety of apps that can help every Finance Executive build his visibility and his value-positioning. For instance,

— Share what you’re reading through the Amazon Reading List.

— If you do presentations with PowerPoint or Keynote, upload your non-proprietary presentations, or portions of your presentations, in Google Presentations or Slideshare.

— Create video clips of speaking engagements and attach them to your profile.

And be sure to use the Linked In status update bar to share resources, speaking engagements, and conferences you’re attending with your network.

All of these things are, in my humble opinion, critically important for raising visibility among a CFO’s target audience as well as recruiters who specialize in your area of expertise.

You don’t have to tweet, or Facebook, or even blog. But choosing not to embrace social media, even minimally, is choosing to be invisible … particularly sans a solid, offline network.


The Unemployed vs. the Employed Candidate

Recruiters routinely tell us that companies don’t pay them to find unemployed candidates. Recruiter Wayne Mitchell told the Career Thought Leaders at our conference last week that he requires 6 references from unemployed executive candidates and they are checked before the candidate is ever presented.

A recent Wall Street Journal article was entitled “Only the Employed Need Apply.” And a recent article in Fortune asked, “Will being unemployed wreck your job hunt?”

There is no question that the unemployed CFO or Finance Executive has a more difficult path to the next opportunity. Not impossible, but definitely more challenging. Your value to a prospective company must be clear, compelling, and far outweigh the black mark of unemployment AND you need to move away from the job boards and into the real world … which includes the world of social media.

Conversely, in his post “Good headhunters search for living resumes,” Nick Corcodilos (Ask the Headhunter) said this:

Good headhunters aren’t looking for keywords. They are looking for key people, in places like discussion forums where the best and brightest are talking shop. Good headhunters look for substance, and for the gurus that others turn to for advice. They target those discussion leaders as potential candidates. It takes a lot more than keywords to get the attention of good headhunters, who are looking for complete sentences and proof of skills and reputation.

And Wayne Mitchell also said this … Linked In is no longer an option, it’s a MUST!

So … are you showing up as people of influence in the places recruiters are looking? Or, is it your keyword-rich resume that is showing up?

If you’d like to know more about the effects of social media on your finance career, join me at on April 12 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern for my webinar, “Social Media and Your Career: Why it’s Important and What you Need to Know.”

Social Media Contrarian

I love being a contrarian. Some might see my contrarian positions as more akin to ignorant, stubborn, or even laughable … but the rebel in me to do things differently, stand out from the crowd, or trail blaze just won’t be quelled.

At times I’m quite skeptical of the career advice put out by Harvard Review. I hold a -contrarian- view about some of the advice targeted to the corporate world issued by those immersed in academia. But occasionally, they surprise me. The post by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, “Five Tips for Smarter Social Networking” was one of those surprises!

What I love about branding is that it frees a person to be who they really are. No masks, no facade, no pretending and yes, you can even choose to be contrarian. Rather than being a “yes man” who blends in with the majority – whether that is reflective of your view or not – branding allows you to take a bold, principled stand based on your values, passions, and beliefs. And you can choose to broadcast that branded positioning via social media. Will you offend some people? Of course you will. Will you attract like-minded people and companies? Absolutely. Can that be scary? No question!

Two quick stories. No surprise to those who know me that I love politics … and I am not shy about stating my views. The result of taking a bold, vocal stand is that many of the clients I attract share my values and positions. Can I work with people who don’t share those views? Of course. But do I attract my ideal clients? Almost always!

One of my CFO clients from a few years ago came back to me, deciding to do branding work this time in anticipation of using his very strong, personal brand to secure his next opportunity. Part of his communication plan includes social media. What’s utterly delightful for him is that since embracing and living his brand, his interviews are with companies that are a perfect fit for who he is. He hasn’t accepted a new opportunity yet … he is employed and has the luxury of choosing the “right” next move, not “just” the next move. But his strong, branded digital footprint will no doubt deliver that … and relatively soon.

The Visible CFO

If you have Google Alerts set on your industry and your competitors … you do use Google Alerts, right? … then you might have seen these recently:

— Oracle CFO found through Linked In

According to Fortune, “the average member is a college-educated 43-year-old making $107,000. More than a quarter are senior executives. Every Fortune 500 company is represented. That’s why recruiters rely on the site to find even the highest-caliber executives.” (translation: passive candidates)

— For finance executives who blog, the return can be big

In Karen Bannan’s “The Blogging CFO,” published on AmEx Inside Edge, she says … “Though there aren’t many of them, finance executives who blog for their companies or themselves maintain it’s a good way to get publicity, build a personal brand, raise an industry profile, and even land a job.”

She’s right. Strong visible positioning as a subject matter expert … particularly as a CFO or other Senior Finance Executive … certainly ensures you stand out from the crowd. Why? Because I believe Finance Executives are the last bastion of invisible people and those who ride the social media wave today are leading the way. Everyone else will be forced to play catch-up.

Blogging isn’t for every Finance Executive, but a well-written Linked In profile for you and every other C-Suite Executive in your company is an excellent marketing tool – both individually and corporately.

CFOs, Gen Y’s, and SMAGs

There’s a fascinating (well at least I thought so) post on Antisocial Recruiter Networking by Michael Goldberg, a talent acquisition leader. His article is based on a New York Times article on the effects of social media on our kids.

What in the world does that have to do with you? Stay with me for a moment.

Last week’s poll in SmartBrief for CFOs was around using social media in the workplace. There was a 50 / 50 split between those who had a social media policy in place or were investigating one and those who had a firewall prohibiting it or were just clueless. 

There is so much to lose on both a personal and professional level for executives who choose not to embrace the power of Web 2.0 technology. Social media is here and it’s trending north. 

When kids get cell phones at the age of 8 and spend all day texting and FBing friends … recognize they are your potential hires when they graduate from college. Young adults are, and will be, more tech-savvy than any of us old-timers can ever hope to be. Will they want to work for an executive team that has a strict anti-social networking policy in place or is clueless about what engaging with the public and customers or clients through social media can do for the business? If you did manage to hire them, would you expect them to stay in a culture of dinosaurs for long? Recruiting is expensive. Recruiting top talent … and keeping them … is painful.

And for finance executives who still have years left to contribute to a brilliant career … will you ever be able to compete with a social media savvy 45-year old finance executive candidate when you are 55? I hear “age discrimination” bandied about frequently. No question it exists. Some of it though is brought about by a defiance around change. It’s not how I got to the top and I have no intention of learning/using/participating now. 

Isn’t it great that we have free will and free choice … accompanied, of course, by taking responsibility for our decisions! 

BTW, SMAG = Social Media Age Group

What Are You Contributing to the Conversation?

Nothing? Noise? Value? 

There’s a global conversation happening and you can either choose to be a part of it or refuse to engage. If the choice is to not participate, you do so at your own peril … because the conversation will go on without you.

If you do engage, what are you contributing? Is it something of value that benefits your target audience? Or, is it self-indulgent noise that detracts from your executive brand? What you say, how you say, and how often you participate … does matter.

Blank slate … In the evolving Web 2.0 world, this finance executive might show up but he contributes nothing to the conversation. Either he is too busy, is networking-challenged, or perhaps sees no value in engaging. If he shows up, his Linked In profile is bereft of any details that would position him as a high-value candidate. At best, this executive is a place holder. At worst, he may be spiraling towards extinction.

Branding nightmare … It’s all about me. It’s the other guy’s fault. That company discriminates. That recruiter isn’t listening. Noise … and it sends the wrong message. Since authenticity is key in creating a branded, visible presence … you ARE sending a message with every post whether you realize it or not.

Differentiation … What are you reading? What conferences or seminars are you attending? Are you presenting or serving on a panel discussion? What resources have you found? Are you in a leadership position with an organization such as FEI? What are you curious about from a professional perspective? Social media is about sharing, not selling. Finance executives who embrace this mentality create visible distinction for themselves as subject matter experts and high-value targets.

Do you show up and if so, what are you contributing to the conversation?