Twitpitch

I’ve writtten some articles about the influence of the Blackberry on job search and career management strategies. And recently, Twitter has hit the market with microblogging posts of less than 140 characters. Following on the heels of Twitter is Twitpitch … articulating a value proposition in 20 words or less.

Are you up to the challenge? Can you summarize the most significant accomplishment of your career in less than 140 characters (about 20 words)? One day soon you might need to!

Private Equity CFOs

There is good news and bad news for CFOs in CFO.com’s Today in Finance article, “Private Equity Paints ‘Help Wanted’ Sign.”

Good news because the projection is that things are looking up in this tight market. Top–performing CFOs will be in great demand in the private equity market … translating to the right opportunities for those executives with a clear, compelling, and visible marketable value proposition (MVP).

The potential bad news will be for those CFOs who are under–performing and not positioned to make a move on their timeline … find themselves on the curb may come as a complete surprise and rude awakening. Remember, your MVP is highest when you are perceived as a passive candidate.

It could also be bad news for a top–performing senior finance executive who is invisible to the recruiters seeking such candidates. If you can’t be found, those great opportunities will pass by and go to the “maybe not as qualified” candidate who can be found. A visible, branded online presence is critical to proactively managing a career.

Are you on Linked In? Please join my network. Are you on Facebook? I would love to connect there, too. Be sure to have a public profile that sells your unique and compelling MVP!

Executive Recruiting for Leaders

David Perry generously offered me the opportunity to read his latest book, “Executive Recruiting for Leaders.” You may recall that he is the much–talked–about and well–known author of “Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters.”

What I love about David’s latest book is that while it provides great strategies for hiring top–talent, and I think most companies could use this information, it is also powerful insight for my executive clients. With David’s permission, here are a few gems from his book, follwed by my commentary.

–– The leaders who have the talent you crave are likely already employed.

If this sounds familiar, then you’re right. I’ve been beating this drum for quite awhile. They are employed because they are top talent and they understand and can clearly articulate a compelling marketable value proposition.

The best time to position yourself for your next opportunity is while you are still gainfully employed. Once you walk out the door on Friday afternoon with a nice big severance package in hand, the fact is that the ugly black mark of unemployment follows you everywhere you go.

–– Is this an individual (candidate) who stands out from the others you have met? What is it about them that makes them stand out?

This is all about your unique promise of value … also called branding. Employers are not hiring commodities that all look, sound, and act like everyone else. They are hiring those executives who are top talent and understand and can clearly articulate their compelling marketable value proposition. Oh wait, did I already say that. Yes. And it bears repeating over and over again. The war for talent is around these individuals.

–– The most important information you need to glean from an initial interview has to do with their character …. Character can be distilled from the patterns that reappear throughout their life. Themes will appear over and over again – how they addressed controversy, took on new challenges, and how their contribution impacted the organization, or not.

Patterns are related to a unique and compelling brand. It is the “how” you do the things in your life and your career that have been successful. Branding also quickly, clearly, and consistently (patterns) conveys how you are a fit with a company’s culture, giving you a big leg up on the competition. While your skills and marketable value proposition generally win the interview, culture fit wins the job.

–– Pretty Boys – the high energy, totally empty-headed people who like to keep discussions at the 60,000 foot level and can rarely if ever provide anything more than the sketchiest of details.

David was discussing five candidate–types not to hire, and his comment relates directly to not understanding your value to a prospective company.

Candidates are not hired because there is a corner office with a nice bronze CFO plaque on the door. They, along with everyone else, are being hired because the company has a pain, problem, challenge, or situation they need solved. In order to position yourself as “the” person who can solve their problems, the documented evidence of your past performance must be at the face–to–face level.

If you want the rest of David’s inside information, I highly recommend you buy and read the book yourself!

Finance Executives’ Salaries

CFO.com featured some results from a salary survey conducted by Financial Executives International (FEI). Interesting read … but in case you missed it, here are some excerpts that you might find interesting.

“ ‘While the current economic conditions and market turmoil are likely to impact the C-Suite this year, our results show that the salaries of the overall financial professional group are still up,’ FEI/FERF CEO and President Michael P. Cangemi said in announcing the survey results.”

And this very telling statement …

“The most common performance measures used to determine annual compensation continued to be company and individual goals and objectives, FEI noted. These were followed by department, group or business unit goals or objectives; revenue growth; net income; and earnings-per-share growth.”

… which validates the importance of having a clear and compelling marketable value proposition!

A Business Plan for Your Career

It was a very interesting discussion in the CFO–Career–Forum yesterday. Recruiter Tim Norstrem and I were discussing the merits of having a career management plan … a business plan for your career.

Tim suggested that your plan should include

––a clear vision of your industry / discipline,
––an “admission” of your strengths (interesting word choice and great insight in the follow up discussion),
––your unique basket of skills (i.e., personal brand),
––a solid networking strategy, and
––a compelling value proposition and the ability to articulate it.

According to the 2007 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report,

––Executives stayed 2.7 years in a single job, 3.3 years with a company, and 4.2 years in the same industry.

––Corporate HR professionals identify 14 months as a critical point of demarcation for the newly–hired executive where the excitement wanes and dissatisfaction creeps in – and 35% see the disengagement occur in fewer than 10 months.

If an executive is unhappy in his new position in a year or less, chances are good he probably didn’t have a very good plan or more likely, any plan in place. While the unexpected can happen in a new position that can lead to early dissatisfaction, clearly this is not a welcomed trend. It seems to me that having a career plan in place would ensure that the next move was well–researched, well–thought out, and designed to help him achieve his longer–term goal.

Additionally, the average executive job search is 21.6 weeks. What Tim said to me after the call was significant … having a solid career management plan can reduce an executive’s time on the market to zero days.

If you know you are going to be moving every 3–5 years, doesn’t it make sense to be prepared to make that move? Imagine never having to conduct a job search again, and all because you chose to run your career like you run your company.