The Rules Have Changed

So the question becomes, are you playing by the new rules or the old rules? As “The New Trouble on the Line” points out, the game has changed and the new rules are catching candidates by surprise. It’s a good read. More than that, it’s an important read.

Here are a few more areas where I believe my finance execs get tripped up … and it primarily comes from a reticence (for whatever reason) to embrace new technology.

–Email address

This seems like such a minor point, but it’s not. Your email address will often be the beginning of that “first impression” … especially when it is an AOL (amateurs online) address; some weird, nonsensical combination of words; your wife’s email address; or worse, something playful or even suggestive.

Linked In

I’m delighted to see more and more senior finance executives and CFOs getting on Linked In. This is a “must be” place for proactively managing your career. Where I see folks getting tripped up is in creating their bios with “yesterday’s boring corporate speak” or not creating it at all. This is your one shot at attracting recruiters who have the positions you want. Your profile must be compelling and sell value, your experience section must be complete and sell value, and joining groups and securing recommendations are critical. Linked In is a “networking” site … that requires action.


I was participating in some discussions in my various Linked In groups the other day, and there was a Twitter post with the invitation to list your Twitter url so you could follow others and be followed. My first response was “k-e-w-l, look at all those finance folks who are tweeting.” As I clicked the link my response changed to … “oh no, they don’t get it.” 

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform requiring you to talk with people … regularly and frequently. It is not a “build it and they will come” holding place on the Web. What I saw were accounts that were established with no identifiable name or bio, no tweets, and few followers. Not the message I’m sure these folks want to be sending.

–Voice Mail Message

What does your voice mail message say about you as an executive? Your kids are cute … that’s a given … and the voice mail recording they made is just adorable. And, unprofessional. If your home phone has anything other than a professional message, don’t use it on your resume. Use your personal cell phone and make sure the voice mail message is professional and includes either your name or your phone number (or both) so the caller knows they got the right person.

–And finally, Telephone Interviews

If you are not in a place where it makes sense for you to answer the phone, don’t. It would be far better for you to let them leave a message and call back when you are at your desk and focused than in the car with the kids or running errands. If you do answer and you are busy or otherwise distracted, politely ask if you can reschedule to a mutually convenient time. 

It is time (past time actually) for senior finance executives to proactively embrace Web 2.0 technology. Just as the rules have changed regarding telephone interviews, so have the rules changed in the competitive job search arena. Dinosaurs are out. A-players are in. On first pass, perhaps before you even know it happened, your status as either a dinosaur or an A-player is evident from your web savvy, or lack thereof.