Does a CFO Need a Résumé?
Focus has its benefits. So does the world of social media.
Working in Executive Search, I have focused on delivering human resources of the financial kind to companies for over 11 years now. For the past couple of years, I have put significant time into a sustained and targeted social media effort to let companies (new, current and previous) and CFOs know that I understand them.
As part of this focus and effort, companies ask me to help them hire their CFOs, Chief Financial Officers ask me to help them build their finance teams, and Finance Executives reach out to me when they are in between career opportunities.
When I speak with CFOs, they ask me for my feedback on their résumé. Although I can say that I have read thousands of résumés in my career, I do not consider myself a résumé expert. From time to time I may have a piece of advice that could make the document more effective, but this is not where I add value to a Finance Executive in search of their next opportunity.
CFO Magazine published an article by David Rosenbaum entitled No Résumés Required. The title interested me. The article was interesting and worth reading, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be about. It did give me the impetus to write this blog piece, so I’m grateful to CFO Magazine for publishing it and to David for writing it.
Cindy Kraft wrote a blog titled I Just Disagree…, where she discusses her disagreement with résumé experts who recommend regular modifying of résumés depending on the position job applications. My comments on Cindy’s blog caused her to disagree with me (finally – we see eye to eye on many topics). It wasn’t actually a disagreement, but when someone says “Interesting perspective, Samuel” what they really mean is…
The premise I made in my comments on Cindy’s blog were:
CFOs who are working don’t need a résumé to attract a new opportunity. All they need is a well done LinkedIn Profile. If the person that finds them needs a résumé, they can use their LinkedIn Profile as a base. I’ve interviewed many quality people based on their LinkedIn Profile alone.
If a CFO has really done their homework and is visible, marketable and branded, the only time they need a résumé is when they are actively looking for their next opportunity.
In essence, there are 2 types of CFOs that can be hired.
The Unemployed CFO certainly does need a résumé, because it is (for now, this may change in the coming years) the recognized tool of a job seeker and the people that take employment applications.
The Employed CFO does not need a résumé, nor does he or she need to take the time to prepare one. They are not looking for a job. What an employed CFO needs is to have an appropriate Personal Brand developed, which includes, but certainly not limited to, an effective LinkedIn Profile. When I’m looking for CFOs, my research is wide and varied, and is based on the needs of my client. Whether an Employed CFO has a résumé or not is irrelevant to me. What is relevant is their experience. If they have a proper Personal Branding strategy that leaves an appropriate digital footprint, it certainly makes it easier for me and my team to find them.
I keep on being amazed every week when finalizing my team’s CFO Moves blog, and finding that CFOs who are being hired have a weak LinkedIn Profile, or none at all. In some ways, it makes me wonder how these CFOs get their new job. (Read: When hiring a CFO, is LinkedIn the place to look? ) It does prove that CFOs get their next career opportunities from various sources, but mostly from people that already know them and trust them.
Unemployed CFOs need marketing materials. A solid résumé is still necessary today, in addition to proper Personal Branding.
Employed CFOs do not need a résumé. They just need to have a proper Personal Branding Strategy. If a recruiter asks them for a résumé, they can politely mention that they are not actively looking for an opportunity at this time, and would ask them to refer to their (always) current LinkedIn Profile as a substitute.
Companies hire people, not résumés.