Pursuing your next step up the career ladder as CFO, Controller, or Director FP&A?
Your executive resume will need to make a convincing leap from financial systems oversight to strategic executive advisor and team member.
Many CFOs serve as a right-hand to the CEO for strategic decision-making and forecasting, direct the CIO, boost cash flow, present growth strategies to the Board, or drive improvements in financial reporting – all relevant areas of leadership that must be highlighted on a CFO resume.
To properly brand yourself as a senior executive leader poised for a prime C-suite opportunity, use these steps to write a knockout CFO resume:
1 – Evaluate your leadership brand as a CFO candidate.
All of us have a personal brand, but we can be unaware of it (until needing to capture the message for a job search).
So, take stock of your reputation as a first step! You might already be known as a leader who can:
- Overcome obstacles to company growth
- Identify cost drivers and substantial areas of savings
- Build consensus for difficult changes in systems or Finance processes
- Drive new opportunities for capital funding
- Add a long-range outlook through financial planning and strategy
Next, make a list of what you’d like to be known for, including areas and skills you hope to employ during your next role as CFO. Perhaps you’re intent on standardizing financial operations for better accuracy, or offering your expertise to other parts of the corporation struggling with profitability.
You’ll also need to gather feedback from your teams, vendors, colleagues, or bosses. You may already have testimonials in the form of LinkedIn recommendations or 360 degree reviews.
Using your existing brand perception, your own intentions, and these accolades, blend the information into statements that reflect your ROI and future-focused value (as shown in this sample CFO resume). Other branding statement examples include:
- CFO Placing Regions Among Top Corporate Performers
- Strategic Financial Executive Positioning Companies For Growth in the Steel Industry
- Divisional CFO Behind XYZ Company’s Transition to Multi-Brand Industry Leader
These statements can be added throughout your CFO resume, both as taglines and to describe your influence on specific projects.
2 – Add the scope of your authority (relevant to the CFO job you seek).
The key to a strategic message in your CFO resume is to do MORE with the details – taking the hard facts of budgets managed, teams directed, or cost savings achieved to fold in personal brand messages.
As an example, a CFO who managed S-4 filings and tax requirements during a major corporate transition can mention the effects of the change (“Served as primary accounting officer for evolution into $2B+ retail company”).
A Controller intent on ascending to the CFO role could add, “Conferred with APAC CEO on operational policies, balance sheet, and liquidity compliance, leading to 32% increase in bank deposits,” tying together a key metric with a solid example of international influence.
Back up these numbers with keywords (M&A, Global Experience, Executive Team Collaboration, etc.) throughout your CFO resume to reinforce your brand message.
By noting the metrics, you’re demonstrating executive competency for your next career move – and helping employers see why you’re a competitive candidate for the CFO slot.
3 – Showcase CFO-worthy achievements on the first page.
As shown in this CFO resume example, accomplishments that reflect your strengths and forward-facing capabilities should be pulled to the first page (for quick reading).
Without lengthy explanations, you can make an impression and explain your actions (“$130M in working capital freed through initiative to analyze receivables strategies”). Be sure to use strong metrics to catch a reader’s eye and frame the scope of your abilities.
The advantage of this strategy? Employers and recruiters will scan your CFO resume quickly, with much more attention paid to your first page than other areas. A first-page summary ensures that these notable examples of value aren’t missed at first glance.
Here, you can also describe challenges that required intensive problem-solving or affected major areas of the company – without letting your brand message slide to the back of your executive resume.
In summary, capturing your personal brand message – and supporting details is an important exercise for your CFO job search.
By taking stock of your value-add (current and future) and pointing out the scope of your work in context, you’ll make it easier for the right employer to select you as their next financial officer.