How to Write a CFO Resume That Reflects Your Leadership Brand

Pursuing your next step up the career ladder as CFO or Controller? How to Write a CFO Resume

Your CFO resume must connect the dots from tactical details, such as financial reporting or systems, to strategic advisor and CEO partner.

By showing examples of strategic decision-making and forecasting, IT oversight, performance recommendations, and Board influence, your CFO resume will position you to compete against other contenders for a C-suite role.

Here’s how to present your value proposition on a powerful, effective CFO resume:

1 – Assess your brand value against typical CFO achievements and your goals.

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 challenging new systems or Finance processes
  • Drive new opportunities for capital funding
  • Add a long-range outlook through financial planning and strategy

Add these qualities to a “brand value information” document, then continue to make a list of what you’d like to be known for, including areas and skills you plan to use 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 (which may already be in the form of LinkedIn recommendations or 360 degree reviews). This data will round out your list of brand information points.

2 – Blend your brand information into taglines or statements of value for a CFO job.

Now, use the information you’ve gathered to create strong statements that reflect your ROI and future-focused value (as shown in this sample CFO resume).

Other branding statements or tagline examples include:

  • CFO Placing Regions Among Top Corporate Performers
  • Strategic Financial Executive Positioning Companies For Growth in the Steel Industry
  • Divisional CFO Behind ABC 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.

3 – Add the scope of your authority (relevant to a CFO role).

The key to a strategic message in your CFO resume is to elevate the details – taking the hard facts of budgets managed, teams directed, or cost savings achieved to a higher level.

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.

4 – Pull CFO-worthy achievements to the first page.

By looking at this example of a CFO resume, you’ll see how accomplishments reflecting your strengths can 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 typically scan your 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 – with critical 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.

Executive Resume Writing Services

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Google, Disney, and Pfizer, plus niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.


2015 Resume Writing Trends for Executives & Professionals

2015 Executive Resume TrendsRunning a 2015 job search — but using resume writing trends from the past?

You’ll find yourself at a disadvantage in today’s aggressive job market.

Plenty of job seeking activities have changed over the past decade… and your executive resume needs to keep pace with them.

Job seekers in 2015, 2016, and beyond must develop and leverage a personal brand message throughout each aspect of their resumes, social media activities, cover letters, and LinkedIn Profiles.

To ensure your resume and job search activity aligns with the latest resume writing trends in 2015, take note of these 5 critical elements:

2015 Resume Trend #1: New Ways to Present Data.

Gathered metrics on your job performance, but not sure how to make them stand out? In 2015, executive resume trends include the use of graphics and charts (such as the illustrations in this sample sales resume).

Even if you’ve never added a graphic element to your resume, take heart: thanks to the Insert function in Microsoft Word, adding a chart is easier than ever. This function will display an Excel spreadsheet in which to add the requisite metrics, as well as prompt you to select the chart of your choice, such as a bar graph.

Remember that hiring managers are constantly looking for candidates who distinguish themselves at a leadership level. By highlighting the metrics you’ve worked hard to gather (and achieve), you’re making their job easier in 2015.

2015 Resume Trend #2: A Fresh Design.

If you’re an executive or senior-level professional, you’ll find the basic resume style of yesteryear is now outdated. Effective resumes in 2015, 2016, and beyond rely on dashes of color, changes in font style, intensive keyword strategy, and graphics, as shown in this 2015 sample of an executive resume.

The trend toward using eye-catching design elements isn’t new; executive resume practices have evolved over the past few years, with a transition away from the one-page, all-white documents of the past.

If your resume isn’t employing these strategies, update it now! A refresh is always a good idea in order to stay competitive.

2015 Resume Trend #3: A Powerful, Targeted Cover Letter.

Why would a cover letter be important relative to your resume in 2015? While it’s true that employers will often read your resume and LinkedIn Profile first, they’ll also use your cover letter to gauge your communications skills.

Therefore, you’ll want to take some time writing an effective cover letter that appeals to hiring audiences – ensuring you’re both addressing their needs and mentioning your knowledge of the company.

Even if you target recruiters in 2015 (who aren’t as interested in your cover letter), keep in mind that many executives (CEO, CFO, COO, or head of HR) are likely to review your letter to get a feel for your writing style – looking for a fit with the company culture and goals for employee engagement. You’ll benefit from ensuring your cover letter delivers the same message of ROI as your resume.

2015 Resume Trend #4: Concise, Brand-Focused Wording.

In 2015, leadership resumes have evolved into shorter, more precisely written documents, especially when it comes to the first page.

This means you no longer have to write a bloated qualifications profile, but can instead list pertinent details (as shown in this COO resume example).

As noted in the points above, this document employs leading resume trends, including graphic elements, color, and a summary of the candidate’s career trajectory — all effective strategies in distinguishing executive qualifications.

2015 Resume Trend #5: Alignment With Social Media.

Congratulations! In 2015 and beyond, you’ve become a hot search topic, as employers and recruiters are turning to Google and LinkedIn to learn more about you.

If your resume writing and LinkedIn styles aren’t in alignment, this trend can catch you off-guard – making it difficult for employers to understand who they’re reading about.

Therefore, as you’re writing your resume for use in 2015 or later, keep in mind that your social media profiles must reference the same personal brand message (designed, of course, for a more engaging, personable tone), even if you’re referencing the same keywords and achievements.

In summary, an effective executive resume in 2015 and beyond requires evidence of your leadership achievement, standout design, social media alignment (or social proof), and a branded cover letter as backup. Don’t go into your job search without observing these trends!

Executive Resume Writing Services

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Google, Disney, and Pfizer, plus niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.


3 Executive Resume Mistakes You’re Making Right Now

Executive resume mistakes

Trying to catch a break in the competitive market for executive talent? Your resume MUST be on par with the branded, value-driven documents used by other leaders.

As an executive expecting to make your mark, you’ll need to avoid the typical (yet major-league) resume writing errors that can put you at a disadvantage.

Sharpen your approach and position yourself as a contender by checking your executive resume against these too-common resume writing mistakes: Continue reading

5 Best-Practice LinkedIn Strategies for Executives

linkedinonphoneCautiously readying your LinkedIn Profile for an executive job search?

You’ll need to consider LinkedIn strategies that differ substantially from those used by mid-career professionals.

For example, many executives choose to limit the information they distribute on LinkedIn, due to company confidentiality or other reasons. Executives are also approached more often than other users on LinkedIn, either as a potential employer or by a recruiter piqued by their qualifications.

This activity can call for a more toned-down presence on the site – while still conveying a strong leadership message.

Consider implementing these changes to cultivate a powerful, yet discreet LinkedIn presence supporting your strategically planned executive job search: Continue reading

Is Your Executive Resume Missing a Title?

Resume TitleDid you write your leadership resume around a clear job target – or merely leave clues for employers to find?

If you’ve ever suffered through reading a stack of resumes – hoping the perfect candidate will nearly jump off the page, then you’ll understand the conundrum faced by employers.

Many resumes are written using generalities, leaving recruiters or employers to guess at your desired job goal… following the bread-crumb trail of previous positions and skills to figure out exactly why you’re their prime executive candidate!

Seriously, if employers can’t seem to piece together the reasons you’re applying (never mind the reasons you’re a perfect fit!), then your executive resume might be missing an important element:  a title.

A resume title, which is typically a short phrase or job title used at the top of your resume, helps readers understand the role you’re pursuing.

If done correctly, it also leaves them anticipating the supporting details of your story. You DO want them to read further, right?

As shown in this example of a CFO resume, the executive resume title can also replace the overused “Professional Qualifications” or “Summary” category at the top of the resume. (Do you really need these words to introduce the summary of your career? Probably not.)

The advantage of using a title? Your job target will be immediately obvious, and employers will tend to read further, rather than eliminating your resume at first glance.

Even if you’re open to different positions (as illustrated by this sample CEO and SVP resume), you can specify more than one goal. Of course, these job targets should be similar enough to use a common resume; otherwise, you may need another version.

As you can see, boldly titling your executive resume will direct employers to pay attention to your strong points – helping them quickly understand how you fit into their operation.

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Google, Disney, and Pfizer, plus niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC

Think Your Resume’s Ready for 2013? Read This First

Executive reading your resumeDetermined to make 2013 the year you snag that dream job?

The coming months are shaping up to be intensively competitive, meaning you’ll have to be ready to edge out others for that coveted job.

However, if your resume is like most in circulation, it isn’t anywhere near ready for 2013. Why?

Because it probably relies on outdated methods, lacks marketing appeal, or just downright fails to demonstrate the kind of value proposition that captures attention in a crowded market (no matter what year it is).

Here are 5 telltale signs your resume will fall flat in 2013 (along with tips for hitting the mark):

1 – You’ve never considered using an infographic or chart to display your achievements.

Nothing speaks louder than metrics on a resume, but possibly nothing shouts accomplishment and scale more so than a chart.

These graphics are easy to insert into a Word document with the Insert Chart tool. However, you should only use one if you have impressive numbers to display (as shown in this sample of a VP Sales resume). Continue reading

Best Tech Sales Resume Tips to Outdo Your Competition

Pursuing your next career move in technical sales?

Your resume isn’t the list of sales quotas and jargon that it once was – even if that’s what landed your last job.

An effective resume in the technical field for any sales position (Pre-Sales Engineer, Sales Account Representative, Partner Alliances, etc.), must hone in on your sales style, consultative abilities, quantifiable achievements, and span of influence.

Outpace your competition and make a bigger impact on employers with these technical sales resume elements:

1 – Technology Brands.

As seen in this Technical Sales resume example, brand names often capture interest, especially if they reflect the type of technology you’ll want to work with in the future. Therefore, this resume uses a brand name in the first, eye-catching headline. Continue reading