Pursuing your next step up the career ladder as CFO or Controller?
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, modeling M&A scenarios, 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 – Create taglines or statements from your CFO brand information.
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 in “CFO Enabling Peak Profitability With Sharply Reduced Costs.”
Other branding statements or tagline examples include:
- CFO Placing Regions Among Top Corporate Performers in Europe and Americas
- Strategic Financial Executive Positioning Rising Leaders 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 via new receivables strategy”). 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.