CFOs are highly commercial people who are key members of the Executive Team – the core executive managing the financial risks of the organisation and business partner providing strategic financial, business and planning management services to ensure the organisation’s success.
A strong CFO resume needs to highlight this ‘essential executive’ message. The world is full of frankly rather boring CFO resumes just outlining management of finance and accounting.
Of course, the role of CFO varies with organisation size, but your message should be that you bring strategic, expert leadership. Whatever your background, your CFO resume will be stronger if you follow this six-point plan:
1. Start with the opportunity you are targeting. What are they looking for? List the key points in the job advertisement/position description and use them as your framework to target. You need to show that YOU are the best C-level solution for their business.
2. Summarise your achievements at the top of your first page. Match your headline achievements to the top 3-5 requirements of the target job. Modify your summary to mirror the key requirements of each target job.
3. Numbers are king quantify everything. Specify budgets and select key achievements that show hard $$ results. Show how have benefited business performance and include programmes through which you contributed to overall company success. Be sure to select achievements that speak to the targeted company in terms of scope and scale.
4. Showcase your leadership your place at the top table; your contribution to corporate vision, your role in strategic planning and your capability in delivering change. Outline the success of major change programmes in operations, sales, mergers, acquisitions or new business processes.
5. Highlight people management skills by giving examples of your senior talent attraction and team empowerment. Outline your techniques for retention, motivation and skills development within the team. An effective CFO is only as good as the team he/she attracts and retains.
6. Show sound career progression where your impact, budget responsibility and team size increased over time, show this clearly.
You have probably developed specific skills, experience and attributes in your career as a CFO. Maybe you have strong M&A, treasury or international tax capabilities. If your target opportunity wants those skills, get them right up front.
In short, write a resume that shows you are a strategic thinker who designs and delivers business plans, implements strategic change, communicates complex issues clearly, achieves results and hires, motivates and retains top finance talent.
For any executive-level opportunity, you need to convince as a strong communicator. Make sure your resume does it for you.
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