Cindy Kraft,
the CFO-Coach
Learn more about the author
How to Win the Packaging And Positioning Game
ery few CFO positions are ever
posted online, and when they are,
they are usually the bottom-ofthe-barrel opportunities. So how
can you win the packaging and positioning
game and score that next great opportunity?
Just as your marketing team strategizes on
marketing your company, product, and/or
service, you need to begin thinking about
“product you.”
Be Branded
How will you fit within a company’s culture?
It’s the 64-million-dollar hiring question.
And sadly, poor culture fit happens more
often than you would think.
A Psychology Today blog post reported:
“According to the Harvard Business Review,
2 out of 5 new CEOs fail in their first 18
months on the job.”
Are these failures all due to poor culture
fit? Absolutely not. But the article goes on to
say, “It appears that the major reason for the
failure has nothing to do with competence,
or knowledge, or experience, but rather with
hubris and ego and a leadership style out of
touch with modern times.”
Those are issues that can speak directly to
culture fit.
So how do you showcase that you’re a
good fit with your target audience? By being
branded. A strong and compelling, authentic
brand sends a crystal-clear message to your
audience of who you are and how you have
been effective. Branding makes it easier for
a company to view you through the lens of
its culture and assess — upfront — whether
you’re a potential fit, a good fit, or a great fit.
And here’s the real secret: When you’re a
top-three candidate, your ability to do the
job has already been confirmed. The only two
remaining questions on the table are “culture
fit” and “likability.” With a strong brand, you
have already answered the first of those two
Be Different
If you look like the competition, you blend
in with the competition. Instead, be a purple
cow and stand out — and away from —
your peers.
Often in creating marketing documents,
CFOs will list responsibilities held. Things
they’ve done. Their career progression, often
beginning in public accounting. Ho hum.
Your competition can probably all say those
same, or very similar, things.
It’s football season, so let me use a football analogy to make my point. If you put
both teams in the same uniform and stuff
them all in one of the 10-yard end zones,
they will all look alike. You can’t discern
defensive players from offensive players. So
chances are at least 50/50 that you will pick
the wrong player from the wrong team for
your defense or offense.
However, when you put them in their respective colors and put names and numbers
on their jerseys, individuals begin to stand
out from the other team and even from their
Put your unique name and your unique
number (strong brand) on your marketing
documents and stand apart from the crowd.
And remember, it’s not what you did, it’s
how you delivered. It’s not what responsibilities you held, it’s about positive impacts
that made the company more profitable,
more efficient, and facilitated growth. It’s
not about your career climb, it’s about how
you solve problems.
Problem-solver = value = in demand!
Be Visible
Even if you don’t have an intentional
brand, you have a default brand. Appear-
ing on job boards paints you as a desperate
job-seeker who probably is or will soon be
Where should you be visible? First and
foremost on LinkedIn, with a complete,
compelling, and branded profile. Why?
• LinkedIn is the web 2.0 version of the
old corporate bio.
• It’s the very best place to be noticed by
recruiters (one of my clients had three greatfitting opportunities come his way in his
first four days of having his profile updated).
• To not be on LinkedIn is to send the
message: Do not bother and do not disturb.
Show up where people from your target
audience are also showing up. What are they
reading? What are their hobbies? Do they
have a cause they support? Have a visible
presence wherever they are.
Today’s strategies for winning new opportunities aren’t rocket science, but they are
different. To win the new game, you must
know the new rules.
A “pull strategy” (attracting recruiters
and opportunities) will work infinitely
better than a “push strategy” (sending your
résumé out to every posted position) when
you clearly market your ability to solve
problems. And when you are gainfully
employed and therefore highly valued as
a passive-and-worthy-of-being-poached
candidate C
Cindy Kraft
is the CFO-Coach and America’s
leading career and personal brand strategist for corporate
finance executives, helping clients understand their marketability, articulate their value, and position themselves as the
clear and compelling choice. She is a Certified Reach Personal Brand Strategist, Certified Reach Online Identity Strategist, Certified Career Management Coach, Credentialed
Career Master, Certified Professional Resume Writer, and
Job & Career Transition Coach. Cindy can be reached via
email, [email protected], by phone, 813-655-0658,
or through her website at www.CFO-Coach.com.