Across my 10 year history in Finance Recruitment, I have seen amazing people get great jobs and I’ve also seen many equally amazing people miss out on opportunities that they deserved to get. This made me think about what makes the difference between someone who gets the job and someone who doesn’t when both are equally skilled and experienced. The difference here was – BRANDING AND MARKETING.
Both are not difficult but both require a commitment.
When you think about, most if not all successful companies spend significant time and resources on building a brand – Apple, Woolworths, Deloitte and even your local doctor. When you think about these companies, certain words and thought come to mind. People buy products from these companies because they know what the companies stand for. Why is it any different for a CFO, a Commercial Manager or a Financial Controller? They too are an entity that is looking to sell something – their services.
Everyone single person on this planet has a BRAND…everyone.
You, your spouse, your kids, your friends, everyone!
You created that brand through advertising without spending any money. What causes people to perceive you in the way they do is dependent upon what they see you DOING most of the time.
· A Financial Controller could be branded as the “yes man or women”
· A CFO is branded as a “trusted advisor to the Board”
· A Finance Director is branded as the “strategic advisor to the CEO”
How have you branded yourself? If you don’t know you need to be concerned. You should be able to identify your brand with three words that capture what you do most of the time.
Think of a finance or business leader that you really admire and I assure you that you respect him or her for the thing they do the MOST.
That is their brand.
Why is personal branding critical to your ability to secure your dream job?
Simply put, it’s because your brand is what you are known for. The more people that know your brand, the more confidence this instills in the person who you are looking to do some sort of business with.
The brand you communicate marks your career reputation and is in some respects a promise. When you carry a personal brand, your unique promise of value precedes you and has far-reaching effects throughout your job search.
Branding in your linked-in persuades recruiters and employers to want to review your resume
Branding in your resumes influences a recruiter or HR Manager to pick up the phone and want to have a conversation with you.
Branding in a phone-based verbal conversation compels a decision-maker to want to meet with you.
And so on and so on.
During Covid-19 where video calls have become the preferred method of communication, you are also putting your brand on show in how you present over video calls – what you are wearing, your camera angle, the background etc. Every small detail matters.
Your brand ultimately helps you stand out. You just want to make sure that you stand out to the right person for the right reasons. Do you know what CFO’s look for in Financial Controllers?
So, figure out what you offer and what you stand for. What’s your special “thing?”
Spend time on your brand every day, enhance it, reinforce it to let the market place through your actions know that is who you are.
Branding is what you are known for and who you are perceived to be, while marketing is the act of building awareness of your brand.
Ultimately, you could be one of the most impactful Financial Controllers within the FMCG Private Equity space, however, if CFOs and HR Directors have never heard of you, you are almost like a Ferrari that sits in the garage.
What is the best way to Market Yourself as a Finance Professional?
Linked in is a great marketing tool and a great way to get noticed. However, I see many people making mistakes in their use of linked in – including connecting with the wrong audience OR treating it like a social medium. To do successful marketing through linked in, you have to put in the effort. The most basic and most important thing is to have a professional photo and a well-written profile that includes your brand statement. You also need to be cautious about what content you “like” and comment on. Remember, this is not a social medium, your every expression is being viewed and judged.
There is no better opportunity than utilising recruiters to help you market your personal brand. When a recruiter calls you, rather than rejecting them because a sales call is the last thing that your day needed, ask them the question, “what can you do for me”? Good recruiters have access to quality hiring leaders. You need to know good recruiters and ensure that they know your brand clearly. Having placed 100’s of finance leaders in my career, I can assure you that good recruiters will only put their brand on the line with candidates that are known to them. The real test is, do you call recruiters when you are ready to move or do recruiters often call you offering you great opportunities?
Yes, in return, the recruiter will likely have the expectation that you will give them business. That’s their job so don’t judge them for it. Be honest, allow them to give you their 30-second pitch and if they don’t meet your bar then be confident in letting them know that. You are the customer and you get to set the expectation. Trust me, recruiters can handle rejection.
Networking events can be a great way of meeting people. However, I would caution to NOT waste your time attending events where the room is filled with the wrong people. If you a CFO and you are attending a networking event full of other CFO, then that’s probably not the right group for you to meet. Getting access to the “right” events will take effort and investigation but it’s well worthwhile.
Branding and Marketing can be a mystical area for many finance professionals. However, it’s well worth investing time in understanding how to best brand and market yourself. It will be the difference between whether you get a “good” role or a “brilliant” and career-defining role.
If you would like some further information on how you can effectively build your personal brand and market yourself, reach out to our team at Reo Group Today.