Whether you’re a recent graduate on a job search or an experienced professional, you may have discovered this about the finance and accounting job market: You can put all your credentials and employment history on your CV and cover letter, but when it comes to the rest of your story, you need a personal branding statement.
It’s a story hiring managers want to hear. More and more CFOs are interested in the non-traditional skills where candidates can add value to the business, this includes business acumen, effective communication and leadership skills and a customer-centric approach.
What’s challenging with personal branding is finding the best way to present such a complete picture of yourself, one that includes your career aspirations, interests, and non-accounting skills and experience. Making a personal brand statement that covers it all is worth your time investment.
So what do you need to do as you gear up for your job search?
Start selling a product: you
Professional branding is essentially establishing a reputation that you can market online on your LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media channels, blogs and other forms of virtual communication that you can use to display your career goals, successful projects and industry connections.
You’re likely to find a receptive audience. In addition to matching candidates’ professional qualities with the job description, hiring managers are looking to match personality traits with the existing corporate culture.
When you get ready to hit the job market, take a step back and consider how you want to market yourself in your application. Have you historically been a loyal employee? An innovator? Think about how you add value to your team, and identify the skills and attributes your colleagues rely on that you bring to each project. These are the qualities that you should highlight.
Make sure the stars align
Your LinkedIn profile and all the other places where you’ve carved out a professional online presence should present the same story you want to tell. List your interests, your career aspirations and your industry and community involvement, in addition to your skills and work experience. Be consistent with your profiles on all these online platforms.
If career progression is one of your goals or you’ve set your sights on a senior-level finance career or CFO role, you may want to portray yourself as a thought leader, for example. So be sure to produce and display original research, follow and comment on important industry trends, and build a strong reputation by becoming an active member of the finance community.
Enliven your CV
Developing a brand is a good way to emphasise and support the declarations you make on your CV. If you say you have a flare for design or particularly excellent report-writing skills, then establish examples throughout your online presence. As far as your CV and cover letter, showcase your written communication skills and attention to detail by making sure these documents are error-free, clear, concise and aesthetically pleasing. Promising to wow your new employers with innovative presentations while submitting a poorly formatted cover letter full of clichés won’t impress anyone.
In accounting and finance, it takes more than just a solid background to succeed. A personal branding statement can help you stand out from the crowd by demonstrating to prospective employers that you’re one of a kind. A finance career may begin with accounting skills, but soft skills will take you to the next level.