Posted by Sarah Richards on Monday, June 8, 2015 - 09:15
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 your all your credentials and employment history in your resume 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. CFOs interviewed in an Robert Half survey identified the nontraditional skills they value in job candidates, from general business knowledge (33 percent) to information technology (25 percent), communication (14 percent), leadership (13 percent) and customer service (13 percent).
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, with social media, 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 gear up 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? A trendsetter? Think about how you add value to your team, and identify the skills and attributes your coworkers rely on that you bring to each project. Highlight these qualities when you draft your personal branding statement.
Make sure the stars align
Your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and all the other places where you’ve carved out an 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 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.
When you search for your name online, the search results should present you in a professional light and tell a cohesive narrative.
Enliven your resume
Developing a brand is a good way to emphasize and support the declarations you make in your resume. 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 resume 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.
Looking for more career advice and employment tips? Check out our library of articles pertaining to careers in finance and accounting.