5 Reasons why Recruiters are Passing Over your LinkedIn Profile

Dear Reader:

I have been blogging on this site for almost 3 years now. An ongoing topic has been the usage of LinkedIn for financial executives and professionals.

I just started posting blogs on LinkedIn as well. I will be cross posting the beginnings of the blogs. I encourage you to read the blog in its entirety on LinkedIn.

Thank you for your continued support,



I appreciate LinkedIn. I have been a member for over 10 years and am the 23,531st person to have signed up.

I work in executive search. My personal specialty is CFO and Financial Executive Search. Working with my colleagues at Stanton Chase across the US, Canada and around the globe, I use LinkedIn as a networking tool to help me develop and maintain relationships with people that I want to keep in touch with.

In my weekly CFO Moves blog, I link through to the LinkedIn profiles of Chief Financial Officers that appear in my report on CFO hires, retires, promotions and unhires.

I have written about the value of LinkedIn in previous blog posts. In my recent book Guide to CFO Success: Leadership Strategies for Corporate Financial Professionals, published by Wiley & Sons, I surveyed my 87 CFO Advisors about social media use, and LinkedIn is, by far, the most popular and regularly used social media tool for senior financial executives.

LinkedIn is certainly not the only tool that I work with to advise, attract, assess and aid my clients in the acquisition of exceptional CFOs. However, I do spend a good amount of time looking at people’s LinkedIn profiles. This puts me in a good position to comment on reasons why your profile is being passed over by recruiters.

To read the full blog on LinkedIn, please click here.

LinkedIn’s new Tool: Endorsements

If you have been reading my blogs for a while, you know that I am a big fan and user of LinkedIn. (You can read my LinkedIn related blogs by clicking here).

Until recently, the only tool that LinkedIn had for others to confirm that you are as good as you said you were was its Recommendations feature. This is a good tool, but requires the person writing the Recommendation to make a big commitment to you – they needed to essentially write a letter as to what they like about you and where you’ve added value to them and their company. Few people actually used this feature because of the commitment involved.LinkedIn is an excellent tool for business professionals. It allows them to brand themselves and stay connected and expand their professional network.

LinkedIn’s Endorsements feature is based on what you’ve identified as your skills and expertise, and others click to say “I agree” that you have this skill set. It’s an easy and effective tool.

I’ve enjoyed the past few weeks as people I know have endorsed me. It is interesting to see who actually thinks I have the skills I say I have, and I appreciate everyone’s endorsement.

To get the best out of the Endorsements feature, it is important that you properly identify your Skills & Expertise in LinkedIn. For example, if you are branding yourself as a CFO, do you really want to be endorsed for your Excel Skills?

Are you using Endorsements?

Do you find value in this LinkedIn feature?

Samuel Dergel at Lunch with DriveThruHR

Listen in to my Interview with Bryan Wempen on DriveThruHR from earlier today.

Please feel free to share your comments, input and questions…

Thank you to Bryan and William Tincup for inviting me!

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Does a CFO Need a Résumé?

Focus has its benefits. So does the world of social media.

Working in Executive Search, I have focused on delivering human resources of the financial kind to companies for over 11 years now. For the past couple of years, I have put significant time into a sustained and targeted social media effort to let companies (new, current and previous) and CFOs know that I understand them.

As part of this focus and effort, companies ask me to help them hire their CFOs, Chief Financial Officers ask me to help them build their finance teams, and Finance Executives reach out to me when they are in between career opportunities.

When I speak with CFOs, they ask me for my feedback on their résumé. Although I can say that I have read thousands of résumés in my career, I do not consider myself a résumé expert. From time to time I may have a piece of advice that could make the document more effective, but this is not where I add value to a Finance Executive in search of their next opportunity.

On the topic or résumés, I came across a couple of items that piqued my interest recently.

CFO Magazine published an article by David Rosenbaum entitled No Résumés Required. The title interested me. The article was interesting and worth reading, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be about. It did give me the impetus to write this blog piece, so I’m grateful to CFO Magazine for publishing it and to David for writing it.

Cindy Kraft wrote a blog titled I Just Disagree…, where she discusses her disagreement with résumé experts who recommend regular modifying of résumés depending on the position job applications. My comments on Cindy’s blog caused her to disagree with me (finally – we see eye to eye on many topics). It wasn’t actually a disagreement, but when someone says “Interesting perspective, Samuel” what they really mean is…

The premise I made in my comments on Cindy’s blog were:

CFOs who are working don’t need a résumé to attract a new opportunity. All they need is a well done LinkedIn Profile. If the person that finds them needs a résumé, they can use their LinkedIn Profile as a base. I’ve interviewed many quality people based on their LinkedIn Profile alone.

If a CFO has really done their homework and is visible, marketable and branded, the only time they need a résumé is when they are actively looking for their next opportunity.

In essence, there are 2 types of CFOs that can be hired.

  • Employed
  • Unemployed

The Unemployed CFO certainly does need a résumé, because it is (for now, this may change in the coming years) the recognized tool of a job seeker and the people that take employment applications.

The Employed CFO does not need a résumé, nor does he or she need to take the time to prepare one. They are not looking for a job. What an employed CFO needs is to have an appropriate Personal Brand developed, which includes, but certainly not limited to, an effective LinkedIn Profile. When I’m looking for CFOs, my research is wide and varied, and is based on the needs of my client. Whether an Employed CFO has a résumé or not is irrelevant to me. What is relevant is their experience. If they have a proper Personal Branding strategy that leaves an appropriate digital footprint, it certainly makes it easier for me and my team to find them.

I keep on being amazed every week when finalizing my team’s CFO Moves blog, and finding that CFOs who are being hired have a weak LinkedIn Profile, or none at all. In some ways, it makes me wonder how these CFOs get their new job. (Read: When hiring a CFO, is LinkedIn the place to look? ) It does prove that CFOs get their next career opportunities from various sources, but mostly from people that already know them and trust them.

Unemployed CFOs need marketing materials. A solid résumé is still necessary today, in addition to proper Personal Branding.

Employed CFOs do not need a résumé. They just need to have a proper Personal Branding Strategy. If a recruiter asks them for a résumé, they can politely mention that they are not actively looking for an opportunity at this time, and would ask them to refer to their (always) current LinkedIn Profile as a substitute.

Companies hire people, not résumés.

4 ways LinkedIn helps you keep your current CFO role

LinkedIn is pretty popular. With over 100 Million people on the social media site, it is becoming the de facto public profile for professionals like you.

LinkedIn recently issued their ‘Apply with LinkedIn’ button – showing the pervasiveness of LI as todays primary career management tool.

Cindy Kraft also penned an article that appeared in Business Finance Magazine where she argued successfully about why CFOs need to be on LinkedIn for their careers and their future.

Although Cindy did touch briefly on the value of LinkedIn to your current role as CFO, the following are the reasons why you should be involved with LinkedIn to get the best out of your current CFO role.

1. It’s your billboard to the people working within your company. Many people in your company know that you exist, but do they know you? Managing perceptions internally to the people who might be calling you ‘Mr. or Ms. No’ is important. They should see what your background is, what school you went to and all the other impressive things about you.

2. Interacting with customers, suppliers, bankers and other external business partners. I can guarantee you that people you interact with daily from outside your company want to know who you are – and they are checking you out on LinkedIn and the web. What do you want them to see?

3. Being part of the PR message. You are a key component of your company and its message to the world. Read “The CFO: PR Rockstar” for more insights on this value you can bring to your employer.

4. How you are perceived by people you work for. The CEO, Board and Shareholders are keeping tabs on you. Just like you will wear an appropriate suit to work and drive an appropriate car to meet image expectations, your LinkedIn profile speaks loudly to the people who employ you.

Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? Do you still not have a LinkedIn Profile? What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for the next CFO of your current employer to force you to?



The only book a CFO needs to read about social media

I will admit, this book is a ‘old’ in social media terms (it was published nearly 2 years ago). Six Pixels of Separation was my entrée into finally understanding how Social Media can truly benefit me. Actually, by extension, you have benefited as well if you read my blogs, follow my Twitter and are connected with me on LinkedIn.

Many of the CFOs I speak with still have difficulty getting a handle on Social Media. They do not know what is involved in getting involved with Social Media and how to best take advantage of it. There will continue to be new tools (My recent blog: Should a CFO be on Google +?) while other social media sites will fade (remember MySpace?). The concepts explained by Mitch are still valuable.

If you “get” Six Pixels and then “apply” some of the concepts in the book, you will be considered as a Social Media CFO by your peers.

Below is a review I wrote on my LinkedIn application “Reading List by Amazon” in April 2010. Seems like a long time ago. Upon re-reading what I wrote then, I find the review as relevant today as it was when I wrote it.

On a separate note, I would highly recommend you use the LinkedIn “Reading List by Amazonapplication. I have found this tool to be a great way to engage with my connections. Assuming you read interesting things (that, let’s face it, make you look smart and build your personal brand), adding it to your LinkedIn profile and looking to see what your connections have read and are reading can allow for real emotional and intellectual engagement.


Review written by Samuel Dergel on Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel, April 2010

“I have to start this review with a caveat. I knew Mitch Joel before he was Mitch Joel. Well, at least before everyone knew Mitch Joel.

And this has led me to a dilemma.

Because I have known Mitch for a long time, and he wrote a book, it was hard to consider him a famous expert. So I didn’t read the book until recently.

Big mistake.

Six Pixels is a great book for those trying to get a handle on what is happening in the social media space, and how to be able to navigate it.

I recently finished reading the book, and afterwards, went through the specific pages to ‘dog ear’ so I could go back to them and find them with ease.

Six Pixels is a great read because:

– Mitch gives history and relevance to the social media revolution we are currently going through.

– Mitch gives practical advice and self-questions to help you make the most out of social media.

– Mitch gives predictions as to where this space can go.

This book falls in to the “highly recommended” category.

Thanks Mitch”


Have you read Six Pixels of Separation? Has Mitch Joel’s book helped you better understand how social media can help you?

Should a CFO be on Google+?

We have all been hearing about Google+. It has been creating a lot of buzz (which is what Google wants) and I am adding to the oodles of social media entries on the subject.

The answer is: No. A CFO should not be on Google+ today.

There is an exception to my answer. If you are a CFO that has mastered LinkedIn and you blog and tweet, go right ahead into the new world of Google+. If however you do not consider yourself social media savvy, make the best out of the (I can’t believe I’m saying this) old world social media tools.

As CFO, you’re a busy person. If you are going to spend time on social media, spend it where the market is mature and defined. Google Plus is so brand new, that you may not know what you are getting yourself into, few people are true experts that can guide you though it even if you wanted help, and you may mess up your reputation by using it ‘wrong’.

This is where the conservatism of the finance professional comes into play. Be “old school” and make the best out of the old tools first.

My opinion is current as of today. I will let you know when I believe it is time for CFOs to be active on Google+.

Also, just for the record, I haven’t bothered with Google+ yet. If you aren’t there yet, why should I be?