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Make Yourself In-Demand: How Finance Leaders Do Personal Branding

In finance, cultivating a personal brand isn’t about bragging. It’s about making your services in-demand.

As professionals looking to develop in our careers, we all know the value of being in the right place at the right time. The benefits of networking, continuing education, and maintaining a LinkedIn profile are clear. For a busy individual, those efforts might seem like enough.

But we live in a time of instant answers via search engines; of virtual communities on social media. Right now, we’re all in the same place at the same time. Valuable opportunities go to those who stand out.

Being in the right place at the right time is no longer sufficient. To create opportunities, finance professionals need to strategically and continuously represent themselves in public. That strategy is called personal branding.

Learn How To Stand Out

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The need for personal branding in finance

At first glance, “personal branding” may not seem like something finance professionals need to worry about. You probably associate the term more with celebrities and Instagram #influencers than with the serious work done by CFOs, controllers, and accountants.

But cultivating a personal brand is essential. It’s the only way to let the wider world understand you as a professional: your skill set, outlook, personality, and potential. Your personal brand is a three-dimensional version of your resume.

Without personal branding, your achievements stay confined to the walls of your office. You remain, in effect, invisible.

In our new ebook on personal branding (available here) we speak with Paula Kensington, a CFO coach in Australia who won Thomson Reuters’ CFO Of The Year in 2013. In her video interview series, CFO Conversations, Kensington presents a framework that helps this point about personal branding.

Kensington’s framework identifies four tiers of visibility:

  • Invisible: Your skills, results, and organizational impact are quiet and anonymous.
  • Hiding: Your work is recognized and celebrated — within your office.
  • Emerging: A core network of people know your capabilities.
  • In-Demand: You are a superstar in your niche, a source of advisory for other companies. You have your choice of opportunities.

In other words, the choice is not between humility and showing off, or between quiet and loud. It’s whether you want to be invisible to the job market or in-demand.

Learn how to stand out

No one ever accused finance and accounting people of being the most self-promotional group in the world. Typically, the instinct is to keep quiet and do the work rather than stand out.

These days, that preference is unsustainable. The isolated number cruncher is evolving into a prominent, forward-thinking strategist. The job is performed by complete human beings. You need to advertise yourself as such.

Whether you’re looking to move jobs or move up in your current role, developing a personal brand communicates your value to your network as a whole. Don’t be afraid to stand out.

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