Climb the Ladder: How to Utilize Finance Headhunters to Reach the C-Suite

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Here’s a secret for rising finance and accounting professionals mapping out their futures: People at the CFO level are typically found by finance headhunters and don’t get their envious positions by applying to jobs online. That’s right! Professionals at the top of their game are actively solicited for executive roles.

So, what does that mean for folks earlier in their careers? The answer is simple. Aspiring CFOs should view their work trajectory through the eyes of finance headhunters from day one. Every career decision should be weighed with the following consideration: “How will this reflect on my future résumé to headhunters seeking CFO candidates?”

Here Are Some Best Practices That Will Get You Noticed by Finance Headhunters:

Focus on Leadership

Less-tenured workers may not realize it, but they, too can find opportunities to serve as leaders. The privilege isn’t simply limited to managers, controllers, and CFOs. Finance and accounting professionals can offer to lead smaller committees or take on special projects. They can volunteer to head company charity events.

Bolder workers can sometimes even create their own leadership positions by making recommendations. For example, an employee who notices her company lacks a mentorship program for new hires may volunteer to assume such a role.

Be Exceptional

Some people find ways of being exceptional regardless of their positions. Simply put, they earn accolades from management by excelling far beyond the norms.

Perhaps a finance or accounting professional notices a redundancy in processes. Instead of complaining about it to his boss, the employee volunteers to figure out a solution on his own. In doing so, this staff member has created an accomplishment that can be cited on a résumé for years to come!

Spring for the MBA

There’s a debate on which forms of advanced degrees and licensing best position finance and accounting professionals for CFO roles. But, there’s no doubt ambitious folks should invest in their continued development. It’s unrealistic for workers to think they’ll lead the accounting and finance operation of a large company without having the proper training.

The logistics of earning higher degrees may pose a challenge when balanced with work and family life. However, it’s perfectly acceptable these days to pursue online degree programs. There’s no rush, and slow and steady can win the race!

Finance Headhunters Look for the “Sweet Spot” of Employment Tenure

Here’s a good question: Is it better for an aspiring CFO to stay at one company for 10 years or to work for five companies during that same decade? Or, is it preferable to have a career that lies somewhere between those two extremes?

The “tenure versus diversity-of-experience” question usually results in a variety of subjective answers. There’s no one correct response. However, it’s safe to say most finance headhunters prefer candidates that balance company loyalty with a healthy ambition and desire for growth.

Final Thoughts

In the end, there’s no perfect science to orchestrating the ideal career path from the perspective of finance headhunters seeking CFO candidates. However, forward-thinking finance and accounting professionals can take steps early in their careers that will ultimately help them achieve their goals!

If you’re an accounting or finance professional seeking your next opportunity, connect with the industry’s leading recruiting firm today!

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