As a Chief Financial Officer, you’re a big-picture strategist. You know how to drill into the numbers and provide critical assessments and proposals for your company. You’re looking ahead to the next big step in your career journey. Given the high-profile nature of the CFO position and the fact that climbing up the corporate ladder to the C-suite can often take a decade or more, you can expect fierce competition and a longer job search.

You need a resume that will prove you have the skills and knowledge to lead an organization’s financial strategy for future growth.

So how do I translate my strategic abilities into a plan for advancement?

First, start by researching what specific skills companies currently seek in CFOs and how you can align and leverage your experience to create a resume that demonstrates these strengths. Review your job history spanning the last 10 years, only going back further if there are positions that have had particular significance in your career story.  Draft a list of the last 10 years of your career history and try to recall your job responsibilities and notable accomplishments, dates of employment, and your exact titles. Then, review this information and remove anything redundant–when it comes to effective resume-writing, less is more, and concision is the key to maintaining the reader’s attention. 

Which accomplishments demonstrate the skills necessary for my next position?

Reflecting on your list of achievements, think about those that both set you apart and align with what a potential employer is looking for in their next CFO. Review the descriptions of your top job choices and focus on those career accomplishments that speak to the description. Try to focus on larger-scale, impactful accomplishments that can be expounded on in an interview and showcase an executive-level contribution to the growth and evolution of the company.  

Are there any accomplishments that are interesting but aren’t directly related to my career path?

Presenting too much information not only dilutes the impact of the resume but also increases the likelihood that important elements of the document might go unnoticed.  An Eye-Tracking Study in 2018 by Ladders, Inc. demonstrated that the average recruiter spends only about 7.4 seconds reviewing a resume before deciding whether to continue.  An eye-catching, concise resume gets noticed, so review your career accomplishments and select those few that impress. 

How can I organize these accomplishments to show a pattern of growth?

Well-written resumes tell implicit narratives and present a concise, detailed view of a candidate’s career history. Structure the resume in such a way as to paint a picture of both your career trajectory as well as your evolution in each role. Add a short paragraph describing each role and then add bullet points highlighting notable achievements. Separating the important accomplishments from the main paragraph increases the likelihood of them being noticed, even by a casual reader!

When listing your accomplishments on your resume, strive to place them in order of importance both to you and to your potential employer. Be concise–recruiters are less likely to read big blocks of information, so leave detailed explanations for your interview. 

Do I have quantifiable accomplishments to back up my assertions?

As a CFO, you understand the importance of numbers to qualify your achievements. Employ the C-A-R format when describing your achievements, listing your challenge, the actions you took to address it, and the results you achieved in numerical terms. If you led an initiative that increased revenue by x percent or spearheaded a business expansion that increased market share by y percent, include those numbers. 

By taking the time to brainstorm about your professional accomplishments and considering these tried-and-true resume writing strategies, you can be on your way to crafting an executive-level resume that captures the attention of hiring managers and recruiters. Learn more about resume writing strategies for finance executives through our comprehensive CFO Resume Guide